Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Day 43

To go into the closet is a lonely activity. There is usually just enough space for one person. You are bound to hear your own breathing, feel the itchiness of your own skin, hear the sounds your stomach makes when all is quiet and still, face yourself, confront your demons and end up with nothing but the emptiness of the God-shaped gap inside your soul.

Most of the time we do our best to avoid situations like this.

Cause loneliness is never nice.

That’s why the radio is on the whole day; the TV entertains even when no one’s around and our lives are filled to the brim with appointments, meetings, tasks, images, ideas, sounds, voices and words.

But deep, honest, life changing prayer needs silence.

To pray is to be utterly quiet and to do that we need to move from our fear of being lonely towards a state of being where we can embrace our lonely selves.

The word is solitude.

The Old Monks understood this; the Ancient Desert Fathers lived it and the Old Prophets like John and Jesus perfected it into an art form.

In the stories told by the friends of Jesus, we encounter a man who’s not afraid of being lonely.

Before or after every big event or task, he retreats into the wilderness. One time he even stayed there for 40 days, confronted by his Shadow, challenged by his Temptations, weakened by his Humanness and in the end cared for by the Angels of the Living One.

In the closet you learn to reserve the God-shaped gap for God, even if it stays empty for a long time. It’s that place in your life where solitude takes the place of loneliness, a sacred space where
Fear can grow into Love.

According to a priest called Henry Nouwen, a storyteller called Matthew and a Prophet called Jesus, this is the first baby step towards a life of prayer:

Learning to love yourself.

So here is the challenge:

Find your closet. Go there often. Become utterly quite. Don’t talk. Don’t pray. Just listen.


Sparky said...

My biggest challenge when I go to my closet is to quiet the never-ending rebellious rambling of my mind.

pierre said...

Hi all. We were away for the long weekend. 4 Days Kruger Park. We were blessed with nature. I've missed the blog and the comments. I couldn't choose a closer place to meet God than in the Park. It was awesome.All the babies...from Elephant, Rhino and Hyena! For me that was the perfect place to tie up with Him again. God is GR8!

Fourie Rossouw said...

Welcome back brother! Kruger sounds awesome!

AlexSteyn said...

When I was young I heard One of the most profound sermons about meditation, being quiet, praying. A lot was said, but to this day, this mantra that Ds Nelus 'taught' us: "Wees stil en weet Ek is die Heer" stuck with me. Sometimes when things are too quiet, or my mind is too busy to pray or even fall asleep I repeat that mantra. It calms me, it surrounds me, it changes things that go on inside me.

I started yoga, it was such an incredible spiritual journey into my whole being. With lots of practise, and so much concentration you can escape within yourself (although I must admit some of the advanced yogis look rather silly balancing on their heads and humming) Yoga taught me things like absolute calmness, tranquility. Accompanied with my new skills in meditation and exercize, being quiet has gotten a lot easier.

But settling down to pray, to talk to God, makes yoga seems like childs play. God is the Wholly Other. God is difficult to talk about let alone to talk to. But that one line, Wees stil en weet Ek is die Heer, changed my life and my relationship with God. It takes time to be quiet, To know that God is there, To know God, to find Him in the stillness of the soul.

Sparky said...

AlexSteyn... I've heard those words a 1000 times, but I never really "heard" it, until you put it like that... "Just be quiet, sit there, and KNOW I am God... don't concentrate, don't 'meditate', don't try to be clever or think up nice words... just sit there and know."

Whao... it's as if I've heard it for the first time.

Blizzard said...

Something I found that is very relevant to this topic of reconnecting to God. Its called A Magna Carta for Restoring the Supremacy of Jesus Christ a.k.a. A Jesus Manifesto for the 21st Century Church

See it here