November 27, 2013


I love sailing, even though I don't have much experience with it. I like the sounds, the feel of wind scoring my cheeks, and feeling as though I'm in a timeless world. There's just one problem: I get dreadful motion sickness. I start boat trips excitedly, donning my life jacket, ready to soak up sun. But if the water's at all choppy, I'm soon hunkered on a cushion, grimly focusing my gaze on the horizon in an attempt to overwhelm nausea with rigid reason.

Life has had some unexpected curves these last few months. After a deep breath (and maybe a private emotional catharsis or two with God), I search out the horizon so nausea goes away. There have been a few small things in the last couple days that threw me all over again. I thought I understood the day's definition of "normal", only to be upended by seeing more clearly or learning new information -- and I'm back in panicked seasickness.

Gulp. Breathe.

Life narrows for a few seconds to reminding my body what it needs to do, because my unconscious seems to need help (or my conscious brain feels the need to do basic things).

You can do this. It's ok. Everything will be all right.

I don't think I believe my platitudes, but the words keep my thoughts occupied while the ship of my understanding rocks underfoot. When my heart calms a bit, I remember my ballast again, the weight of truth I believe: God is sovereign. Though I'm surprised, this hasn't rocked his world in the slightest. If he needs me to do something, he'll let me know. My job is to find him, my travel buddy, and hold hands.

Breathe again, deeper this time.

I don't like my life being rocked, and I have even bigger issues with those who rock my boat without my permission. I don't even want to think what kind of refining work the latter will take.

For now, I'll keep working on looking for my horizon, the place in my life where heaven meets earth and my off-beat heart finds its truest rhythm. I'm certainly getting a lot of practice these days.

November 19, 2013

Autumn Leaves

I learned long ago that food is most enjoyable when it uses multiple senses. Not just taste, but sight, smell, sound and even texture. Think of the shock through your teeth as you crack off a shard of peanut brittle or toffee. Remove the 'snap' of the fracture, and the experience changes a lot.

Truth tends to seep from one area of my life into the others, and being outside for me means using all of my senses. I just spent a wonderful half hour outside, doing nothing but sitting. Looking, listening, smelling, feeling... I let the wind and November chill and decaying crackle of autumn sink deeper than skin. I use such time to look for God; I believe he is present and his character is scrawled in bold letters in the world around me.

Trees have taught me a lot about truth. Just today, crunching through the leaves hiding out in my garage, I saw leaves in a new way. Leaves are trees' means of trapping and using light. Different trees have different shapes and colors for leaves, but their purpose is the same. Every year, though, a tree gives up its light and hunkers down in hibernation, enduring death until spring. Every fostered method of trapping light becomes nothing more than noise, a rustling heap of refuse to rake. Hearing the crispness of leaves underfoot, I have to ask honestly: how many habits do I have that no longer catch spiritual light for me? They may look pretty, or even fill the air in a tempest and make fascinating noise, but they no longer serve a purpose.

I'm not saying that every spiritual practice should eventually be discarded. Rather, I want to make sure that my ways of looking for light, of working it into the roots of my life, ARE still seeking and finding light. If the habits are only habits, then I want to sever connection with them in preparation for growing new leaves.