Rising up and sitting at the edge of the bed. I wipe the sleep from my eyes and just hang there for moments. Breathing deeply and considering the dreams from the night before. Seems like every meaningful thought typically occurs at the edge of sleep. Either the precipice before or just after. On this particular dawn I was awakened from a place. Not a physical place per-say, more of a place in time and space. It was a dream of a time of rapt worship and belief.
I was younger, much much younger than today. Filled with all the energy and angst of adolescence. The latter all the more so for my particular circumstance at that time. But this, this was a sanctuary, literally and figuratively. It was a place where I recall vividly raising my hands in the midst of a congregation. Empty hands raised in as much an offering as my voice that, at that moment was lifted in praise. As I sat on the edge of my bed I recall what it was to have found simple purpose and reprieve in that place. I swear it was more than that, more than just a reprieve-but even if it was it was enough to sooth the pain and strain of my life.
Most days I feel that I've lost that, save for when I awake from deepest slumber. That moment when salvation found me. I can still hear the voices raised, my own among them. I can still feel the invisible arms wrapped around me in protective love. And then my feet hit the ground and I remember that torture that followed soon after those short lived moments. And that is it. That is what took me far from the path and into the wilderness. As CS Lewis said
“Mental pain is less dramatic than physical pain, but it is much more common and also harder to bear. The frequent attempt to conceal mental pain increases the burden; it is easier to say 'my tooth is aching' than it is to say 'my heart is broken'.”
My way to deal with it was to run. And so that dream of rapt attention and awe inspiring praise so quickly turns into visions of dark and depths man should not have to travel. Perhaps these are the roads that I had to travel in order to thread me back to that moment. To make the story of my life all the more meaningful, as I have written before. But that in and of itself creates its own challenge. That single thread which binds us all together is of a different hue than any other one. For my journey has not been yours as yours has surely not been mine. Thus when you look out at the ocean or you look at the stars, whatever it is that at that moment embodies your whole of existence, it will never mean the same to anyone else. The meaning, not the sight, is altogether alien.
I think this is what draws us together-and just as easily apart-as a whole, as a society. We are always searching for another human gets it. A human that can fill the silent scape with understanding. In the absence of that, or in spite of it especially now a days, we search to bind that tie with possessions or momentary distractions. But what are we distracting from or searching for?
For me, it was and is found in those moments of unspeakable peace when my hands were raised high. I believe we have all had these moments at one point or another. For some, it is similar to mine, to others it is called flow. The meaning, the desire and desperate searching for it has been bred within us from the beginning, into the very genes which make up our bodies.
And, though we have all had these moments of perfect clarity in purpose and reason, all of us-with enough years-have lost it. Yet, this does not mean that all is lost. We all still dream.
Perhaps in these dreams we see things as they truly are just waiting to be created and birthed back to reality.
Perhaps there is a power behind those dreams which is calling to us to help create that reality.
Perhaps all we need to do is spend a moment or two in the early hours and the late hours believing that those dreams are real and that they matter.
Speaking of my own experience, life has brought with it a certain amount of “reality” that has served to taint my vision more than I would like to admit. But as I sat on the edge of the bed and wiped the sleep from my eyes, I had a realization. It is simply this:
We are not called to the easy path. When that happens it is a gift, a moment of reprieve and rest. We are called simply to live, to enjoy the good time, the peace and to hold our heads high in the midst of the storm. And we are called to live in, dare I say, faith. Faith that all will work out as it should. Our path may be harder than most, but that is only because that faith is in us as much as it is in us. Note that. Re-read it again. Our path may be harder than most, but that is only because that faith is IN US as much as it is in us.
And so, when this realization has been embraced, we mirror that faith back and walk. One foot in front of the other. In doing so, this life becomes those hands lifted high and each step the voices raised aloft.