I remember about a year ago during one of my monthly sessions with Lance at Kingsmead, that we broached on the topic of relationships across seasons. Back then I was struggling with a transition between seasons.
I had just come off the back of a full year of spiritual highs and consolations. And no, my inner conversion and transformation wasn’t the result of a Conversion Experience Retreat (for all the well meaning intentions of certain church friends, I still believe we need to avoid boxing God up into limited ways He does his work).
It was a period where all I had to do was to show up and experience love. But I had reached a point where I felt I had hit a brick wall. Daily morning sessions in adoration started to feel more routine than intentional. The connection I felt at the beginning, was lost.
That was when I was first brought to awareness that our relationship with God, just like our relationships with everyone else, is ever evolving. We cannot go to old places and barge down old doors in the hope of seeking or regaining old connections that were lost.
Rather, we need to ask ourselves, “Which area of my life is it that you wish to bring my awareness to now? What is it that I am meant to receive this new season that’s different from before?”
Deep, meaningful, and stable relationships that last the test of time are always founded on this one principle of awareness. Awareness which then allows growth to take place at the time it needs to happen, and as a result of open and honest communication which allows deeper connections to be formed.
Too often we lose connection not because things have worsened by themselves or others have changed, but simply because we refuse to acknowledge our need to move with change, and to step out of our comfort zones of what we were used to.
And that’s the beauty of how God works in our lives. Events and situations that happen to us are merely indicators trying to bring our awareness to the change, nudging us along in a certain direction.
Guilt and fear
More recently, I have been brought to a greater awareness of the guilt I still carry within me and a deep fear that still exists. Guilt for the people I’ve hurt especially the one I loved the most. Fear that I will never ever be good enough because of what happened. And the lies in my head that remind me of those wounds, and tell me I don’t deserve love.
And this has seen me resort to all sorts of coping mechanisms to avoid facing my demons. To grieve my past that I have still yet to let go of, and to forgive myself for it.
For the longest time I have been arriving really early for work, not because I always had a lot of work to do (this was back then, right now I really am busy!), but simply because I didn’t want to feel alone and the office brought a certain sense of familiarity, even when no one was around.
Lance asked, “How do you feel when you arrive so early in office?”
“I feel safe,” I said.
“And who or what are you trying to be safe from?” was his reply. I didn’t have a ready answer back then.
Lance brought up a good metaphor on suffering derived from the first Buddhist dharma. That because deep down we are empty and lonely, we tend to cling onto things. Work, alcoholism, sex, pornography, gambling, unhealthy relationships, all sorts of addictions.
We cling long enough only until we realise none of this can satiate us. So we fill our days with activities and things, because productivity is an illusion. We believe that if we achieve more, we can forget our own insufficiencies.
But what a Paradox indeed. For it is only when we face up to our insufficiencies and our lack, that we inherit the kingdom and reach fullness.
Hence the beatitudes: Blessed are the poor in spirit, for they recognise and face up to the fact that they are poor.