Sister Barbara Hance said, “Show me a day when the world wasn’t new.” I have this quote on a card that sits on my desk. (see the picture above)
When I look at this picture I lose myself in the wonder I feel in the little boy’s eyes as he watches the baby bird outside his window. Both creatures have beating hearts, working brains and both are present to a shared moment, expanding their awareness as they wonder about the other.
The past ten weeks I have been engulfed in self care, something ministers are unfortunately very laxed in practicing. Emotional wounds can be life altering and life defying, but if we take the necessary time away to befriend our wounds, the healing process will lead us into wonder and wholeness beyond our natural understanding.
Sitting in silence can be deafening when the heart is broken. As I sat on the sands of Cordova Bay in Victoria, the sounds of the past were silencing the sounds of the waves and I became angry at the voices I was remembering. This process went on for a few days. Silence. Voices. Listening. Anger. Pain. Repeat. Then one day the wind was asleep and the waters were still. I could barely hear the sound of the tide. All was still outside of me and I sat down and decided to join the stillness. As I meditated I thought, “Traci, you are the wind inside of you, not the voices of betrayal, assumption and judgement. You have the freedom to choose what kind of wind, what kind of energy, flows through you. You have the power to control your rising from your ashes.”
I begin to breathe in deeply, expanding my lungs and visualizing creating an expanse inside of me for stillness.
In this expanse, I landed on two verses I remembered from Paul’s letters to the churches in Ephesus and Colossae:
Ephesians2:6-7: “and did raise us up together, and did seat us together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that He might show, in the ages that are coming, the exceeding riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.”
Colossians 3:1: “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.”
The words that caught my attention were, “did raise” and “since then”. I spoke out loud and said, “Traci, enter into what is already yours. Rise. Come back to life.” And then I began to wonder what is the source that empowers our rising? I know the Source is God but what about God? Is it Her love that raises us? Is it His forgiveness that raises us? Or is it God’s grace, God’s wholeness and energy that raises us into new life? And this new life is waiting to be lived now, this new life is not talking about the after life that will be a new way of being. I began to get excited about this reality and then a riptide inside my heart hit me out of nowhere and I spoke out loud again, “But I am hurting. It hurts to breathe. This elephant is heavy.”
And my soul quaked for a while.
It quaked until I was ready to hear, “I’ve got this Traci. I’ve got you. Feel me. Let go and feel me. And when you are sure about me, do what I do for you every day. Be grace and forgive so you have nothing left but love. Let the tide rip you away from what is hurting you. Drown in me and I promise when you do, you will rise to a new life, stronger and gentler than before. Choose what kind of wind you want to blow you away. Choose where you want the wind to carry you and then get up and be there because the reality is you are already there. Show the elephant the door and shut it behind her and throw away the key.”
I took another deep breath.
Then I stood up, and wrote a name on a rock and embraced forgiveness as I let go of the rock and watched it fly away and land in the ocean and in the sea of God’s love.
I share this very personal experience because I love you, my family, my friends, my congregation and those I have yet to meet. I also share this because I will be offering a sermon series on “Embracing Forgiveness” because it’s time for many of us to acknowledge the elephant and say goodbye so we may be present to the beautiful humanity in all of us where the Divine has taken up residence. Since we have already been raised and put together as a body of Christ, it’s time to get ready for the winds of Pentecost where God desires to set us on fire with forgiveness, humility, joy, love and most of all, grace. I invite you to enter into wondering with me. If you are willing, I promise, I’ve got this and God’s got all of us. Let’s be and do something life altering for the good! Let’s defy gravity and embrace forgiveness together. May it be so, amen.