Friday, August 22, 2008

The Way

Somehow the books I've been reading this week all lead to the same path. Obviously I realized two of the books are related to exercise, but didn't plan on reading more about this topic. Methinks God is speaking...

Two more books I have come across, one I grabbed during a last minute dash before leaving Saturday, the other one B just finished. I devoured the first one The Way of the Heart by Henri Nouwen and have started devouring the other one The Way is Made By Walking by Paul Boers.

Nouwen uses the teachings of the Desert Fathers to cut the spiritual path set before us by focusing on solitude, silence, and prayer. He refers to solitude as "the furnace of transformation" (yikes, not the way I have been thinking about solitude); silence as a way to keep us as pilgrims so that we keep the inner fire of God tended; and prayer as standing in the presence of God with the mind in the heart.

Boers is writing about his experience while making a pilgrimage across the Camino de Santiago and speaks about Henri Nouwen as his spiritual father. He says God is a God of, there is so much that could be discussed just based on that simple 3 word phrase. He has this to say about a pilgrimage: Pilgrimage unites belief with action, thinking with doing and requires that the body and its actions express the desires and beliefs of the soul. Pilgrimage is about integration, body and soul, feet and faith. He points out that Jesus was not only the Way, but also that he was usually found on the way...even traveling to Bethlehem in Mary's womb and he continued that course. Much of his teaching was done on the road. He didn't spend too much time in one place. Following Jesus is a journey.

Yes, I've thought about a pilgrimage across the Camino. I have a renewed interest in the pilgrimage to Thomas Beckett's tomb along the way of Canterbury...I read this in 9th grade and was amazed by the thought of making a pilgrimage even then. (Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer) No, I don't think I am being called to drop everything and trek through other countries, but this has made me realize that there is something God is telling me about my walk with him, about my daily pilgrimage, about being on the move physically as part of my faith walk...about seeking him, sole to soul with my feet of faith.

I'll be the first to admit that looking back on my life I think one of the reasons I didn't struggle with depression at a younger age was because I was so active. Reading the book Spark has redirected my thinking to the unique and marvelous creations humans many ways God has made us to stay healthy in our minds and bodies. The minute connections of GABA, BFND, IFG, ANP, VEFG... and a host of others that keep our minds and spirits healthy...all stimulated guessed it...EXERCISE. So why am I not using God's way to have a healthy mind?

As I walk through this grief process of losing my dad I have faced many demons that I thought long since gone. This walk is one of the most difficult and I could easily write and write about. There seems to be something daily that makes me think of and miss my dad. There is not a day on this vacation even that something hasn't reminded me of him...tears in my eyes and heart with missing him. My emotions are absolutely raw...crazy candy seems to be having odd effects on my brain rather than helping. My reserve tanks are empty.

God has hardwired us in such a way that there is something I can do through His strength. My readings this week have helped me see my needs and options more clearly. I can continue willy nilly letting the waves of life toss me about or I can seek God's path to healing. I can walk this journey with His strength made perfect in my weakness. For me I think walking isn't so much a choice as it is a necessity.

I have so many thoughts rolling through my brain and I'm not sure if this came out just right. I have a lot to process. So, pray that I will be on my way...The Way that is.

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