“Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness. It took me years to understand that this too, was a gift.” ― Mary Oliver
The past 12 months turned my world upside down. Having found myself suffering from depression again, I can honestly look back and see that it was a gift. As I leaned into the darkness, instead of fighting it, a lot of things came clear. Two things in particular, became clear to me in the darkness:
1. I felt closer to God away from church
2. Going to church was bad for my mental health
And having been to church most Sundays for the past 20 years, these 2 things caught me by surprise! I know a lot of people that thrive in church, and I am in no shape or form saying that church is bad. I am just saying that for me, on my journey, it was doing more harm then good. Religion was killing my spirituality.
The more I swim in the ocean the bolder I become. Instead of playing it safe, I start to do things that I have been told that I should never do. On the recommendation of the psychologist I was seeing, I start yoga. There is talk of chakras and prana, but I focus on Him. I become aware of my breathing, I settle my mind and I feel each muscle moving in the pose that I am in. I am in the moment and I feel the stress melting away. And then something wonderful happens. During relaxation at the end of a class one particular night, I am still and I know that He is God. I have a vision. Jesus is there, surrounded by birds. He has one bird perched on His hand. He is smiling. There is love in His eyes. Jesus says, "She's going to love this one." And He releases the bird, sending it my garden. Jesus is delighting in delighting me! He knows that I love the birds He sends to my garden. I know that the birds are a gift from Him to me. And then I discover there are others using yoga to connect with Christ too.
As I swim, Spirit shows me how to be His hands and feet. Someone sends me an SMS saying that she is drowning. She needs help. I ring her. We talk. I go to yoga class. During yoga, I hear Him say, "She needs your physical presence. Buy her some ice cream and go to her." So after yoga, I ring her doorbell with ice cream in hand. We sit on her bed and eat ice cream and talk some more. I was Jesus to her in that moment - His hands and feet. When she sent me that SMS, I could have just SMSed her back with, "I am praying for you." But that would have been a cop out. Loving people requires a sacrifice. Love is a verb. Love does.
I attend a Pregnancy Loss Australia support meeting as a volunteer. I sit and listen to stories of giving birth to babies that would never take a breath in this world, and of grief and of learning how to live with their new normal. There was no mention of Jesus or God that night. But it was Holy Ground. It was sacred. God was in it.That night as I listened and was present, I was Jesus's hands and feet. Love is a verb. Love does.
|I purchased this exquisite original art by Beth Morey. I love seeing it daily in my home.|