Saturday, March 20, 2010
Sometimes things are just too small
Sweet Dreams by David Whyte from 'The House of Belonging'
When your eyes are tired
the world is tired also.
When your vision has gone
no part of the world can find you.
Time to go into the dark
where the night has eyes
to recognize its own.
There you can be sure
you are not beyond love.
The dark will be your womb tonight.
The night will give you a horizon
further than you can see.
You must learn one thing.
The world was made to be free in.
Give up all other worlds
except the one to which you belong.
Sometimes it takes darkness and the sweet
confinement of your aloneness
anything or anyone that does not bring you alive
is too small for you.
The slumber of winter has transitioned into spring. The season of lent's wilderness journey has carried us to a time of resurrection, joy and new life. This poem by David Whyte speaks about transition and change. According to the poet's perspective, a time of rest or dreaming can lead to an opportunity for growth, development and becoming alive again.
When I was a teenager, a friend gave me a gift of a hermit crab. I had a small tank for it to live in complete with, gravel, food and water and a treasure chest like you would see in a fish aquarium. One day when I came home from school, I looked in my hermit crab's home to see his shell was empty and he was no where to be found. I looked closer and saw that he had crawled out of his shell to search for something bigger, but because he did not find what he needed - he had died from too much exposure without a new shell. If we don't have the space we need, our growth - both physical and spiritual can become inhibited, delayed or stopped altogether.
My favorite line in the lovely poem above is its last sincere but direct statement, " ...anything or anyone that does not bring you alive is too small for you." Just like a hermit crab in search of a new larger shell to live in, we also need the space to keep growing if we are really going to live!
I think I'm drawn to this statement of "too small" because of the trend in society today to become smaller, especially in regard to physical size and stature. When you watch a film or look at a fashion magazine, the pressure of become smaller or less than than is quite evident. If it were possible in this culture of small to live in a healthy and sound manner instead of the dramatic standard of "becoming the next size smaller and then the next and the next" I think our world would look and be much different. In fact, if the focus of health and wellness would grow to a place of holistic inclusion - mind, body and spirit - our world would be a richer and more nurturing place to live. There is, as the poem suggests, something about a time of rest that leads to a time of growth and development.
Rest is an important part of our physical growth, so why wouldn't spiritual rest or nurturing also lead to development of the spirit?
Psalm 37 speaks to the reality of worry in life. People can spend a great deal of time worrying about all the possible problems that might happen. These worries, imagined or real, according to Psalm 37: 2... are like spring crocus flowers that are here today and tomorrow are nowhere to be found.
1 Don’t worry about the wicked
or envy those who do wrong.
2 For like grass, they soon fade away.
Like spring flowers, they soon wither.
Trusting God in a season of waiting or darkness can be difficult to bear, but God is not like the flowers that come and go. God is always present. Thankfully, our faith in God in times of challenge are combined with a generous helping of grace.
3 Trust in the Lord and do good.
Then you will live safely in the land and prosper.
4 Take delight in the Lord,
and he will give you your heart’s desires.
God gives so much to us. If we center on lives in God, God helps to clear out space in what was once a "too-small" heart and helps it to grow in its capacity for love and purpose.
5 Commit everything you do to the Lord.
Trust him, and he will help you.
6 He will make your innocence radiate like the dawn,
and the justice of your cause will shine like the noonday sun.
7 Be still in the presence of the Lord,
and wait patiently for him to act.
Spiritual waiting, resting, and holding on can be so difficult to do. Human nature, or for me my own impatience, causes me to want to achieve what I desire to achieve - when I want to achieve it - which is usually yesterday. However, in that period of waiting, it is possible to discover what in our lives is "too small" to fit into the desire God places in our hearts.
If we never pause in our spirit and wait upon God - we can miss the opportunity to connect with the true desire that would be God's best for us!
Some things in life are just too small for the real purpose of our lives. God's way, God's plan and God's dream for each one of us is often greater and grander than anything we've imagined. If we are to grow deep spiritual roots, it's necessary to take the time to connect with God and allow those sprouting roots the opportunity to grow.
Does something in life feel "too small'? Do you feel the need to dream a God dream or have your desires in life expand to all the possibilities God can see?
We need a moment to rest, so that we can grow, so that we can dream of the fantastic God desires that are waiting just around the corner - if only we could let go of the "too small" items we trying to hold on to.
God help us to live apart from worry, because you are greater than those weeds and those things that try to hold us captive in a place that is "too small" for your vision.
Open our eyes, our lives, our spirits and our church to rest in you, dream in you and reach to grow into the fullest vision you have for us as individuals and as a community in Christ. God, give us the right size shell for the lives you would have us live and help us to keep growing to be more like you - with big dreams and God-like desires.