Wednesday, May 21, 2008

A Forest of Confusion

I had dinner with someone last night who asked me what I was doing and I stuttered and presented a tangled mess of things and ideas. Our conversation continued and I was able to be clearer about the past and present. Coming home on the train, I thought about the several kinds of places I find the most peaceful. They happen to tangled and twisted places.

When I was a child we have a favorite hide out in the dunes on the beach. The bushes and brambles had grown up so that we had a natural club house. The sun was filtered, the noise (and our parents calling us) was muted, and we could talk and laugh and dream to our hearts' content.

This picture is from a dense, low forest in Ireland on the grounds of Lady Gregory's estate. I was immediately quieted there, and immediately wanted to whisper and sit quietly as I did as a child. I like thickets and enclosed spaces that have twists and turns and which let in light. I think that was what I was trying to describe last night. Life in the ticket, which is not terribly clear to anyone on the outside but which is lively and creative, hidden in plain sight.

I believe God's work is often like the thicket. Activity hidden in plain sight. God's work is rarely a star showboating or winning athlete, but is a quiet, creative labor, a labor of drawing in, gently repairing, gently listening, gently healing until time comes full circle and it is time to move on. I often wish for more dramatic moments of God's activity when I am feeling frustrated. And dramatic moments have surely happened in my life. But the daily activity, the reconciling and healing seem to go on quietly, gently and in good time.

May today be a day seeing into the ticket. Seeing into the twisted, obscured placed, realizing God is working there. God is working hidden in plain sight for no less than the reconciliation of the whole world. May I have courage to believe in what I cannot see of feel, knowing God is most active in the still of the night, in the whispers on the wind, in the thicket and brambles of our lives.

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