Shooting stars

Well friends, I’m in that book vortex. Eat, sleep, drink, breathe… words. Oh my. 

Just five more days till I hop across the pond. I’m working as hard as I can so that in England I can guiltlessly cast off any writing for a week of long walks, train rides, big cups of tea, and literary rambling.

In the middle of it all, I’ve been trying to figure out what in the world it means to keep a quiet center in my heart. I feel so much pressure from waking until the relief of sleep that sometimes my driven soul is hard pressed to be still enough to know, mindfully know as the psalmist says, that God is really God.

I’ve been reading Evelyn Underhill’s Mysticism again, so it’s got me thinking. I go in phases with that tome; on again, off again. The aura surrounding the lives of the mystics is a siren call to my soul, and a repellant all at once. I want to be of their number, striving after that other, realer reality, breathing God’s life as freely as air. Since I was eight or nine when I first felt a “knowing”, a sense of God’s reality in the smack middle of a sun-struck Texas field, I guess I have been chasing that sense of His nearness to me. 

And yet, I have to run away from thinking about it all sometimes – because it is so impossible and I am so frail and how can gobbling up reports of other’s successes assuage my own ache?

But here I am again, eating up the words and stories and inarticulate ecstasies of people who knew, really knew God. I think to stop wanting to join them would be throwing in a spiritual towel. Being hungry reminds me I’m alive.

Driving home from the gym today, I was thinking of all this, and looked up to see these violet, pearl-lined clouds swaying over the mountains, and that first rippled hint of burning color on my Mt. Herman. I sighed, a regretful, companionable sort of sigh and felt close to God, in a wistful way. I wished I had the capacity to wonder and revel as much as all that music of color and cloud deserved. My capacity for awe is so small, the span of my attention the size of a baby’s fist. I have this sense sometimes when looking at a God-breathed storm or a glamorous sunset that my very senses reach a limit of reception. Though color and sound and sixth sense whispers abound, I can only catch them as I would the fleeting leap of a shooting star – as echo, zapped reflection in my brain, too quick and much for me to grasp.

I want simply to be stretched; to be able, to be skilled in seeing, listening, knowing in a still sort of way. It’s hard these days, it’s hard all days. But this want and this striving teach me to keep on trying. And somehow, that keeps my heart alive.

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “Shooting stars

  1. I spot shooting stars and exclaim loudly with glee while those around me often wonder what I am crowing about. When I read your words I know of what you speak, but also know that we are not in the majority of those trudging down the path of this life. You are blessed to be raised in a family that values the shooting-star sighter, sadly I was not. (“A bit queer, that one is,” I remember overhearing at a family gathering.*sigh*)

    I will warn you that this zest and thirst will probably stay with you all the days of your life and quite possibly grow in intensity — at least it has for me. BUT WHAT A MARVELOUS WAY TO LIVE! God planted something unique in every heart, as is His way with everyone. Celebrate and pursue those shooting stars which produce words that ricochet from our pen to the ears of some and the heart of God. Dance in the blessed light of the shooting star and yearn for it’s return (or its twin) when the glow dims.

    Five more days and the tune will change, but the dancer and her glee will never change.

    ~~Prayers for you every day~~
    Debbie

  2. Amy

    Hi Sarah- your sentiments are exactly what I feel and cannot put in to words, the yearning in this land of our sojourn. Thank you for sharing your thoughts- I am trying to live in the present moment, with a quiet center, but the needs and responsibilities press. I think if I could sit and think alone in the woods or at the lake in silence I would find Him. As a homeschool mom of 7 I do not get to do much sitting! I know that He is in the everyday , and all is grace. I am reading a simple little book “Interior Freedom”, by Jacques Philippe, it is helping me to think about living in the present in peace. . I so appreciate you and reading your thoughts, enjoy England (we lived in London one wet cold winter and we loved England) I will be praying for you. Also you may remember you sent me a list of books to read with my daughter- we are enjoying them. Also I was introduced to “The Hawk and the Dove ” and Wendell Berry through you, I love Wendell Berry! Grace and Peace to you and your family.
    Amy

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