But in those moments when I have stopped and taken the 15-20 minutes to do centering prayer, a feeling emerges in the core of my being. I feel neither here nor there... and a bit adrift.
Now this can be a sign of just how crazy busy I've been between church volunteer activities, and PFLAG and Faust. But I also think it's reflective of where we are in the retelling of our story as God's people. Last week.... and we were reminded on Sunday... Jesus, who had just come back from an absolute and bloody death, again tells the disciples, "I'll be seeing ya!" and ascends into Heaven just as Elijah disappeared in the Hebrew Scriptures. Two unnamed, unknown men appear and ask the disciples why they are looking up. One can imagine why they were; I mean, if I'd seen the guy upon whom I had pinned all my hopes just shoot up into the sky, I'd probably be staring at the clouds, too!
But that's not the task at hand. Searching the sky and saying, "Where'd he go?!" isn't the next move. The searching and the seeking for Jesus needs to be done among ourselves. That's what I think he was driving at when he was praying to God and saying,
He's been with us, died with us, and been resurrected in us: now we are to see him in the eyes of those we encounter.All mine are yours, and yours are mine; and I have been glorified in them. And now I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one, as we are one.
I also think he's recognizing the transition he's going through. He will be entering into a state of being in-between the physical, tangible, temporal world and the world that is eternal and exists all around us... even if just beyond what we see and "know" to be true.
It's also a transition time for disciples and by extension us as we retell this story. We've been put in this weird place of waiting for the "Now what?" It is a place that anyone who has ever experienced a transition should be familiar with. When you are out of work, or when you've just completed school, you go into this odd state of wondering and questioning. Sometimes and for some people this is exhilirating, but for others it causes dread. For me, it feels like the familiar music of life has been put on pause and in its place I'm hearing just a single steady drone of one note held down on a keyboard.
The "Now what?" will get answered in the form of a mighty gush of wind that fills the upper room with tongues of fire and people babbling in the native tongues of all the nations imaginable at the time. That's how it happens in the story. How it happens in this real life? I think that depends on each of us. When the Spirit fills us and lights us internally on fire, where do we go with that?
For me, it can be seen in my determined doggedness to remain present and alive. My presence and life speak volumes for the rest of who I am and the labels that get attached so people can understand who I am.
All of those labels apply. But the real essence of my "who" is just the fact that I am. My I am is infused with I AM because that's what I believe with every intake of breath. And the breath, to me, is the symbol of the Spirit.