My soul lies in ruins . . .

Narrow is the mansion of my soul; enlarge it, that You may enter in. It lies in ruins; repair it. ~~ St Augustine

st augustine of hippo

I’ve started reading The Confessions of St. Augustine, Books One to Ten, mainly because Ellen Vaughn in her book Time Peace quoted him several times and I was intrigued. The book is difficult to read as Augustine lived in 345 – 400 and even with translation the language is still stilted. But this isn’t a book review.

The point I’m getting to – however slowly – is that he had the same struggles with God as I do today. He spent many years involved in a whole lot of stuff that didn’t include God and for some of that time he was a part of the Manchaeism religion.

But eventually he found his way to God and I suspect he still had issues with being human and being spirit after as well – I haven’t gotten that far in the book. It is comforting to know that even though I feel crazy at times, at odds with spiritual purposes most of the time and occasionally bereft of God’s Loving presence, I am not alone and I am not the first person going through such struggles.

So I agree with old Augustine – Narrow is the home of my soul; enlarge and repair it God so You may dwell there and I would find peace.

seedlings of God

We were born to die and we die to live.
As seedlings of God we barely blossom on earth; we fully flower in heaven.
– Russell M. Nelson

I cannot separate death from God. God is Creator of all living things and where there is creation there is death. Death is not something we should be fearful of, even though I am, or rather of the process of dying. I won’t discuss this here, as I have already done so earlier. I have no new revelations to share so I will leave it as it is.

But once that last hurdle in this life is crossed, we can only hope to truly blossom in heaven – whatever the form heaven in our hearts means for us. Having ‘shed our mortal coil’ we are free to be our true selves and none of what was said and done to us here on earth will matter. We will have no choice but to bloom and blossom in the Presence of our Creator.

I do think it matters what we say and do to others, however. I don’t know what form judgment will take but for all things to continue to be in balance, as our Wonderful Creator is in Balance, there must be an accounting of our deeds and misdeeds. Whether or not there is a punishment as we understand it is not up to me nor anyone else to decide. That alone belongs to God. And to be at peace with that is another thing entirely.

So in order for me to fully bloom and blossom in my life after my life, I probably need to shed some of the chaff here rather than deal with it afterward. We may not carry material things into the afterlife but surely we carry our unclaimed baggage as it were.

Some folks believe in reincarnation, that we are reborn life after life all the while working out our issues and past misdeeds. I don’t know how I feel about that. I can see the wisdom in the doctrine but that would mean that there is a finite number of souls rambling around the ether and for me, it would mean God is finite rather than Infinite and Eternal.

I prefer to believe in an Infinite God rather than a finite one. I want my God to be bigger than me or I will ever be. I want Him to be so Vast and Expansive that no matter how good I am or will ever be, I will never attain His Perfection or Beauty.

For me, there is comfort in His Never-Ending Presence. You may call it naïve; I call it faith.

 

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an option for despair

Each soul was created by God,
and each has his or her own long history of searching for God.
-H.H. Sant Rajinder Singh Ji Maharaj

Too often in my own journey I become completely self-absorbed and forget that I am not the first to cry out to God and say “Why me?” or “Help me, O God, in my misery!” I forget that so many people have gone before me and while we each walk a separate path, we are all going in the same direction, with the same purpose and toward the same end.

That should offer comfort for me – to know I’m not the only one on this road. And in a sense it does. Yesterday I was reading through the various other blogs I follow and clicked on a link to another and then another and came across a blog post by a former cutter. She showed photos of her scars where she had methodically carved lines and words into her skin. Her scars were still fresh – by fresh I mean at least a year or so old – and I will admit it scared me. Before I read any further I exited her blog immediately.

The reason it scared me was it hit too close to home. Even though I have not cut myself in over 10 years, the idea of it has not gone away. The feeling, or rather the endorphin rush I received from it is not a distant memory. It is one of those things I have to guard against when I am circling the Abyss on dark days, something that would not take too much nudging from my hurt-self to do again.

But now, a day or so later, thinking about that young woman’s blog, I admire how brave she was to share her scars. How brave she is to say this is who I am, take it or leave it, but I am me and I have scars. I went down that path before she did and yet somehow, I think she is further along it than I.

Now I know better than to compare my journey with another person’s because I am as a unique individual as she is or as anyone else is. I don’t think that is what I am doing. I think that when I say this young woman is further along than I, I mean healing and acceptance-wise. She was willing to share her scars. I am not. Mine have mostly faded and in order to see them I must look closely and in the right light – but they are there, methodically carved lines in my skin.

I am ashamed of them. I am ashamed of that time in my life that I would do such a thing to my body. I am ashamed I have not let it go as an option for despair.

I don’t know what else to say except for but for the Grace of God I would have scars that were fresh and not ten years old. And through His Grace I will learn not to be ashamed of them or who I am.

 

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