Monday, September 17, 2018
In the journey of a thousand steps that is our bathroom remodel, yesterday's step was to remove tile from the floor. Apparently our twenty-year old tile really preferred not to be removed...it protested and pleaded and was simply a pain coming up in a thousand tiny pieces. It also left most of the mortar still stuck to the ground.
Which meant we had to grind it away.
Which meant a cloud of heavy dust hung in the air after about thirty seconds.
Which meant that dust went everywhere.
On every surface...out the tiny crack beneath the door...and, of course, on us.
A million tiny particles of dust flowing and flying...swirling and stirring so much that you could not even see. Surrounded and swimming in that sea of dust.
On Ash Wednesday, usually when you have the dust of palms placed on your forehead, the pastor says, "From dust you come, to dust you shall return." Yesterday, I felt like I had returned to the dust.
This is about some morbid thought...although we do live in a death-denying culture...it is good to be honest about our mortality. St. Benedict would say, "Keep your death before you daily." I think he offered this suggestion not because he was being a Debbie Downer, but because that is honest. Parker Palmer has recently pointed out that it is when we introduce what we keep hidden to what we are used to sharing and showing, when we introduce our shadow side to what shines brightly through us, this is important work.
And it is extremely difficult work.
We keep the parts of ourselves hidden for a reason.
Sometimes it is an addiction.
Sometimes it is a grudge against a family member or co-worker who smile to his face, only to mutter under our breath or roll our eyes or talk behind her back.
Sometimes it is what we really think because we believe people will not like us if they really knew us.
There are lots of things we keep hidden.
To be clear, I am not saying you need to Facebook, Instagram or Tweet this information out for the whole world to see or hear...although some people do this.
I am saying, do this work internal or even better with a few trusted friends, people who you know and who embody unconditional love.
It is vulnerable work.
Letting those parts of our soul that have a thin layer of dust upon them, because we don't want to disturb or display and so they sit there month after month.
But the soul is patient and persist.
The soul longs for wholeness, which means we need to show not only what makes our spirits soar and sing, but also what is sour and stark. What I find, is the more I can hold both my beauty and brokenness...I find more than a trace of God's grace in both.
May that be so for you this week.
Grace and peace ~~