I have missed this blog. I have missed the reflection that has brought me here in the past and I have missed thinking about each one of you (my six followers;) as I write. Each time I thought about the blog, there were fewer and fewer reasons to stay away, and, as Wendell Barry once said, “not to give myself away.” And so, I am starting anew. We shall see where we go!
I have been reading a book called, “Through Julian’s Windows: Growing Into Wholeness with Julian of Norwich” by Elizabeth Ruth Obbard. It all started this summer, when everywhere I went and everyone I read or spoke to on spiritual matters was quoting Julian of Norwich. I even owned a ginormous book on her but had barely cracked it open. They say she was way before her time and had a theology that was so far beyond what she had been taught. She was the first woman to write in her own vernacular, for common people like herself, living in fourteenth century England. Many think she must have been a wife and mother before the Great Plague took her family, because she relates to God as mother, beautifully depicting the tender way that God parents us.
She oozes compassion and longing and I think that is what draws me to her. Theologians and seekers who have studied her have come away with an understanding of God’s gracious nature that is unparalleled. I don’t know about you but I could sure use that in my life. She writes:
“Our soul is so preciously loved by him who is highest that it is far beyond the comprehension of creatures. That is to say: no created being can fully know how much, how sweetly, and how tenderly our Creator loves us…our natural will is have God, and the good will of God is to have us.”
It is in our nature to seek Truth-God, to want to make meaning of our lives, to search for our true calling and it can’t be put on hold. If it is then we aren’t truly living. We are phoning it in. Over the last year since I last blogged, I confess, there have been many days when I have phoned it in. There have been many days when my body, mind and spirit were misaligned. Julian would have said to me on those days, “Just keep doing it!”
She writes: “Pray wholeheartedly, even though you do not feel like it, for it is a very profitable thing to do even if you don’t feel that way…even though you feel nothing, yes, even when you think you cannot do it. For in times of dryness and barrenness, in times of sickness and weakness, your prayer is most pleasing, even though you may find it rather tasteless.” She seems to say that simply placing yourself in the Presence of the Divine is enough. Remember, the good will of God to have us…
There were days for me with no words, no energy, no enthusiasm for God, or Truth or meaning or purpose. What remained was simple longing for it to be different. It was a great longing. But is was all I had. And so I offered it, just as it was. I didn’t know that was prayer. Thank you, Julian.