Okay, so I'm weak. I'm so online. And I didn't actually leave my house for quiet retreat. I mean, I LIVE in my bed, and the lack of the homicidal spring makes it so much more comforting. The room is painted cinnamon diamonds, which is a lovely way of saying PINK. I tried to trick Ken into thinking this place is cinnamon diamonds, but he's a visual artist, and was so on to me. I also tried to psych him out into thinking the comforter is brown and "blush." Are you seeing a theme here? So here I am in my cozy room, trying to meet with Jesus.
Mind you, Jesus doesn't go anywhere, and He talks to me all the time. And I wanted to be very holy and repentant but for the most part I spent yesterday being unfocused and tired. Reading bits of books and watching copious amounts of Law and Order. Law and Order seems to come on television ALL THE TIME.
I also checked email several times, and even answered a few. But I refused to do any work related to my career as a writer. When my disappointment with my lack of spirituality reached it's peak, I decided to just "holy loiter." Brennan Manning taught me that, and by the way, WILL SOMEBODY! ANYBODY! INTRODUCE ME TO BRENNAN! I love him. He's my hero and spiritual papa and it would just be a shame if I never got to have at least one phone conversation with him. Now, I know a lot of you lurkers who never comment know him. You've got his number. You may have had dinner with him a number of times. I just want to talk for maybe 20 minutes. And that's it. You can quietly slip it into my email at firstname.lastname@example.org. That is, after you've given him the heads up.
But I digress.
So, I spent my day just hanging around Jesus, watching Law and Order, and reading Hinds Feet and High Places, The Hidden Life, and Goodbye Jeanie. I had a few really delightful sneaky moments with Jesus reading Hinds Feet, and I'm grateful for the way He shows up and delights me. I've been trying to reach Betty Skinner (author of the Hidden Life, about her journey through depression) by phone for MONTHS and we kept missing each other. I think it was because I wasn't ready for our conversation, but sneaky Jesus, over the last few days, has been speaking one word consistently to me. Can you guess it? Go ahead and try...
Nope. That's not it.
No, beloved. Okay, some of you guessed it, but a lot of you missed it. The magic word was "suffering". I so didn't want that word. But it seemed to miraculously appear in every book I picked up. I tried to read Divine Revelations of Love by Julian of Norwich and it was going great until chapter three when she started in on embracing physical suffering.
Now, I suffer physically. I do NOT embrace it, even if it seems contrary to what you think you know of me.
And on just the day that I say, okay, maybe I'm blunting my growth with cocktails of medications, none of which are helping me feel significant relief from pain or depression. I'm on megadoses of stuff you wouldn't believe! Doses that boggle the mind. The doctors tell me I'm "treatment resistant." How fun.
I joked with a friend having a bad day that I wanted to have dinner with Jesus at a good French Restuarant. I'll have what He's having. Ha! But then I thought of it, and dang. With my luck when we dined that particular day He'd order a glass of water and a BIG CROSS. Really big.
I'll have what He's having.
Which brings me back to my resistance of embracing suffering. Mind you, God has sent dreams, messages to my friends to not worry about why He hasn't healed me. Books. And other "coinkydinks". And still I held on, even though I suffered the entire time. So finally, as Jesus and I watched the entire early morning line-up of largely occultic shows on TNT and reading as much as my tired head will hold, I read in Good Bye Jeanie a line that says something to the effect of, simply, "God is up to something good."
I've been thinking about my body, how I've neglected it for the land of my interior landscape, and while Jesus lovingly meets me there, He's let me know I'm completely unbalanced, and He has to draw me back, slowly, into the world and my body. So, I said yes, but I didn't feel strong. I was ready to go to sleep. I felt so sleepy, but I had left a message with Betty (again)last night that I'd call her today at 11:00 am. I decided to call her at 10, hoping she'd be around so I could rest after I talked to her.
That was a laugh. I think it was completely God's providence that she and I met when we did. The person who introduced us, who I am hoping will take the hint and now introduce me to you-know-who, is excellent at putting great people in my life. She's also great for conversation, especially if you are loquacious, and there is no one on earth I like to share a meal with more. Thank you, friend.
From the start Betty and I began as if we've known each other for a very long time, and needed a visit to catch up. She confirmed things Jesus had already told me. And I was happy, having been so interior, that someone outside of me could see it. Someone who I didn't "know" so to speak. And couldn't tell myself they said that because they're my friend. I told her that I felt like my body is a toxic waste dump with all my useless medications, and she says it is, and it's killing you.
She didn't mince words did she.
I'm an advocate for medication. But Jesus is saying something to me. I won't reveal whether or not I'm going to go off of them at this time because I don't want to effect anyone's decision, either way. I'm just sharing that Jesus wants to do something, and I'm willing to let Him. What it is is going to involve a cross of suffering. And nothing will spare me. Nothing has spared me as it is. I don't know what this journey will look like. Maybe it will kill me. I have never forgotten what my sister in Christ Dr. Carla said. "When Jesus calls me the first time, I want to go."
Woooo! That's spooky. God calling me to suffer? Spooky. Lately I've been thinking of how Jesus told the Laodecian church in Revelation to buy from him gold refined in the fire. I wondered why he said "buy" it. I think it's because gold will cost you. You have to suffer to get it. You have to die. Betty said you have the ego has to die, and it takes a long time. She's 81 years old. She knows from whence she speaks.
So I'm going where God Calls. I don't know how much I can tell you about, but I'm sure since this is a major part of my calling, He'll let me put some of it down for you. I always want your prayers. But right now, I'm going to pray a frightening prayer for you.
"Lord, watch over my friends. Show them how much you love them. Teach them that even if you ask them to suffer for You, they will reign with You in exchange. You are up to something good. Sweeten the hard times, and all their companions pain and suffering will bring with grace, and above all, help us to love one another. Deliver us from evil, within and without. Do your will. We will trust you. Help us. In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit."
And here's a bit of Jesus praying for you:
"I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world. Holy Father! Keep them safe by the power of your name, the name you gave me, so that they may be one, just as you and I are one." John 17:11
Now, I'm taking the important baby step of stepping out into the fresh air. Moving my limbs, stepping out of my inner world and Bell Brown's world, and back into life. Cross and all. Just baby steps, but it's a start.
Wish me well.