Friday, August 17, 2007

The Quiet of God

I awoke early from a bad dream. It was a little after four.

I had been visiting my father... he was going to take us to dinner in Paris.

There was a mess on the kitchen floor and counters: coffee grounds, scraps of food from vegetables and odd little things, which I cleaned up, put in a small trash can.

It was sort of a restaurant, and I went down the short hall to wash my hands. But the Men’s Room was cramped with dining tables, women sitting at them. It was difficult to squeeze through the door, past the tables, around people sitting in chairs. I tried to be polite, make my way through, but people seemed annoyed at my presence.

A little girl was standing on a chair, playing in the sink. I told her I needed to get at the sink and tried gently to push the chair a few inches over. She wavered on the chair, almost losing her balance, and I grabbed her and held her up.

The women started in on me, complaining, and chastising, and yelling.

One woman scolded me that I didn’t know the good that had been generated by the money from the tables put in the Men’s Room.

I awoke.

In waking I awoke Brenda, who went out to look at our fence which we are obsessing a little over, afraid that vandals will deface it again.

Between moments when our bodies requested a visit to our own restroom we spoke about the mess we are in.

Actually, we spoke more about how she felt unsupported in the early years of our marriage, and how that while I have been improving over the last decade, especially the last year, she has felt less and less for me. She told me how she loves this other man and that she is here because she does not wish to shirk her obligations for our children.

We talked for a half hour about my mistakes.

The mood of the dream persisted in my heart.

I told her that I knew we had to deal with these things, that I needed to know them, but that for the past week I have been bombarded by my failures while trying to forget and forgive hers. I told her that, not for the sake of a future together but just for the sake of our own present sanity, we need to have a little fun.

Of course the difficulty in that is the shortage of money and the need to have supervision for our 18 year old son.

So, I am in the Prayer Room of our church. I came here to pray, and found myself looking at the walls, thinking about the time I have spent here. I took pictures of The Lord’s Prayer I did over the past year, and then I took pictures of the rest of the room. I’ll post them on Job’s Tale. But the spirit of prayer, or should I say The Spirit of Prayer, doesn’t seem to be in me this morning. I feel tired and numb and so I sit here writing, tapping at the keys on this laptop.

She loves another.

Why would she stay with me when what I have to offer is work?

And she loves another.

It makes me feel unlovable.

People say nice things about me. So many have visited my blogs and responded so kindly so many times. Could it be that the way I word things, or the way I think about things, is the only thing attractive about me? Could it be that there is something about me in the flesh, as a real person, that people do not like to be near, find grating, abrasive? Could it be that I am unlovable?

I’m listening to beautiful chorale music, spiritually uplifting music.. In the distance I hear the voices of workmen at their tasks in finishing up the rebuilding of our church. The smell of fresh paint is in the air.

And I am alone in this room, hoping to make contact with God, hoping to feel something besides sorrow and loss and frustration and the sense that I am condemned, doomed.

Perhaps it is simply that I am tired. Restless sleep, short hours when I do sleep. A sense that things are falling apart.

Glimmers of hope, small efforts at reconciliation which may be nothing more than her biding time until obligations are met, our conversations are gentler remonstrations instead of shouting, silence in sorrow and loss...

Perhaps it is simply that I am tired. But I feel my strength draining away, my spiritual strength, my prayers broadcast away from my heart into realms beyond these four dimensions and echoing back the ping of a spiritual sonar that something is out there...

But is it the salvation of my marriage or just lessons for me to learn?

My children are almost grown and gone. And perhaps my marriage is as well.

I’m 51 years old. I finally have a very steady career. I have equity in a home. But none in the relationship of the woman I thought I would spend my life with.

I hear people speak of the silence of God. I have felt it now and then, perhaps I feel it now.

But in general I have sensed the Quiet of God. That He is there, and it isn’t that He refuses to speak, is silent, but that I am incapable of listening. That instead of silence it is really the Quiet of God which permeates my world.

If I can just slow down, rest in the grass on the hillside, watch the clouds drift slowly across a deep sky... then I would not feel the need for His voice. I would recognize that I am not a being who needs to have all the control in my life. That I can rest.

I am a servant of the Lord God, Creator of All Things, the Embodiment of Love. I do not need to do manly things all the time. I can simply be. I can rest. I can simply follow.

As a man I like to think of myself as a leader, head of household, guider of my family. But I am not a shepherd really. I am a sheep. I have a shepherd who will guide me. For now, it is simply my job to lie in the grass on the hillside. The shepherd will take care of me.

And what a shepherd He is. The Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. He is the one who holds all the universe together, and He is willing to suffer for me. And not simply the suffering He did when He crept into this world through the body of a young woman, taught the world about love, and then let the world nail him to a piece of wood in mockery of His trade, but the suffering He endures when I continue to reject Him despite all He does for me. The sins I continue to heap upon His Cross.

What a shepherd He is. Willing to go to great lengths to rescue lost sheep. And willing to take on the forces of darkness, powers so much greater than I, to battle for my safety, my return to His home.

What a shepherd He is. While I am a sheep of His flock, a small lamb, He is the Lion of Judah. A predator of great power.

And He chooses to lie down with me!

I need to rest.

Rest in the Quiet of God.


Aphra said...

I dream of bathrooms a lot. Not so often now, but for a while it was hard to me to dream without there being a bathroom involved. For me the bathroom represents spiritual cleansing.
The little girl may represents innocence? She has been knocked but you are trying to put her right again.

"Why would she stay with me when what I have to offer is work?" The other will be work as well. There is no relationship that does not require work. But maybe the new relationship offers to her eyes a chance to start fresh with no baggage?

Remember that your Father in Heaven loves you and your boys love you and all of your friends who are praying for you, we love you or we wouldn't be praying.

Susan said...

Thank you for inviting me here CS. My prayers will be with you as you struggle to save your marriage. The fact that you are willing to try to make it work is evidence that you still value your relationship. The fact that she is still with you says the same about Brenda. She needs to see that you love her no matter what and that she still means the world to you. I know it must me terribly difficult with a special needs kid to try to make time for yourselves.
Have you looked into respite services? Up here in Canada, we have respite for disabled kids. Its govt funded. The kids go into a care setting for 2-4 days to give parents a much needed break. This program has helped save many a marriage and prevent care giver burn out and abuse. Look into it, there may be such a program available in Oregon. It could be just what you need. And it doesnt mean you are sick of your child, It merely recognizes that we are all human and have limitations.

MMM said...

I agree with Susan. I work with children with disabilities, and respite comes as a welcome relief. It is, indeed, government funded, and you can have someone share that load you two are carrying. It may help, it may not, but it's out there. Even nicer, you can have it for both boys, not just one, and that would open up some desperately needed You Time for both of you.

Thanks for inviting me here, as I type through blurred vision...

In the midst of all this pain you should know....your writing is blossoming, beautiful, and a blessing. From a fellow writer. :)

Amrita said...

He sends forth His word and heals them and rescues them from the pit and descruction Psalms

curious servant said...

Thank you for your prayers. They are having an effect on my life. I will probably write about them this afternoon.

Reminder: Please do not comment on any of the things you read here over at Job's Tale (which will continue to have new posts). Such comments over there will be deleted.

I love all of you.

hebrews 11:1 said...

Hello CS!

I hope you do not mind me here...I am a friend of Terry's and Felisol's, and have been praying for you ever since Terry asked for prayer for you. And then Donna, another friend, asked for prayer for you...and then I saw your new blog name over on Felisol's. If you would rather me not invite myself here, I promise not to come back again...but I will continue to pray for you, your wife, and your family.

May you feel God's peace that passes all understanding in your heart, mind, and soul,

Lil Pilgrim pal

curious servant said...

I have seen your comments here and there.

I am in ndeed of prayer and welcome you here.

I was going to write a post today sharing a glimmer of hope, but I don't feel so positive any more.

This is a very difficult time for me. I really have no idea what is going to happen and it makes me so uneasy.

I'm generally a "glass half full" sort of guy, but...

At any rate, I have been doing a lot of thinking, a lot of reflecting, and I really do not like where I am right now.

Please pray for wisdom and strength and peace for my wife and I.

Please pray the same for the counselor.

The situation is very fragile.

I am very sad.

My hope is in Him.

Jim said...

Hi C.S.
Yes, I have been praying for you. And among my prayers are for your and Brenda's marriage. I pray for the boys too, for you, for Brenda, for your work, for your blogging witness for our Lord, and just so many other things concerning your life.

Yes, I will pray now specifically for the marriage, for you and Brenda, and for your situation.

I am going to digress now for a bit. Perhaps a long bit.

C.S, I have been where you are now. I was younger but it happened. And this marriage did not succeed.

I felt dispair. I would cry. I was anti social except towards some of my closest friends and close work acquaintences.

It started out of the blue for me. I will admit our marriage was not good and that I would fantasize about not being married to her any longer. But there seemed to be no solution but to stay with things. We had four children also.

Things came to a head after I discovered things I will not speak about here.

Then she announced she was getting a divorce. There was nothing I could do and that one of us would leave. Since she was the mother I left, the children stayed with her.

That is when I started my crying, sobbing at times during the night. I called my Sunday school teacher who was an attorney--my ex had stopped going to church or SS quite a while ago, I continued and took our children there also.

My teacher said he believed I was intelligent and could read and understand the papers, and if so and I agreed with the terms, then to sign the waiver.

He did say if there was anything in the papers I needed explaining just come to him and he would explain.

At that time I was crying a lot, and did a little sobbing and sniffing while on the phone with him.

Then he said something to me that I felt was not needed and was a little 'corny.'


I have always remembered that and him saying it. It turned out that it meant so much to me during our ordeal, the divorce, and my recovery. At times that was the only thought that got me going again when I was low.

And C.S, God does love you. He still loves you, no matter what.

Some day in the future, no matter what, the thing you will tell most often about this ordeal is that God loves you, He did then very much, and He saw you through.

Since our divorce God found me Mrs. Jim, a very fine Christian lady. I wasn't even looking for lady friends, I had returned to college even. In our marriage, Mrs. Jim and and I had another child, Karen. Not that you have to have more children, I know, you are older, I was in my late thirties.

God has provided wonderfully for us. I had all the charge card bills, most of which were maxed out. Then there was child support for four children, that was a contentious situation in itself as to where the money went. Everything worked out. Neither of had any money saved except work plans. Now we are retired and able to live on what we have.

There are things I can't do. In our denomination, I can not be a deacon. I could change to a church that accepts divorced people. But I say that I will serve God with my whole heart and being a deacon would not change that at all.

'Nuf said, I will pray as I said. God will see you through it all and bless you. And his answer may not be what you are thinking it should be.

One other thought, get that Ipod on some conventional Christian music. "God Loves You" is a good one, it might make you tear, but it is full of truths. Here is the first verse and chorus:

"In the quiet, love is reaching.
It’s yours to hold,
Be still and know that
Even when you’re lost and lonely,
And hope is gone, you’re not alone.

Far beyond the understanding,
There’s a hand that leads,
If you believe.

Through the darkness, see the light.
Remember God loves you."

That's my favorite, there are a lot of others.

Judas Hate said...

Step back and take a breath, my Brother.

He made you to be who you are.

He set you on this path.

He has faith that you will immerge from the shadows.

And so do I.

Do you?


Steady your feet and straighten your back. Only then can you reach down a strong, steady hand to Brenda, Isaac and Jeremiah.

Just remember, only they can choose to grasp it.

Lynn said...

Oh Will,

My heart is broken for you. I echo your thoughts. It is rest in the shepherd's care. I am pryaing for you. For strength, courage, widsom and especially hope.

We serve the God of hope. Love you my friend, Lynn

Lorna (see through faith) said...

beautiful pictures

Anonymous said...

i may not be going through the same thing as you but i'm also going through something in my marriage. i'm always reminded to focus on what God is saying. it's hard because of the circumstances around you. but please know that you're not going to do this in your own strength. God will give you the grace to do so. i'm praying for you, CS. God will make a way when there seem to be no way.