MUSINGS OF A PASTOR AT 51:
NO LONGER ASHAMED OF WHO I AM
Today is my 51st birthday!
I am no longer ashamed of who I am.
My only begotten son, Joshua and I have traveled to the mountains. We are sitting outside by a fireplace. It is a glorious morning of sunshine, a slight cool breeze, the remnants of the leftover effects of a huge snowstorm a couple of days ago, matched with the stillness that comes from the aftereffects of such a storm and the increased humidity in the air we rarely experience in our higher altitude environment.
Job tells us God determines the weight of the wind and the wind is weightier today with a thicker condensation couple with the almost cloudless sky reminds me of my life, calling, relationships, and endeavors captured in each memory brought back to me by the varying currents of breeze reminding me of the rich blessings bestowed to me by my Creator in this place (Colorado) the last almost 26 years.
It unhurries me and slows my mind, my will, my efforts, my determination. It stills me and then the breeze moves me back to a time before now.
It makes all the “thens” catch up to the now.
It makes all the unconnected dots align and forms a mosaic that even though doesn’t make full “sense” it still settles my emotions in a sensible way and turns off the alarming and glaring discrepancies of the stories of my life.
I am then drawn to the sensible peace like a frozen creature drawn to the warmth of a flame. The darkness is still very dark but the sensible peace like a flame heats my cold extremities and loosens my grip and need to sort, solve, and make sense of the darkness. I am content to be drawn to the flame and release my need to discern everything around me.
I am given a new Spirit that frees me from slavery that leads back to fear, and I am captivated by a tranquility that comes from the adoption the flames bring me from the cold.
I am warmed by that which I didn’t create and loosened from the haunting grip of needing to control what I don’t understand about my past experiences. Instead of being afraid of the darkness of my life, I sit next to the flame, feel it’s warm and engage the community that results from me, and others being drawn to that same flame. That flame is the work of the Holy Spirit shed abroad in my heart and soul.
It creates a newness, a warmth, a communal environment that brings peace, joy, and contentment.
A willingness to sit, laugh, listen, and feel the warm of the Spirit through the Spirit’s manifesting itself in me and in others drawn to the same flame. I am grateful for the peace I feel TODAY.
No, I am not fully at rest.
I have my angst, tension, and fatigue. Yet, I feel the gravitational pull together with the Spirit drawing me closer to the warmth of the flame. I am still confused by my life but no longer ashamed of it and what it has become.
I don’t understand the weirdness of me, but the closer I get to the warmth of the Spirit, the less I care why God made me the way He did and more thankful He knows me and has a Divine unaltered reason He created me.
I more readily accept the darkness of my life the more I am drawn to the warmth of the flame I experience from the Spirit. I can’t lie. I don’t get fully why my life calling, placement, and results are what they are, but I care less with each passing day.
I have now lived 51 years, that’s about 18,500 days. I don’t know how many days, weeks, months, or years I have left. I can’t visualize my death or being dead. Maybe I never will. I began reading, shall I say, rereading a book by Henri Nouwen, it records the last year of his life. It is called, “Sabbatical Journey.” Page 23 speaks to me deeply regarding how I feel about my prophetic gifts and experiences…
That’s the loneliness of the mystic. Having seen and experienced what cannot be expressed in words and still must be communicated. It is a grace, it allows me to see a vision, and it is a call to let others know what I have seen; it is a long loneliness and an inexpressible joy.
I feel all that deeply. And I am encouraged it came to me from page 23 of the book, Sabbatical Journey. Nouwen is my favorite writer. He goes places theologically I can’t go, yet I admire and appreciate the clarity he brings to me through allowing himself to express his life openly to others through the written word.
I don’t see my life getting less dark with age, I just better know how to draw near the warmth that comes from the flames of the Spirit that lives inside me. Thank you, Jesus! 51 is warmer than 21, the year I lost my mom.
Now my son is 20 years and 3 days living now his 21st year.
May his life get warmer with age.
May your life get warmer too with age.
It is the warmth of the Spirit that removes the shame of our lives.