I’m thinking about the past few weeks of my life and all I can see is my beagle, Gracie. There she is, right in front of me. I want her to go some place that she doesn’t really want to go, but she has forgotten her wilfulness for a moment and she is focused on me — I have a toy or a treat (most likely, a treat). Very slowly, I move towards her and because she is in food-anticipation-mode or play mode, she backs up so that she can maintain an ever-perfect focus on the object of her desire. And, then, before she knows it, she is where I want her to be — surprise!
Lately, this seems a lot like the dance I’ve been doing with God. In this scenario, God is playing the role of dog Mommy (me), dangling some treat that seems overwhelmingly desirable before me, and sadly, I appear in a the role of the manipulated beagle. Over the past week, it has finally settled into my consciousness that in my life I have backed in the front way — the name I have given to this process of thinking that you are backing away from something all the while you are about to embrace something about the thing you think you are escaping, some unimagined something that you would perhaps say was unwanted.
Whatever I call the process, I thought that I was doing one thing, heading in one direction, while God headed me in another. Yes, I know, I am certainly not the only one to experience this, but this is my moment so please forgive me if I say something obvious…nothing that follows came easily or in an obvious way to this old dog (me, not Gracie).
The only real clarity that I have at the moment is this: that of the process in which I am participating is not following the path nor producing the results I expected. Here’s what I have come to know over these past few days.
Item 1: On some level, participating in the world of music had become so unpleasant for me that I was (without articulating it or planning it) willing and maybe a little anxious to completely walk away from everything I worked to build and be over the past 20 years. And I made choices that announced that willingness, even though I myself did not receive the frequency on which I was broadcasting.
Item 2: There is a different purpose and plan afoot than I imagined or perhaps even want to imagine. This has become clear as I have moved through these past weeks of piecing together what I considered to be a new life and new direction. Time and again, pieces of my living that I thought I was done with have re-installed themselves in the puzzle-gram that is Me. Again, I know, not a new experience; not even news in my life, but more of a boomerang than I expected.
Item 3: That this awareness of the disconnect between my perception of the plan and the reality building around me has left me tired, frustrated, angry, and sorry to say, willing to walk away into the forest and build a hut (of course, taking my faithful beagle with me). Oh, and did I say, really, really crabby and argumentative?
Item 4: That walking into the forest with my beagle and escaping is not an option, although a hike might be a good idea.
Item 5: That continuing to live in a place of frustration with what is also is not an option. I cannot quit; I cannot leave; I cannot force my transformation or the transformation of others; and in the true spirit of the re-imagining exercise we have undertaken in my church community, the thing I must transform is my frustration. This may be very, very difficult. Right now, it seems totally impossible.
Personally, I’m not at all certain that I have the strength (insert any number of platitudes that I would say to someone else who uttered those words). And yes, I understand that it is in the nature of my current studies to question everything and even to feel despair at the magnitude of the task before me. But frankly, God, I really didn’t imagine what it seems you have in mind. And right now, I don’t have the trust and surrender of that cute little beagle face when it looks at me; now, I’m feeling tricked because there wasn’t a biscuit.
But I do have the Psalms. I have a great understanding of the Psalmist’s rage right now…I just don’t have the poetic skill to use poetry to work out the emotion. So I’ll let the Psalmist do it for me, and pray that I can move on to another emotion soon and as I cling to the words of my professor, who pointed out that you really only get so angry with people or deities with whom you have an intimate relationship already. And now, from Psalm 10, verse 1: Why, O LORD, do you stand far off? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?. If you want more, click here — yes, someone has compiled a list for those days when you need a good anger prayer.
And now, I’m going to take Gracie for a walk. And I’m pretty sure that I will come back, this time.