Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Free to be Lost

In the last month or two I've been dry in terms of posts. A few times I've thought about posting, perhaps with a fleeting idea of a potential post, but each time I've ended up either staring at the blank "create" screen thinking too hard about what to write, or just not even trying.

The thing is, I don't write posts for the sake of posting. I write posts because I have a message to give, or some form of ministry to share. More than once I've written an entire post, planning to publish it, but haven't felt that final, vital nudge to post - so I haven't posted. I don't even know where this post is going, but I'm going to follow it through.

I've been having a very rough semester. My classes have been more demanding than before, draining me of energy and free time. I even gave up my Saturdays to try and get things done - something I used to have a personal "policy" against. This usually leaves me feeling spiritually dry, out of touch. In the past I have felt very frustrated when spiritually unfocused, as if it's something that shouldn't happen and is bad. Isn't that natural, though? Of course being spiritually unfocused is bad - why do we strive to be in touch with God if not being in touch isn't bad?!

But you and I know that God never leaves us alone. I've known that, in my mind, for quite some time now, but what's kept me frustrated when feeling out of touch is my heart. I didn't feel God when out of touch because that's precisely what made me feel unfocused - not feeling like I felt God.

These last weeks of being spiritually unfocused, however, have been different. Something deep gave me the freedom to be unfocused. It is ok, Friend, to be lost sometimes. It is part of the spiritual process, even. So this time around, while unfocused and feeling lost, I haven't felt frustrated or guilty. Part of me is experiencing a period of patient, loving waiting. I am still connected.

A message in meeting a couple weeks ago spoke to this part of my experience. The part that struck me most was something to the effect of, "When we fall, there is God." Even when we stumble and fall down, when we are lost, unfocused, left behind, there too, is God. I feel lost, but know in my heart that I am still growing with God. I feel God even now.

This is the message I have to give after over a month of blog-silence. Even in writing we must be patient and listen, sometimes for great lengths. I thank you, Friends, for your patience with me. Things are a little rough on my end, these days.

Love and Light, as always,
Claire

9 Comments:

Blogger Joe G. said...

I like the idea: we are free to be lost, to get lost. The key is to know we are lost, sometimes we aren't always aware of the wandering and being lost. It's a blessing to know when we are lost; and it's a blessing to know that sometimes this happens in our lives (that is, we are free to be lost).

PS: Thank God that semesters have a definite end-point! :)

22/3/06 9:40 AM  
Blogger Paul L said...

Thank you for your post. It expresses a feeling I've often had, and I suspect a lot of others, too.

It reminded me of Heb 11:1 -- Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.(KJV)

Your post also reminded me of a verse from the Sacred Harp, #315 "Immensity":

Within Thy circling pow'r I stand;
On ev'ry side I find Thy hand;
Awake, asleep, at home, abroad,
I am surrounded still with God.

Also, you might enjoy Peggy Senger Parsons' 3-17-06 post at http://sillypoorgospel.blogspot.com/ on a similar theme.

Keep the faith, Claire.

22/3/06 10:53 AM  
Anonymous Aj said...

This friend speaks my mind. Thanks for sharing, and for listening. I hope you find the Spirit's peace in the midst of the activity.

22/3/06 4:28 PM  
Blogger Shane said...

Glad to see you back Claire but I am sorry to hear you are having a period that God seems distant. Like others have said many (most) people go through this including myself. I have an old f/Friend (86 years old) and he has had a period where he feels the Lord very distant from him for about two years now!!!! He knows the Lord is still his strength but that real closeness seems to be far from him. In a number of old Friends Journals you offten hear them talk of a "season" without the Lord. I feel for Him and I am thankful this has never been my experiance for that sort of time frame. Anyway, my thoughts and prayers are with you Claire.
In Christ,
Shane

23/3/06 2:48 AM  
Blogger QuakerK said...

Claire,

I've found that my spiritual life goes in cycles--sometimes more fervent, sometimes more barren. Whether it's me, or a general pattern that other people share, I'm not sure, but I've been through the cycle enough that when I enter what I half-jokingly call my "atheist phase" I know that things will turn and change eventually, which gives me comfort. Like you, I find waiting to be the best response at those times. For some reason, I always remember the story from the very end of the gospel of John: Jesus is leading Peter away, when Peter looks back and sees "the beloved disciple" (supposed to be John, I believe) waiting. He asks, "What about him?" I.e., We can't just leave him waiting there. And Jesus says, basically, "If he needs to wait, what's it to you? Let's go." I suppose from Peter's perspective this could be an excuse to leave John behind, but I've always identified more with John, the waiter, and found in it a justification for waiting.

Not really a balm, I suppose, but if I read your post rightly, in you've already found your balm, so I'm just sharing my experience.

By the way, I greatly sympathize with your desire to have a day of rest. I've long wished he could bring back the Sabbath. Alas, it seems hard to do in our day and age (though there are Jews who do it, so perhaps it is a matter of making it a priority).

Peace,

QuakerK

23/3/06 9:53 AM  
Blogger Martin Kelley said...

Hi Claire,
Oh my gosh, I have this whole folder full of posts I've never put up! The other day I was wondering if I should have a "From the Vault" section where I randomly pick one and post it! Seriously, oftentimes I felt I needed to work through something with a post but didn't need to deliver it. It wasn't lost as it often came out later in some other form. Why don't I post? Sometimes it's too based in details on something happening in my life and there's someone who could feel judged if I put it up. Sometimes its just something I need to rant about and while there's glimmers of truth, there's still too much ME in there and too many of my hangups getting in the way of the message.

Being lost is just part of the process. Letting yourself move through it without trying to artificially end it is important. I often want to DO SOMETHING in these times (and sometimes others are waiting for me to DO SOMETHING) but waiting and examining my own heart in the Light is the only thing to do sometimes.

23/3/06 11:19 AM  
Blogger Johan Maurer said...

Love is the first motion. Sometimes that doesn't just mean projecting loved, but resting in the knowledge of being loved. And sometimes, even that seems much. Your friends who love you carry that knowledge for you, holding it with the tenderness it deserves and you deserve.

24/3/06 6:41 PM  
Blogger Robin M. said...

Some writing is not meant for the blogosphere. Some may be the seeds of a print publication, an article or a whole book. Some maybe ought to be a personal letter. Some may be for your electronic personal journal. And sometimes, I find I've written a blog post, and it seems done, but I don't feel ready to publish it, and then a month later I come back to it, edit with some new insight, or at least clearer grammar, and then publish it.

Patience is still considered a virtue in my Book. One I need more practice with.

30/3/06 10:45 AM  
Blogger Lorcan said...

Just saw thy post here... in fact it might be the first I have seen thy blog, and it is a wonderful post and wonderful blog, and thy blog is joining my links today... and I am touched to see thee has found my blog before I found thine...

On being lost in school. I had the wonderful, and difficult honor of being a Friend's executor, a Friend I had not known well before the final year of his life. In sorting his things, I found his journals, very like the journals Friends kept for generations. He wrote of his time in school, away from family and friends, his sense of loss and fears of loosing direction in his studies, but he also wrote of his finding midweek meeting, that even in a time when he was in a very difficult time consuming school program, he found that adding time to center was time which helped him deal with the pressures... more time for worship made it possible to deal with more time for grad school. By the way, he went on to a wonderful life teaching in his field and doing really wonderful work for others.

In this past year, I felt more than drained, I shared with Friends on my blog, that I felt separated from so much that I felt separated from God, not that God abandoned me, but that I could not be thankful for God's love... things hurt so... but as Joe and others and thee says here, it is important to know that we are lost, and not loose sight of what we know we need and will find, joy, love and faith.

Hope things are doing better... summer is nearly here, summer work?
cheers,
thine in the light
lor

13/4/06 4:14 PM  

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