‘out beyond ideas of right and wrong is a field’
will I meet you there?
About two weeks ago I saw the most incredible natural phenomenon. It’s called bioluminescence and it makes the ocean waves look neon blue at night because of a special type of algae and plankton. I went out one night after a friend told me she had seen it, and I just sat there on Sunset Cliffs and stared at the electric ocean for hours. The neon sparks of algae would zap through crashing waves like blue lightning. The Northern lights, but in Southern California and in the sea.
I sat there smiling so big as I saw this miracle happen. There is a certain joy in seeing something so holy and wild and untamed and unknown — (I researched bioluminescence a bit and even scientists say it’s unpredictable). The most divine electric dance of glittering blue pops, little explosions happening inside my heart too. The bioluminescence sending waves and shocks of love in me on a day when I felt numb and highly doubtful of myself.
I don’t deserve to be seeing this utter magnificence, my mind says. So my mind drifts to ‘easy’ things to think about, shallow things, like what to eat later, what to post on Instagram. Luckily my brain zaps me with neon blue force and says stop stop be here now be here now with this glorious natural show not many people in the world get to see. And I say yes yes help me to always think of good and important and true things. And help me re-learn to think that way. When my mind does wander, bring me back to the now. That is my prayer. It’s so wonderful just to be here now. To praise God with everything that breathes and doesn’t breathe and moves and doesn’t move. Everything created and loved into existence. Those waves and me. Bioluminescence and my very essence.
The ocean is a true companion. The thing is, this summer has been really good and I feel content, but I don’t feel like I’m doing anything truly significant, or at least doing what I should be doing for my career, future, etc. How am I benefitting my life in any way? Is that what it’s all about anyway? Why do I feel like I am not doing what I should or that I’m missing out on some big amazing opportunity? It’s a yucky feeling and I don’t like it. Sitting out on the cliffs is healing but I sometimes get a sense of anxiety and urgency. How can I be better? Am I being the best version of myself right now? Am I trying my hardest? Rest, rest is what I come back to … but how much rest is too much rest? I don’t know because I feel like I still need it but feel guilty about it. How do I take time for myself without getting lazy? I feel so overwhelmed by the weight of the world and feeling incapable of real action as terrible things happen to others. I know prayer is divine energy that transcends just me, but when I feel fake when praying? When what once inspired me now scares me? Is it a “sign” I should be doing something else or just an irrational fear? I don’t know yet.
I am confused. I want something but know not what. I feel like I’m stalling. What are you teaching me in this season God? How can I still these waters to listen to the very love that causes me to exist? It’s hard to trust the divine dream for my life—not an idealistic dream, but a real dream—a dream that I don’t know but that is fully known and already realized. Yes, I find peace in the fact that there are challenges I have yet to face, people I have yet to meet, life-altering conversations I’ve yet to have, places I have yet to go, things I have let to learn. This state of life is not forever. And in the grand scheme of things, life is so good and I am so blessed. The comparison game is just so hard not to play when we are raised in a society that survives because of comparison and competition.
Wondering where I will go in life and concern for my future is that thing that is always hanging over my head. And yet I find these pockets of gratitude and thankfulness for the here and now, like a sudden burst of feeling. A desire to love others and love God and love life with every ounce of me. Like Julian of Norwich said, love because God loved us into existence and that is where all love comes from. I am inadequate to speak these words. I watch a pocket of light from the setting sun pierce through the clouds onto the sea — the opposite of a black hole, life pouring out instead of getting sucked in. It is a life-changing, enabling reality, that Love loved me into existence. That love is the force greater than any force, which I’m learning manifests itself in phone calls with my mom, laughing with my friends, reading a poem that sends shivers up my spine, hearing hopeful news, smiling at a stranger, listening to a really good album in the car, asking for forgiveness and forgiving, donating hard-earned money to help hurting neighbors.
The Here and Now is the sanctuary of our lives. May all of the heres and nows be spent in hope and gratitude, even in the wilderness. I am uncertain but also have purpose, deep undying purpose. This is true only because of love that I am not the source of.
An evening of doubt, a lifetime of doubt. I don’t want to pray in order to receive some remedy of “feeling better.” I know it’s just a feeling and that those fade. I pray with the hope that I will tap into that divine energy and that it would work for REAL in my life and guide me into real and true action.
And in this season of waiting I remain present while little miracles weave their way into my days, like seeing bioluminescent waves or perfect rainbows in purple skies or swimming in the sea with my friends.
Every now and then we enter the presence of the numinous and deduce for an instant how we’re formed, in what detail the force that infuses every petal might specifically run through us, wishing only to lure us into our full potential. Usually, the closest we get is when we love, or when some beloved beams back, which can galvanize you like steel and make resilient what had heretofore only been soft flesh. It can start you singing as the lion pads over to you, its jaws hinging open, its hot breath on you. Even unto death.
–last line of Lit by Mary Karr
Finally got to go to Bro-Am this year with Hannah and Rose! What a gift to see Switchfoot play at the beach and we only cried a little (a lot). A very beautiful beautiful day :’)
Passage from The Long Loneliness by Dorothy Day that I like. “Heaven is a banquet and life is a banquet, too”
Side note: Doing a lot of re-thinking, re-learning with my thoughts toward my body. Been doing much better this year than I have been ever, and that’s something to be proud of. Not seeing my body as in a state of flux, constantly needing something to make her better. So that is where I’ve gotten better but obviously still need improvement– a prayer to pour love into my body and rest contentedly and gratefully in her, not allowing the abusive patriarchal views towards women’s bodies to pierce my soft tissue any more, (already had enough of that.) Yes my body has changed, and so has my mind, as I learn what it means to love God with my mind and in new, healthy ways, relearning that God loves bodies, that God became a body.
Got to see artwork by Sister Corita Kent, my new favorite artist, in LA when my mom came to visit<3
a place where questions are scattered like seeds – an atmosphere where answers for a season grow and blossom – Then another year of seasons – it is the school the garden our life is —Sister Corita