As I skimmed my sidebar this morning, three links (and I went looking for a fourth) caught my attention.
The title of today's Abbey of the Arts post is The Curves of My Longing. The topic does not, of course, concern the curves of my longing. I am now in possession of two recent incision scars that follow the contours of my body's curves, and my immediate longing is for the pain to subside. My longer-term wish, the desire of which I am reminded by the heavy tenderness accompanying my every movement, is that I not have to continue the journey represented by those scars. That wish has not been granted, and so I wonder: With what do I replace it?
"What does my faith give me? It gives me a love story. Not a story that explains love, but a story that gives birth to—and directs my heart, mind, and very being to—the fullest expression and fulfillment of love."
and then responds:
"Am I, because of my faith, better at love than those with no faith? Difficult to say, but I’m going to guess the answer is “No.” Am I, because of my faith, better at love than I would be without my faith? Also difficult to say. I hope the answer is “Yes,” but then I cannot answer with certainty. At the end of the day, I walk in darkness like everyone else, and I hope that this sacred story, the story of my life, and the stories all around me in what I see and hear are all one in the same, even while they are many and different."
And I wonder the same thing: Am I better at love because of my faith? Probably not. (Just ask anyone who lives with me.) Perhaps I am merely better at longing to be better at love.
Some years ago as I was walking along the Little Lakes, I stopped to watch a pair of young green herons learning to balance in the small trees overhanging Lower Lake. They were quite comical, with both their pin feathers and their legs sticking out in all directions.
This morning, the following image, of a graceful adult green heron, appears in Picturing God:
My comment was that it's inspiring to see what can be appropriated with a season of practice.
What do you want? That's the perennial question posed by Ignatian spirituality, inhabiting every crevice of life with its assertion that God speaks to us through our desires. I recall my astonishment at the insistence with which my spiritual director posed that question as we made our way through the Spiritual Exercises, as if what I wanted was of some import ~ not just to me, but to God. What do you want what do you want what do you want?
What is the curve of your longing? What does your faith give you? Are you better at love because you have been drawn into the most all-encompassing narrative of love? Have you been transformed from the awkward beginner struggling to maintain her balance on the slim branch in the wind to the seasoned, grace-filled adult who knows that just below the surface of the water lie nourishment and life?
The verses of John 4:13-14 constitute the theme for my ordination service. The words have been speaking to me since somewhere deep in Week 2 of the Exercises, and today they seem more appropriate than ever, resonating through literal scars and green herons and the narrative of all of our lives.