In order to make our life fully real and truly ours we need only to embrace its truths. When we truly accept all that we are, all that we have done, and all that has been our history and experience, then and only then can we be - to adopt the phrase of Florida Scott Maxwell - "fierce with reality." There is no substitute for this fierce engagement with reality when one seeks to live life fully. (quote from David Benner's book, Soulful Spirituality.)
For 35 years after I gave birth and released a baby to adoption I thought I could put it behind me and move on. In fact, much of the Christian talk I heard (and gave :0) was about God washing away our sins and hurts and moving us forward, clean and new. The old behind us is dead, we are new.
What is wrong with this is it takes the metaphor of soul cleansing too far, into an unhealthy realm, really. Because as we lop off the 'bad' or sad bits of our story, we lop of parts of ourselves. And in the end, we need those parts.
Rarely, a person would engage me in spiritual conversation that created space for my story of a lost child to bubble up, and a comment would be made: 'you need to find that person!' I would think, Why? What difference will it make? Just curiosity? I do not allow myself curiosity. It is not my right." I did not wonder, except rarely, usually on birthdays, and I did not see much benefit to a reunion. It would not change anything.
But a longing I didn't even recognize grew. We are hungry people, all of us - hungry for many things and rarely mindful enough to actually identify them. These hungers of mind and soul haunt us, until we find ourselves standing with the fridge door open, cold air sinking to our feet, saying, "Hmmm. What do I need?" And we pick out a piece of lemon meringue pie, or a beer. But the hunger remains. Unnamed. Wanting.
The experience of meeting Mark has been and is fierce with reality on so many levels. The spiritual healing is simply this - that I am brought back into wholeness. Not wholeness like no limping or wounds. Wholeness like all my parts together in one place. I discovered the experience of my unplanned pregnancy is not any more a 'sin' experience than any other experience of human life. It is marked by greatness and ordinariness, brokenness and blessing. And I came to find that God was with me, deeply accepting and loving me through it all, working to redeem and remove roadblocks for me and Mark. And that I NEED that time of lost-ness to be located consciously and vibrantly in my soul, to be well and whole. Wellness is not perfection. It is a fierce reality.
What has happened to, in, and by us is ours to transcend and integrate. The deep work of spirituality is to discard the many selves we are trying to re-invent, and become the self we are. Our true self is unique, but not a uniqueness we choose. (More on this later.)It is a uniqueness deep within that we disclose, with greater courage and love, as we grow in openness. And this is the easy load Jesus talks about. Being your own true self is the elegant art of simple, integrated living.