Brave Illusions

Winter, summer, drought, floods, sunshine, darkness, happiness, grief. Changing seasons.


Changing emotions. 

Days where we don’t feel quite so able to be real or authentic. Days that lack motivation and creativity. Days that lack the tangible presence of God when the heart needs to be wrapped in theophany. Days we simply don’t feel brave enough to face the endless toil needed to move us forward into the dreams and visions that propel us.

Days I wonder if I will ever desire to be authentic again, and brave enough to share it.

Seasons of disappointment. Seasons of accomplishment.

Will I feel inspired again? Will I be able to continue to co-author my story with God’s in a way that will bring him glory, and quite possibly help someone else? Is the call real?

Days we are afraid with genuine love comes genuine heartache. 

I’ve had those days recently. Today is one of them. The ups and downs of loss and gain exacerbated by the dreary New England winter days. I long for warmth. I long for sunshine.

I’m not feeling very brave.

Days run into weeks and I don’t write. The feelings are there. The thoughts are there. They are scattered. Not creative or well put together. A bit dark and cloudy like the sky. 

Emotions make us vulnerable (saying us instead of me makes me feel less vulnerable). Emotions show I am breathing, living, moving, loving. They open up the heart to a place that invites others to walk in. And walk on.

They open the heart to compassion. 

They open the heart to community. They open the heart to God. We can’t do this walk of life without others.

The very same others that overwhelm my introverted soul and make me want to hide out and watch re-runs of I Dream of Jeanie, or read books written by the very same others who have met my God in the dreary places too. 

The others that wear the face of God even when I’m not expecting to find Him there.

My theophany comes in the face of a sad child, an old woman in the vegetable aisle who sadly smiles from a well worn countenance. The Vietnam vet who loves God in the struggles of his addiction. The pastor who exposes his weary soul week after week with hungry nay-sayers.

I cling tightly to the words of Brennan Manning, one of my favorite others, “Define yourself radically as one beloved by God. This is the true self. Every other identity is illusion.”

I refuse to live an illusion in a world that is needing to be defined by the radical love of God.

This is my theophany. This is my Holy Spirit presence. It’s not always the happy, clappy, charismata of my youth and tradition, but the quiet peace of remaining true to myself as radically beloved by God. It’s a liturgy of love. 

Radically beloved by God. 

This is what I know. This is my reality.

So I blog the scattered thoughts of what I know. I will be brave. I will trust in the creativity of God when my own is lacking. I will hope his voice comes through when mine doesn’t. His voice continues to cry in the wilderness of souls “prepare the way of the Lord.”

Darkness is only an illusion. 

“The woods are lovely, dark and deep. But I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep.”   Robert Frost

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