dropping who you are...

Once a month, our staff gets “away” to find “A Way”. It’s no coincidence that the movement of Christianity was called “The Way” in its infantile form. It’s not happenstance that Jesus calls himself “The Way” in John 14. This way, this path, this yoke…this is why we get “A-way”. And today is a day to do just that.

We are at a Franciscan Life Center…a modern monastery. A place tucked in the backwoods of Michigan. A place of solace. A place of solidarity. A place to walk in the woods and nestle under an old pine. I found the best spot to rest this morning. The leaves and pine needles created a soft bed for my body to lie down and stare into the vast sky above me. The wind whistled and whisked across my limp body. The sun was pressing its warmth against my clothes, but the coolness of the wind would immediately chill whatever heat was being felt. It was a perfect blend of cold and warm putting me in a “borderland” of sorts. I was neither cold nor hot. I was neither happy nor sad. I was neither moving nor complacent. I was neither a leader nor a follower. I was neither a sinner nor a saint. I just was. Laying their on the mattress of natures surface, I felt like the only man alive on the whole planet. Me and God. I asked him to whisper himself into my heart. He didn’t, he just laid there next to me. I asked him to touch me in a tangible way. He didn’t, he just silently existed in that moment along side of me. I asked him to show me something from the Word. He didn’t, he just graciously sat their and kept his mouth shut so that I could soak in the silence and hear his creation cry out for redemption. It is the same cry for redemption that I feel surface in myself on most days. A groaning for Eden…a moaning for Heaven. I spent time with Jesus…and he didn’t say a word…He didn’t have to.

Now I’m in the Catholic chapel. Symbols surround me. Desert father are honored. It’s a place of reverence and reflection. I found two candles and a box of matches. I’m sitting between these two flickering candles smiling at how wonderful it feels to be surrounded by Catholic tradition. The meditations. The liturgical chants. The Artifacts. The history. The contemplative space to not feel the pressure of relevance. The quiet noise of a stillness and the invitation to die to “productivity” and “performance”. These candles are sending a dancing reflection of light along the walls the surround me making me feel what can only be described as the brush of angel’s wings tickling my heart like a feather draw across the tip of your nose.

I’m looking at a beautiful crucifix. Jesus is looking at me. I’ve always felt prone to mock such things, but today it stirs my heart…it speaks of something old, seasoned, ancient, rooted…eternal. I feel like I’m connected to his heart right now. I can see the lines on his face, the scars from childhood pimples, the rugged hands of carpentry, the tan complexion of a middle eastern man earning a living in less than ideal conditions. I can see his skinned and callused knees from to much horse play. I can see his crazy cowlick and his disheveled hair. I can see his big brown eyes red from exhaustion. I can see him slipping away to a lonely place to catch a breather and regain strength of the task at hand. I can see his tattered clothes and the kind of bed-head that only a man without a real bed could wake up with. I can see his shining face under the red soil caked on his skin. I can just about hear his voice…but I don’t understand it because he doesn’t speak my language…He looks like one of the guys who crashed a plane into the Twin Towers and yet there’s something written all over his face that tells you that that would never happen. He doesn’t need to be funny, but he is sometimes. He doesn’t have to be the life of the party, but people tend to gather around his picturesque stories. He has a way of living and talking and being that makes you want to drop who you are and be something different.

And that’s what I want today…to drop who I am and pick up on “The Way” he lives. Some days, I feel like we’re hand in hand…other days, I don’t even feel like I know this man that I say I follow. He has a way with words, a way with people…a way with everything that seems so different…so “Wayward”. But it is this wayward path that I long to walk.


David Cortner said…
I am jealous - Mark 6:31 - Jesus said, "Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest"
Teresa said…
Thank you for sharing Jason. Even though you don't know me, I love reading your blog. I have a few friends from Bellefontaine who know you personally and your heart for God is so evident.

The lonley place that Jesus often went to is the place that I've been longing for lately.

Thanks for sharing again, Jason.

Popular Posts