Gardening slows my mind as my hands work, allowing for random thoughts to surface; some profound, most not very. I think it must be the touching of the earth that energizes these thoughts and brings them into focus. But perhaps it is just the time apart that draws me deeper into a pondering space.
One of the exciting aspects of writing is the process of discovery also known as revision. An idea or image comes to mind, and we sit down to describe it because we want to remember it or share with others. Yet, it often happens that as we write, what seemed so clear and evident at first seems to fade. Or we suddenly find numerous threads of ideas with no pattern. When that happens, just keep writing until you come to whatever feels like the end. At this point you are ready to embrace the process of revision – the nearly magical process of discovery. Like a sculptor standing before a block of marble, you chip away at the mass of words on the paper or screen.
Sayers reminds us that the people who surrounded Jesus in the Gospels were real people who had their own lives and concerns. They encountered Him within a specific time and specific cultural pressures. They made choices about Him with the little information they had – unlike us, who know the end of the story. Caiaphas and Pilate did not condemn Jesus to death so they could fulfill prophecy, but as an expedient way to protect their own interests in unstable times.
I wondered how to do it differently this year, How could I move through the holidays with gratitude rather than resentment, with a sense of peace even in the midst of activity? After all, Jesus was born into the very messiness of human life, not into a place where all was neatly prepared and ready. I longed to carry the Christ child in my heart this Advent season, but there was simply no room in the Inn. And so, that first evening, as we all sat in prayer, I asked God for the gift of peace. I prayed that, in the space between gently released thoughts, the veil might be lifted from my eyes and Christ enter in. . . .
By the mid-point of the School of Lectio I wrote this in my journal, “I have fallen in love with Scripture as prayer!” It was as if God and I were rekindling an old friendship on a long weekend retreat together. I was learning anew what it might look like to trust God enough to live a life completely surrendered to God.
This reflection kicks off a three-part exploration of the unknown in our inner worlds, sometimes called the shadow. Part 1 takes up the question “What Is Shadow?” while parts 2 and 3 follow the questions “What Do We Do with Shadow?” and “What Is the Gift of Shadow?”