The Word Vs. the Wave

angry waves

(Photo credit: backonthebus)

I knew about the undertow, but it still got me.

On that beach in Panama I went out a little too far and before I had time to yell I got sucked back into the next wave, my heels flailing to find sand and failing, my head moving diagonally down. Then, just as I started to panic, the angry wave that was my world lifted me up and threw me into the shallows again. I looked up and saw the moon, and my friend came over to help me up and say, “You were supposed to watch out for that.”

This is an excellent parable for my emotions. Teachers of contemplation and meditation speak of “the afflictive emotions,” meaning the waves of fury or sadness or frustration that suck us in without warning and give us little hope for escape. Too often they sweep me up in a second and overwhelm me so I can’t seem to get a foothold. I can’t draw on the past or look forward to a time in the future when the wave will be over; I feel controlled, compelled to say and do things I would never in my better moments. Then, when it’s over, I feel empty and stupid. Oh yeah. I was supposed to watch out for that.

Recently, I read something in The Inner Voice of Love by Henri Nouwen that used this very image to describe a struggle like mine:

You wonder what to do when you feel attacked on all sides by seemingly irresistible forces, waves that cover you and want to sweep you off your feet. What are you to do? Make the conscious choice to move the attention of your anxious heart away from these waves and direct it to the One who walks on them and says, “It’s me. Don’t be afraid” (Mt 14:27; Mk 6:50; Jn 6:20).

Oh, Henri, I thought. That’s easy for you to say. (I often talk back to spiritual giants in my head. I hope they don’t call me on it if we ever meet up in the afterlife.)

Soon after I read it, I found myself caught up in a wave of anger, surrounded by it on all sides, having gotten there through a moment’s inattention, again. Sometimes people push my buttons and the rage comes in to choke me, and I can’t think beyond my next breath of air.

If I’m lucky, when this happens, I will have the presence of mind to grit my teeth, try not to say anything stupid, and pray for mercy. And even that has taken a long time to learn. But this time, I decided to try imagining my anger as a literal wave, like the one that got me in Panama. Then I pictured myself bobbing up to the surface and catching a big breath of air. And then I pictured Jesus of Nazareth walking on the rough water. In my head he has wild, curly hair and brown eyes that have seen and understood a lot. He looks pretty average for his time, but he has this quiet kind of authority you can’t ignore. And he looked into my eyes and said, “It’s me. Don’t be afraid.”

And suddenly, honest to Jesus, the wave was just a wave. Still wild and powerful and scary, but temporary. And although I couldn’t keep my own head above water very long, I knew that breath of air could last me awhile. More than that, I knew that wave was powered by fear, the fear that I’d drown in my anger, that I’d never surface again. As any student of riptides knows, the dangerous part is panicking, getting exhausted, and giving up.

I know I’m going to keep getting sucked into waves of afflictive emotions. And I know I can’t walk on water, not on my own power, anyway. But I can hold on to one breath of hope, and a sustaining word, until I float back to the shallows again.

Nine Words to Guide My Future

In 2004, I remember sitting on that worn basement couch after Bible Study and telling someone for the first time that I was a Christian. I remember walking home to my dorm that night a little drunk on cosmic love, naïvely dreaming of doing Something Great for Jesus Someday as I pushed the glass door of my dorm open, caught between wild darkness and warm glow.

In 2005, I traveled to Greece with its grand, golden, empty churches. I walked to the one neighborhood people told me not to go to, down streets crammed with people and past shops crammed with imported trinkets, to the soup kitchen above a falafel shop. Heavenly smell as I climbed the stairs! Inside, slopping soup and taking names, I learned that my smile was sometimes not enough, that Something Great for Jesus was hard to do, but nonetheless, I kept showing up.

In 2006, they called from Arizona to tell me my grandmother was dying. I flew home immediately, though we’d never been that close and my teenage self-absorption and her dementia had just widened the gap. When I walked in the room I barely recognized her, her body curled in fetal position, the vibrant red hair of her youth almost gone. We children and grandchildren held her hand and fed her ice chips and sang to her and talked to her, although we didn’t know if she could sense our presence anymore. She died the next day, all of us in the room watching her chest rise and fall until it didn’t anymore. What can I say? I’d never loved her more. In those few days, I saw Jesus in her.

In 2007, I went to live in rural Panama for two months. I went “to help,” which was, again, a total joke. I lived with nine other people in a house with one room and one light bulb. They pulled out all the stops for me, gave me the only real bed, taught me merengue and how to wash my clothes by hand. Everywhere I went in that town of maybe a hundred, people pulled out their best plastic chairs, shooed away their dogs, sliced up mangoes, made coffee, killed a precious chicken for my dinner. The strangeness of their world almost shook my faith apart, and their generosity put it back together again.

In 2008, I graduated college, moved to a new state, and couldn’t get a job for three months. Then I got a job, which I found exhausting and grueling, and I almost got fired except I cried in my boss’s office and she took pity on me. I almost couldn’t function, unable to live with my utter incompetence, not wanting to leave the house. The worst was feeling like I’d failed God by letting all this crush me. But I remember, too, crying on the phone with a distant friend about my multiple levels of failure, and she said, “Oh Rachel, don’t you know God loves you so much he’ll never let you go?” And I cried more, because somehow I hadn’t known it before, and now I did.

In 2009, I found a church home for the first time. Weeks before Lent, I walked into that shabby wooden building not knowing how much it would shape the next several years of my life. I ate the bread and drank the wine, and it started to infect me, ever so slowly, like yeast or a creeping weed like mustard plants. They drilled the Preferential Option for the Poor into my head with sermon after sermon, they washed my feet on Holy Thursday and stayed up until midnight with me on Easter Vigil. Before I knew it I wasn’t just a spectator, I was part of the Body again, bringing muffins to interminable meetings in which we plotted how to bring the Kingdom always just a little closer.

In 2010, I picked up my dusty Bible and read the thing through for the very first time. I wrestled with twisted family histories, purity codes, temple blueprints, census numbers, raving prophets, and strange riddles, and I realized something that should always have been obvious: This is a love story, beginning to end.

In 2011, I started praying for real. I sat in silence and tried to learn to just Be with the one who is called I Am Who I Am. I met a woman from Canada on the Internet who wanted to be prayer partners with me. I prayed for her through her months of bed rest during what was possibly one of the world’s most epically difficult pregnancies, and she prayed, with awesome humility, for my relatively pain-free life and my rampant pride issues. We’d wake up while it was still dark sometimes to encourage each other, and miles away we’d pray with similar desperation things like Please let me get through this day.

In 2012, I found myself sitting in on a rather unremarkable seminary class and I heard some words read aloud that were like a big neon sign to me: This is a clue to what you do with your life. It had to do with some of my favorite things: bread and words and desert rain. It was Isaiah 55:10-11:

As the rain and the snow
come down from heaven,
and do not return to it
without watering the earth
and making it bud and flourish,
so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,
so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.

In 2013, I’m wrestling with that passage and how to make those words come true in me. Can I do it? Too early to tell, really. It may take another nine years. It may take the rest of my life, or even more than that. Who knows.

If I make it through the next nine years, I’ll be thirty-six, the age my mother was when she had me, her first child. I think about that and I think, It’s not too late to give birth to what will bring you your greatest joy. When I think about the future, I think about what I want to define me, and I think of learning these nine words by heart until they power me like a heartbeat: Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Rebirthday Giveaway: Free Book!

Okay, I lied: rebirthday gifts exist. Nine years ago, I received the gift of a whole new life, hope that I won’t be stuck in the same problems forever and ever, knowledge that I’m loved beyond belief. So the least I can do is pass it on, even in small ways, right? Hence, Rachel’s First Annual Rebirthday Giveaway!

The winner will receive a free copy of a book of their choice from the Nine Books that Feed My Spirit I blogged about earlier this week (see Part 1 and Part 2 of that post).

You can get up to three entries in this giveaway. Here’s how:

1. Leave a comment on this post letting me know what topics you’d like me to write about in the future here at A Glimpse in the Glass. Awkward questions positively welcomed!

2. If you haven’t already, become a subscriber to A Glimpse in the Glass (just click that big “follow” button on the right sidebar).

3. Share your favorite post (any post!) from A Glimpse in the Glass on Facebook or Twitter.

No matter how many ways you enter, please tell me about all of them in a comment on this post. Also, be sure to let me know which book you’ll want if you win!

Comments will count until midnight, Pacific time, on Wednesday, July 31st. The winner will be announced the following day. I’ll get in touch with you by email to arrange the shipment of your prize.

Thanks as always for reading, and a very merry un-rebirthday to you!

Nine Books that Feed My Spirit (Part 2)

Stack of Books

(Photo credit: Sam Howzit)

If you’re just tuning in now, here’s Part 1 of this post. Now onto more bookish goodness!

5. The Irresistible Revolution: Living as an Ordinary Radical by Shane Claiborne
First read: 2008

Another random library find, and this time in Benton County, Oregon, at the time the place with the highest concentration of atheists in the country. This is the book that kickstarted the revival of my faith post-college. Shane shares the story of how Jesus messed his life up, turned him from a complacent evangelical hoping for a cushy job and an early retirement to someone whose life has been consumed with radical love and service: traveling to Iraq in solidarity and peace, scattering thousands of dollars all over Wall Street in a “Jubilee” celebration, creating an intentional community in Philadelphia to support his inner-city neighbors for life. But although his story is an extraordinary one, he doesn’t suggest everyone do exactly as he did; rather, his dream is for everyone to find their own way to be radical, and the latter part of his book generously spreads around his enthusiasm.

6. Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion by Fr. Greg Boyle
First read: circa 2011

I’ve cried over many books and laughed out loud at more, but few can make me do both, and this is one. Fr. Greg (or G, as his friends call him) tells the story of his life’s work running Homeboy Industries, an anti-gang employment program in L.A. that makes gang rival coworkers learning job skills together. But really, the story he tells is the story of the young men and women he worked with: the ones he baptized, the ones that hung around his office and drove him crazy, the ones he welcomed home from jail with pepperoni pizza like modern Prodigal Sons, the ones he made accompany him to fancy awards dinners, the ones that left the neighborhood and got stable homes and families, the many that never made it out alive. These are stories you can never forget once you read them, stories that make your compassion a little more boundless.

7. Take This Bread: A Radical Communion by Sara Miles
First read: 2012

Sara Miles walked into St. Gregory’s Episcopal Church as an atheist, out of a vague curiosity to know what was going on, and she chose to take communion at their open table, and in her words, “Jesus happened to me.” Her encounter with Jesus was undeniably an experience, fitting for someone who’d spent her life getting her hands dirty as a war correspondent and cook. Her experience of getting fed with no conditions led her to want to extend the same hospitality to others, and she started a food pantry at the church, giving away boxes of groceries over the altar. The book is also about her radical communion with the community of St. Gregory’s and the food pantry volunteers, the frustrating and fulfilling group she counts as her family in the Body of Christ. A book that invites me to taste and see… and then feed others as I’ve been fed.

8. Monastery of the Heart: An Invitation to a Meaningful Life by Joan Chittister
First read: 2012

This book could be titled Monastic Values for Dummies – and for anyone in the complex yet connected twenty-first century world who wants to lead an examined life. Sr. Joan shares a lifetime of insight from community living by the Rule of Benedict in short, accessible chapters that flow like poems and have titles like “Good Work,” “Retreat and Reflection,” and “Sufficiency and Sharing.” Despite its basis on monastic codes of living, it’s not particularly heavy on Christian imagery, and it’s intended for spiritual seekers of whatever kind. There’s also quite a bit of practical encouragement for building a supportive spiritual community.

9. The Inner Voice of Love by Henri Nouwen
First read: Currently reading!

Normally I wouldn’t recommend a book I’m still reading, but this one has been so influential for me already, as I detailed in a recent post. Nouwen’s hard-won insights from his journey through depression and codependence are so rich that I find practical help on literally every page, expressed in Nouwen’s down-to-earth and gentle style. Seriously, I’ve been carrying this book around in my purse for months, just in case at any time I need an extra dose of perspective and grace.

What are some reads that have shaped your life?

Recipe for Rebirth

Looking back at my life nine years ago, I can’t help but ask myself what it was about that moment that made me suddenly want to follow Jesus. Why then, ten years since attending church for the first time, having had countless conversations with friends and relatives about their faith, did the Jesus story suddenly seem real and applicable to me?

Another journal entry, this one from September 2004, gives me the best answer I’ve found so far. (Again, not edited for language.)

Here are, in my mind, the fundamentals of Christianity:

1. Humility. We all fuck up, every day, like clockwork. It is part of being human. We can’t escape the flaws of our minds and souls any more than we can death, the ultimate flaw of our bodies. And as much as we all hate to admit it, we cannot do anything about this. We cannot become perfect, blessed, pain-free beings through force of will, good intentions, experience, book learning, or anything else. What, then, can help us?

2. Hope. The main story of Christianity is about a man who died and rose again. This is ludicrous, impossible, stupid. Yet aren’t all forms of hope? Hope means believing that, impossibly enough, love can come from our emptiness and weakness, that when all we see is dead ends and sacrifice and suffering, something else will come to fill the suffering and transform it. This is what I have a hard time believing, not to mention arguing, because what if it isn’t true? Still, even if those who hope are wrong and deluded, maybe they will still be able to do what they thought was impossible. At least they will have a reason to keep trying. Is it weak to need a reason? Yes. But so are we.

These, not particular Bible verses, are fundamentals worth clinging to. Neither one should be compromised. If you have humility without hope, you give up. If you have hope without humility, you become proud, and then you fall. If you have both, you just might be sane. Also, you just might be Christian.

Frankly, it blows my mind to read this, for one thing because I still believe it. Out of the mouths of babes! This is still the crux of my central struggle as a Christian: to accept my deeply flawed nature and to cling to hope despite that. One of those things that Shane Claiborne might describe as “simple and hard as crud.” It also blows my mind how close this is to Romans 7:15-25, a poignant description of the hope of Christ breaking through the apparent hopelessness of human nature. And I know I didn’t get it from the Bible, because I wouldn’t really read the Bible for years.

But this entry encapsulates my mental state at the time very well. Poised on the edge of adulthood, soon to leave home and go to college, I was getting to know both humility and hope better than ever before. On the one hand, as a teenager, I was struggling with the knowledge of my own limits, my inadequacy, and my propensity to do things I knew were wrong (disrespecting my family was a big one, according to those old journal entries). On the other hand, I felt that in leaving for college I’d be able to make a new start, and anything seemed possible.

My adult life stretched out before me; so far, it was unmarred by mistakes, but I knew it soon would be black with them. Also, I was painfully aware of all the adults around me who dealt with their mistakes and subsequent regret in all kinds of unhealthy ways, from addiction to complete social disengagement to unbridled anger. They were good people, nice people, well-intentioned people, but this did not save them from an endless cycle of pain and bad decisions and pain and bad decisions, lather rinse repeat. And I think all this made me unusually disposed to hope that somehow, there was a Way out of such a cycle.

I was scared and guilty and confused and unprepared. In short, I was ready for some good news. I was listening hard for it, and I heard it, heard the Good News as if it were spoken directly to me: blessed are the desperately lonely, the inveterate losers, the constant screw-ups, for they shall receive, because they don’t deserve it, the gift of abundant hope.

Happy Rebirthday to Me!

English: Traditional Devil's Food Birthday CakeYes, that’s right. Today, July 19th, is my rebirthday. Don’t worry, you didn’t come unprepared to the party! Presents absolutely not necessary (although if you want to use it as an excuse to eat cake, the rebirthday girl condones that).

So what’s a rebirthday? Simply put, it’s the day of my conversion. Roughly. I kind of had a creeping conversion. Some people see a bright light and fall off their horse, but God knows such theatrics generally terrify me, so my conversion was a slippery slope, a doubt that lodged itself in my doubt, a strange experiment that proved more and more true. Anyway, it was on July 19th that I first admitted I wanted to follow Christ.

That was nine years ago. So in Earth years, I’m twenty-seven and a half (today, coincidentally, also being my half-birthday), but in spiritual years, I am squarely in grade school, which seems about right.

Here, for your reading pleasure, is my first public confession of faith. Edited slightly for clarity but not for language, so be warned! Oh, teenage Livejournal entries.

Sometimes I would really like to be a Christian. I think churches and ceremony give people a false sense of security, but the basic idea is so crazy it just might work. Only recently did I realize how revolutionary a philosophy it is. As opposed to a God or gods who may or may not care about what it feels like to be human, the Christians have a God who became human, who understood pain and death so well that he knowingly took them on, who understood sin so well that he forgave us all for being the sinful creatures that we are.

To me, Jesus represents undeserved, boundless, insane forgiveness. I become increasingly convinced, on a gut level, that this is what we all need. None of us are good people. Most of us are good-natured, but there is zero chance that we will live blameless lives or even that we’ll be able to fix all our good-natured mistakes. In this context, maybe Jesus really is the Light and the Way. His philosophy says, “It doesn’t matter what a shithead you are. I love you, I accept the fact that you have made and will continue to make mistakes, and I encourage you to do the same so you can try to be a better person without getting bogged down in guilt and mind games.”

It’s a terrifying idea, because such an awesome gift could only be accepted with total submission. We try so hard to con ourselves into believing that we are in control, that we’re worth something, when the truth is we don’t know shit about our own brains, much less the universe, and we have no defense against death. Pain moves people to deceive themselves more strongly than they can even understand; I know I must have delusions I haven’t begun to discover yet. I know many intelligent, wonderful people who are absolutely terrified by not knowing things and will not admit it to themselves. Maybe we should all join Liars Anonymous and, as our first step, admit that we do not have control.

As usual, I don’t believe wholeheartedly. I picked up a book on Sartre today and became terrified myself. What if we really DO have control and I am just trying to evade responsibility again by yearning for some sort of cosmic forgiveness? However, as uncertain as I am about everything else, I think it’s a fact that our tiny, pink, squishy brains cannot truly understand what’s going on around us… The fact that most of us are completely unable to deal with the fact of our eventual death should tell us something. Maybe there are worse things than believing that, against all odds, we are loved and we have a second chance.

See you tomorrow for continued celebration! It’s my rebirthday week, after all.

Do you celebrate your rebirthday or other unconventional anniversaries? How far have you come in the last nine years?

A Way to Freedom: Telling Our Stories

“There are two ways of telling your story. One is to tell it compulsively and urgently, to keep returning to it because you see your present suffering as the result of your past experiences. But there is another way. [You can] see it as the way to your present freedom… as God’s way of making you more compassionate and understanding towards others.” – Henri Nouwen

The late Henri Nouwen wrote those words during one of the darkest periods of his life. He had just moved to L’Arche Daybreak, a community where he could live life alongside men and women with mental disabilities. This community would be his home until he died ten years later, and it would bring him much deep joy. However, at the moment he entered, the interruption of a friendship which had brought him a deep sense of fulfillment was tearing at the core of his identity. Nothing could console him, neither the memory of his past accomplishments as a beloved spiritual writer nor the care and solace of his other friends and community members. He wept for hours and could not sleep. From December 1987 to June 1988, he lived in daily anguish.

Slowly, Nouwen says, he could eventually “take very small steps toward life.” Frequent meetings with spiritual counselors helped, as did writing about his struggles to maintain his identity as fundamentally beloved despite all the pain he was experiencing in the moment. Years later, friends urged him to share excerpts from the journal he had kept during those dark six months. At first he thought they were too personal and raw to be of any use to others, but after rereading them and considering the idea, he finally allowed them to be published as a book of their own.

I’ve been reading that book, The Inner Voice of Love, for the last few months. My current rate is about a page a day; as Nouwen himself warns at the beginning, the lessons he learned are too intense to take in quickly. His terse reflections, the fierce yet gentle instructions to himself that helped him cling to hope, jump off the page in their vividness. To someone like me who craves approval and fears rejection, it’s like getting instructions from my time-traveling future self, a message that yes, I somehow can make it from here to there.

This story reminds me of another one, the story of a man who was born into darkness: the man born blind who appears in the Gospel of John. The disciples ask Jesus whose fault it is that this man was born with a burden to carry, a struggle to live in a world he can’t see. Did he somehow sin before he was born, or is it a punishment he’s inherited from his parents? “Neither,” replies Jesus. “This happened to him so that the glory of God could be revealed through him.” This man’s entire life, including his blindness, displays the glory of God. All along, his very struggle with darkness can shed light on God’s glory.

This story is repeated whenever someone stuck with a heavy burden wants to share the burdens of others. Whenever someone is lonely and chooses to help others feel less alone. When someone takes the dark things they should never have suffered and chooses to shed light so others will not suffer the same.

I’m watching with awe right now as this story takes place in the life of my sister. Mired in the depths of depression, which constantly steals her joy and peace of mind, she wants to share her story with others through a series of videos about her experiences. I’m blown away that even in the middle of her story, she’s already letting it deepen her compassion. Still on the path to freedom herself, she wants to help lead others out.

I’m thankful for her. Thankful to be so close to someone who is living this story. I need to live it too, the story where my suffering can itself become the raw material for healing.

Have you been inspired by someone who used their story of healing to help others? Are you going or have you gone through a similar experience?

Coming Soon: A Very Special Week!

Hello, my readers!

First of all, thanks to all who have commented lately. I’ve been invigorated by all the exchange and I appreciate it very much.

Second, this Friday is a very special day for me. I’m planning on doing some special extra posts and even a giveaway, so make sure to check this space on Friday and in the week following so you don’t miss anything.

Any guesses what the special day might be? (I don’t think anyone else knows, but just for fun.)

I Want to Be Healed

Heal the world !!!

(Photo credit: bluewinx15)

“It’s disgusting how many people Jesus healed,” I told my friend Joel over pizza one night. “I’ve been reading Mark – he healed everyone!”

I was good and bitter, thinking of my loved ones who struggle with chronic depression and autoimmune diseases and high blood pressure. And while I was at it, what about the division and lack of love and corruption infecting my beloved Church? And what about my own pride and anger and insensitivity and all the stupid sins I faced down day after day? I was tired of the seeming relentlessness of it all, of watching nothing change within or without, then reading how Jesus sent lifelong afflictions away with a single touch and a blessing.

“Not everyone,” corrected Joel firmly, taking another bite of pizza.

I kept reading the Gospels and I saw he was right. They are thick with lepers and fever sufferers and the demon-possessed. You get the idea there are many more where they came from, and Jesus spends significant time running away from them. After most of his miracles in Mark, Jesus instructs the newly healed not to tell anyone (instructions they usually blatantly disregard, and who can blame them).

Why would Jesus tell them not to tell anyone? Not because he doesn’t want to heal people or because he doesn’t love them. Jesus is often described as looking at someone and having compassion on them – and the Greek verb in that sentence literally means he experienced gut-wrenching pain on their behalf. He loves these people so much it hurts – viscerally.

But even he cannot do it all. Jesus is not “only human,” as the saying goes, but he is fully human. He gets hungry, dirty, exhausted – in that famous part when he calms the storm, he had to be awoken from sleeping through its fury, conked out on a rough mat on the floor of the boat. He is constantly being chased by crowds of people, and once someone lets his secret out in an area, he can’t even appear in public anymore. He often withdraws to a quiet place to pray, apparently needing to be restored.

So who gets healed in the Bible? The ones who push their way to the front of that crowd to touch Jesus, scream his name until he stops his journey, endure jeers and mocking and discouragement from bystanders, sneak up behind him to brush their fingers upon the hem of his garment, get their friends to lower them down from a hole in the thatched roof. Subtle, they are generally not. Orthodox, even less so. They are desperate and unafraid to admit it. You ask them what they want and they’ll tell you right away: they want to be healed.

When I say realizing this taught me something about healing, what I don’t mean at all is that my friends with depression or high blood pressure or lupus are sick because they don’t want to be well badly enough. Neither do I want to say that God is harried and overworked, that you have to take a number and wait for him to get to you. I don’t understand why sickness happens, why healing happens or doesn’t happen. God knows why every sparrow falls to the ground, but I will never pretend to be in the know on that level.

But I do know this: if I want to get healed from my own stuff, and I’m talking soul rot, spiritual leprosy, bits of my heart falling off from under-use, I need to get serious about it. My pride needs to be the first thing to go. I need to shout with all my heart, “Jesus, have mercy on me!” I need to be ready to crawl on my belly in the dust to touch the hem of his robe. I need to let friends carry me and devise crazy schemes on my behalf. I need to become deaf to those who would mock me or scorn me for admitting my weakness. I need to focus on just one thing: following that crowd of crazy people and hunting Jesus down.

I also need to smash forever the other big lie I tell myself: that working on my own spiritual healing equals being selfish. Often I feel squishily concerned about other people’s suffering, but I’m too buried in my own garbage to truly help them. As a wise man once said, “Why don’t you take the stick out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to help that other person who’s got something in their eye.” Like, “I can’t believe I have to tell you this, but you can’t see with a giant stick in your eye. Common sense, people, sheesh.”

What this means for me right now: I’m starting to actively look for a therapist and/or spiritual director to help me with some deep-rooted, unhealthy ways of dealing with physical and emotional pain (or not dealing with it, as the case may be). I’ve been very resistant to this in the past for various reasons, but what I lose in pride I’ll hopefully more than make up in authenticity. I’m also committing to confiding in my friends more when I need it and praying aggressively for growth and healing. I’d appreciate your prayers and/or good wishes on this journey.

I raise a big cosmic toast to humbling ourselves in the pursuit of healing. May we all, one day, be whole.

What are your thoughts on healing? Any requests for prayer and/or practical help?