Friday, January 12, 2018
Random Thought 3
Recently, my son and I went to see the new Star Wars movie. I will totally try not to spoil anything about the movie. I think most know that Rey, the heroine of the movie, goes to study the way of the force with Luke Skywalker. There is one exchange between them that I found so profound. It went like this:
Luke Skywalker: Breathe. Just breathe. Now reach out. What do you see?
Rey: Light. Darkness. A balance.
Luke Skywalker: It's so much bigger.
The insight and idea that light and darkness are not opposites, but in balance, is really at the heart of all religious thinking. Too often, religious language wants to say that some stuff/behavior/beliefs are good and other stuff/behavior/beliefs are bad. But such either/or thinking truly needs to stop. Not only is it unhelpful, it is hurtful to much of God's good/amazing creation. There is darkness in this world. Sometimes that is scary and other times sacred. Almost every mystic at some point (regardless of which teacher s/he was following) has an experience of the "dark night of the soul." You cannot go around it. You cannot fast forward or buy your way through it. You have go into the wild, wilderness wandering at night. You have to stumble and fall.
It can happen when you get a pink slip unexpectedly.
Or grief pays an unwelcomed visit.
Or a relationship abruptly ends.
Or pain just sits in your soul for some other reason.
So often, we forget in those moments to breathe. Just breathe. We also lose our ability to see quickly. The narrowness of the moment puts blinders on our eyes. All we can see is the loss or feeling left out. We don't notice those who are reaching out, because we might be pushing them away or our pride might be preventing us for asking for help. The root of the word, "anxious" is the sames as narrowness. It is when we feel stuck between that rock and a hard place. When all paths seem blocked.
That happened in Scripture as the Israelites were exiting Egypt. Suddenly their forward process halted by a big old Red Sea. Some threw up their hands in frustration. (Sounds familiar). Some wanted to give up. (Yup, been there too). Some said, "Thanks a lot God" because we love to deflect our pain to others. Then, a new way opened up when the sea parted. I wonder how many times I have been too busy mumbling or grumbling about the darkness or brokenness that I missed the parted seas in my life? Because I didn't just breathe and be open to God who continually is creating anew and afresh. And remember, even when the people of God got to the other side...they still had to wander in the wilderness for forty years...it wasn't all promised land next left as their feet stepped onto dry land.
It is so much bigger than this. But for now, can you let these random lines of dialogue sing to your hearts? Can you enter into the mystery they point toward and proclaim?
May the traces of God's grace offer you moments to breathe and be on this day.