Saturday, September 18, 2010

Holiness Week

This past week at Asbury was 'holiness week.' The idea is simply to recapture the true and beautiful ideas of holiness and bring those concepts back to the forefront of our practice and thinking. Dr. Tennent was the speaker for the three main sessions and then we had meetings outside in a tent two nights consecutively. The tent was a touch of nostalgia and a naturally creative venue for us. I attended the Wednesday night meeting under the tent.

Lately two sources of learning have been playing together in my mind. From psychotherapy class I am learning about the brain and how it works - its malleability, and the role it plays in our states of mind. I have also been thinking about metacognition - this all sounds so big, but basically it is thinking about thinking. Instead of accepting our thoughts as the real and right interpretation of our experience, we can think about what it is we are thinking and why we have that response to experience. Also, my vanKaam human formation training is always a foundation on which to organize my learning.

So ... Wednesday night and all this formation stuff circulating through my thoughts. How do they connect? Something deep shifted in me Wednesday night. I did ask a friend to pray for me, and I am always grateful for prayer. But the shift was really a culmination of a long journey - maybe two years or maybe as long as ten. Many streams converged in me on Wednesday night. The experience wasn't emotional, really, nor was it mystical. Rather, suddenly I had a grasp of something more than words or ideas, but something profoundly alive and broad as the universe.

My 'tent moment' was another point of clarity in my process of being. Each moment builds on the last and yet stands alone in some way. All along the way I am being renewed. I can't say it is a process of being perfected. But I am quite sure it is a true process of becoming fully human and alive and really, quite happy.

Let me share a couple lines from a poem.

God lives down the corridor,
last door on the left.
At nine I bring the wine
pressed from the defiant grapes
of five and eighty years.
For bread, the mud cakes of my days,
carefully burnt in the sun.
The wheelchair cannot strut,
and the brag is gone,
but these gifts
I lay upon the altar
and see God bending over
my small mess
with infinite delight.

(Kilian McDonnell)

2 comments:

Krissi said...

I thought about going to the Wednesday night thing, but didn't want to walk home on the dark. So I sat at home and watched episodes of Weeds on my Netflix instead--significantly less spiritual of a night than you had and definitely not holy.

I really like this poem.

Gavin Duerson said...

(this is Karla by the way, not gavin). Just wanted to say thank you. Your recent posts brought tears of gratitude. You capture life with words so beautifully.