Last week I went to my spiritual director and she asked me to choose one of the times that we had been discussing. I talk with her about all sorts of events that have occurred in the past month. I talk about troubles with family as well as good times when I took time to take care of myself. She asked me to pick one time and “see” Jesus there with me.
This is still a foreign concept to me. I wasn’t raised with the idea of Jesus being right here with me, or being “crazy” about me, as my spiritual director insists that he is. But I’m playing along, and it seems to be helping. I often feel like I’m doing it wrong, but she seems to think differently.
I chose a time when I was sitting up in my “star stones” area, where I go to talk to God at the top of the back of my yard. It was one of the times where I did it not because I was mad but because I wanted to just visit. I’m trying to get in the habit of inviting God into each moment, not just the hard ones. I’m trying to be mindful of God’s presence all the time.
I visualized Jesus sitting right next to me on my right. She asked me what direction he was looking. I said he was looking forward, in the same direction I was looking. She asked me if he was saying anything to me. I said he wasn’t saying anything, but it was as if I could feel colors from him. She had me describe the colors.
This is the best picture I can provide to illustrate. I’d taken it the week before, on an especially “God” kind of walk.
It isn’t about the color, or what is in the picture, it is about what it makes me feel. These colors make me feel safe. They are calm and earthy and soothing.
She asked me to stay with that feeling and to think about it.
I started to cry. Nobody has ever made me feel like that. Nobody has ever made me feel that safe or loved or wanted. Nobody has ever just wanted to be with me and not wanted something from me. I feel like I’m constantly on my guard with people. I keep waiting for them to let me down or beat me up. With guys I’m always something to try to have sex with. I’m an object, not a person.
It was refreshing to feel that oasis of calm, where I’m not wanted for what I can give, but who I am. Everything that I am, my beauty and my bruises, my wisdom and my weakness, is loved and cherished and celebrated. Everything.
Later I started thinking that this isn’t fair, this feeling. This perfect feeling of peace just can’t be matched. Nobody else will ever live up to it. I’m going to get hurt. My feelings are going to be ignored and overlooked. I’m going to be treated like a thing, an object. Nobody is going to measure up to this feeling I get from Jesus. Why go to the effort of knowing Jesus more closely, when it is so beautiful? It is so fragile and strong at the same time. It is so heartbreakingly kind. Nothing compares. Nothing.
It reminds me of when I stopped smoking pot. Everything started to seem vanilla in comparison. Life was dull. Movies were boring and predicable. Food was tasteless. Friends were annoying. Family was impossible. I remembered why I started smoking in the first place. It added seasoning to my life and smoothed off the rough bits. Pot was the rainbow, real life was the black and white. Who wants three channels on the TV when you can have 187? Real life doesn’t compare well to altered life.
Jesus is always present and real and holy and pure and safe. He’s never thoughtless. Never pushy. Never aggressive, needy, groping. He always knows what I need. Nobody is ever going to measure up to that. So why even go there. It hurts.
And then I got a feeling back. I knew the answer in that moment.
Because He heals the brokenness.
He fills in the cracks.
Jesus makes up the difference in their lack.
Jesus is like this –
He pays the bar tab. He orders the cab. He holds your hair when you have had too much to drink and you have to barf. He wipes your face afterwards with a warm wet washcloth.
Jesus is in the face of all kindness
and is in all kinds of people
you’d never expect.
Focus on the light, not the cracks.