I am wanting to let those close to me in.
I am leaving for three weeks to be alone with God. Just me and Him (and an hour a day with a sage named Bryan).
No distractions except the fragments of my own heart. No noise except the ceasless hum of white noise that plagues my post-modern mind.
I anticipate discovering how little of me there is to attend to Christ in me. I anticipate discovering how much of me attends to the many things that are my life. And this means I anticipate discovering and entering into the anxiety that lurks around the corner of all my joys.
To be centered on Christ, to know as Paul that "it is no longer I who live but Christ living in me," that is the end toward which I am moving. Yet I know there is much of me that is still living, still much of me and little of Him, still much of me that needs to be slaughtered, mortified, upon the cross which I carry today. He must increase, and I must decrease.
This journey will mean going to the primordial roots of my chaotic existence. How did I become the "I" that I am? What are those forces which have shaped me and now drive me to be the man that all of you know, the man that much of me still is yet to be known by myself. Like David I must discover that "surely I was sinful from birth." I must discover that at my core there is an anti-god who is seeking to establish his rule in my inner cosmos... or is it chaos? This is the me who "cannot submit to the law of God." The self that prefers the praise of men to the love of God, because I can earn the praise of men, but the love of God is belittling. It tells me that I have nothing to offer, that I stand with prostitutes, and strung out crack whores before God. It tells me that the whole of creation had to be undone in the Son of God on a tree, so as to save a chief like me. The systematic theologians call this original sin, I call it misery.
It will mean plunging through the layers of un-feeling and cracking the walls of existential distance between the words I am now writing and my calloused heart.
I have always wanted to be a part of a great story; we all have. That's why I love Tolkien, he wakes me up to a desire to be a little bit Aragorn, a little bit Gandalf, Frodo, Gimli, and Legolas. Oh yes, and a little bit Sam-wise. But I also must sit under Tolkiens rebuke to say to myself that the most of me that is in that story is in the "eye wreathed in flames."
I must see that I was a "child of wrath" that has been redeemed. I must find myself in that Great Story, that I am brothers and companions with Noah and Abraham, Samuel and Elijah, Isaiah and Daniel, Peter and Paul; but also with Tamar, Rahab, Manasseh, and Judah. I must learn that I too play second fiddle to the Master, for he alone is the true Virtuoso. That the ladder of heaven descends and ascends on my world, because my world is their world and my God is their God.
These are all thoughts I have on the heels of my departure. I invite you to go with me in spirit, to be my friends and family who have your ear attuned to the movement of God, and would pray on my behalf that God would make himself known, and that I would be known truly. As Augustine said in his Soliloquies "'I desire to know nothing more than God and the soul.' 'Nothing at all?' 'Nothing whatsoever.'" And that I would return to the life and story I find myself in prepared to "not love my life unto death." Solo Dei Gloria!