Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Letting Go Series, #2: The Gifts of the Spirit

Number 2 in a series. A colleague looked me straight in the eye and spoke with great conviction: Let it go, Victoria. Let it go. I have decided to take him at his word, and reflect on issues with which I struggle to let go. 
My experience of Quakerism, in the 16 years that I have attended meeting, lived in and out of Quaker community, studied, worshipped, and struggled, has taught me that gifts of the Spirit are many. When I am able to really see people acting in their power, in their complex faiths, I see such a diversity of gifts expressed, arrayed like so many stars against our sacred sky. It can be humbling, exhilarating, and joy filled. 

But what happens when these gifts don't have a home? As I continue to grow in my understanding of myself as a minister, a poet, a farmer, a parent, I realize that there needs to be a home big enough for these parts of me to thrive. Thrive by way of challenge, by way of acceptance. Thrive because these gifts are not a joke. They are hard won. 

They are part of my own personal revolution. 

I feel stalled, just now. I feel like the space to grow into these gifts is clamped down. The way is shut, as opposed to open. Sometimes I am brought under by a sense of not being seen for these gifts. Sometimes my ego is so blasted because no one is walking up to me, saying, Hello, minister! Hello, poet! I see you for who you can be, I see your gifts and say, yes!

This is really not how the Spirit works, surely. This is just some adolescent fantasy-- like being singled out on the dance floor to dance with the cutest, most popular person in the school. This preoccupation with recognition is my biggest limitation, maybe. It makes it hard to listen.

Is this my problem? Am I not being attentive enough, still enough? Have I outrun my leading? I am wracked with insecurity, when doors shut and I feel stuck. I want to run from the discomfort, the hurt of not feeling at home. I want to rail at God(ess). I want to name myself ruler of my own fate. I want to embrace the arrogance that so often leads to worldly recognition and spiritual lack. I second guess my feelings, I second guess God(ess), I twist and turn on my own pin. I try to dissect myself out of the truth that is staring me in the face. The voice that is beckoning me. That has been speaking to me for as long as I have had ears to hear. 

I used to think this was Jesus' voice, when I was a young person. And then it was the voice of an imagined parent. Now I hear this voice as a marriage of my own internal compass and the worldwork energy of the earth. God(ess) in the machine. Life in the moment. Metta listening. Pulse of the earth. Spirit in motion. 

And what is She saying to me now? I am still trying to listen. Sometimes I hear a faint voice, chanting, Follow, follow.  But mostly I hear the struggle for self within me, the recrimination, the powerful witness. Mostly I know that I must let go of the desire to be seen and valued for these gifts. For spiritual gifts do not lead to ego-stroking and popularity, they lead to wholeness, to sweetness, to the great unknown and the power of will that is required of us in order to let go into a will that is not solely our own.

I pray for the strength to listen, the humility to let go of my attachment to external recognition, and the power of will required of me to follow faithfully, in time. 

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