The Invitation

(note–once again I tried to write about something else deep and meaningful and then found myself writing about the spiritual life as an organizationally challenged and deeply feeling woman who longs for God and space but mostly just wants certainty and a housekeeper…..I’ve had a number of conversations lately that are about this.   Boring to some probably….ah well, write what you know, right?  And I hope that even if you’re not in this stage of life, there might be some correlation–we all have a bit of chaos in our souls I think )

If there is anything I could say to all the women in my life right now, it is this: The longing you feel deep in your heart is from God. The longing you have is God’s way of growing us, of calling us onwards. It is the force that keeps the world moving. The longing for home….the longing for companionship….the longing for security…..the longing for meaningful work…..the longing for adventure….the longing for validation….the longing for renewal….the longing for beauty….the longing for remembering who you are……the longing for that inexplicable sense of presence you had when you were 6 and laying on the ground, looking up at the snow falling from the sky.

The longing doesn’t go away when we are busy or quiet, successful or in despair. It is there….that longing for that presence that re-calls you, re-covers you, re-esteems you to life, to yourself, to your deep heart.

I don’t know if its because I started my adult life as a classical musician (for whom there is never, EVER a ‘good enough’ spot in which rest) or if its just a personality quirk of being , what I call, a Type A-ish—that I need to do everything right but I am so sensitive and internal and analyzing that I mostly just collapse on the floor from mental exhaustion thus further hindering my need to get stuff done and done right. But my go-to place when I am feeling the call of that longing but not feeling that I can actually know it, is to berate myself for not doing more, being more, praying more, having more discipline in order to get to that place of presence.

But what if….what if I just stopped, and asked Jesus to come into the chaos of all the responsibilities. What if I stopped in my tracks, in my 1979 kitchen, with the crayons and school forms and unfinished resumes and computer cords and oatmeal clumps hanging from the walls and unanswered emails and unpaid bills and the vegetable for dinner half chopped and the full toddler potty and oozy cucumber in the fridge and the deep, deep need to have a home and a vocation and people to love …..and I just…..said, “Jesus, could you come into this with me?”

And in our impossible situations of need, of broken heartedness, of confusion, that overlay that daily, literal s%&-storm, could I invite Jesus—the cosmic Christ who connects the whole world, and the strange Jesus who valued unknowable people—could I invite that Presence into the fray. Right there—not to fix it, but to stand beside me in it.  What would it do to me if I stopped trying to figure out how to make it work in the best, most Godly way, and just asked Jesus to be there.  What if you just asked Jesus to come into it with you?

“Can you come over right now? I just need someone to be here while I finish dinner. Oh and if you have time, could you just take a look inside my messy, tangled yarn heart and see what my next steps should be? The longing is strong but I am truly at a loss as to how to feed it right now. But mostly,…..oh actually, quick, can you just help me clean up the sandbox toys off the stairs? Someone is going to break their neck. Thanks.“

I’ve had a mantra for the last almost 20 years….and its been that All Spirituality is Letting Go. Its stepping back from my own need to control and letting that longing built deep into me speak to the MORE that is out there. And in the last few years, and this is thanks to my wise and wild mom, I’ve added to the mantra—Stop and Listen for the Invitations. Invitations towards God and invitations from God.   Stepping back from an open door to let Him in, and walking through the open door He is holding open.

This is prayer at its essence.  Surrender, expression, reality, longing, waiting.   And presence.

“Of Course, I’ll be right there.  and, OMG, I have this new wine we tried–its SO good.  I’ll bring the glasses.  And we’ll turn on the sprinkler and let the kids play outside and then I’ll open your heart and stay there.  You won’t be alone.  Tell me what you really want and I’ll tell you what I was thinking we could do for the rest of the day….”

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