Two nights ago, I lay in the bed unable to drop into sleep. I never watch TV and rarely watch videos but I decided a few moments might help. I intended to watch a few Matthew McConaughey Lincoln commercials. (I don’t know…they speak to me. I understand the subtle spirituality of what goes on in them.)
Instead, I found myself watching videos of unlikely talent show contestants…the ones who astound the audience and make my heart weep with joy: the airplane crash burn victim, the 3rd stage ovarian cancer survivor, the overweight and shy opera singer, the 43 year-old single black mom, the struggling single dad whose son doesn’t even know he can sing because the son lives with his mom, the lovely young woman who gave up singing when she lost her hearing but now wants to try,….
For 5 hours… between midnight and 5am…I watched these videos, often over and over, with clenched teeth and barely breathing…and only now am I able to cry.
I have pondered why I did this.
I think perhaps I did it to remind myself that I am not ‘all that.’
Lack of sleep causes problems with my bipolar energy swings; it makes me aware of my still-very-human frailties. It also reminds me that there is a thin edge between grandiosity and being a service line between the divine and people. I need to remember this.
I also need to remember that I tend to expect too much of people and I often give more than I can afford to give…especially of my ‘self,’ my history, my awarenesses, my experiences, the things that make me vulnerable. When I share these things with others, I am often ‘throwing my pearls to pigs.’
Somebody years ago (Estes? Bolen? Williamson? or was it Woodman?) said that sharing one’s self intimately can be like giving birth; if one does not contract afterwards, one can bleed to death. Ever since putting my own life aside to be a servant in the presence of Jesus, I have not paid that wise suggestion much mind; I haven’t needed to because I have been sustained by His constant presence. (take it, Jesus. thank You.) But this week’s sleepless night has brought about a well-timed reminder of my humanity and the need to take care of myself.
But first, I am going to take a big risk here (and then withdraw to contract): I have made several efforts to make contact with several of our contemporary spiritual teachers: Cynthia Bourgeault, Richard Rohr, James Finley, Thomas Moore, and others. Each one has responded briefly to a simple concern, but once I make known to them (through my posts on their blogs or my comments on forums…even for courses taught by them) what I know, what I believe, and what I experience, all communication stops. I mean it stops completely; after I posted my comments to Cynthia’s blog, there were no more posts…at all…from anyone; nor did she reply. Likewise with the others. On the forum ‘practice circles,’ they responded to other participants by name, many times….but not to me.
I deeply and strongly regret to consider the possibility that it is perhaps because I am bipolar. (please, Jesus, let it not be so.)
Regardless, I will continue to speak. And if necessary, I will speak to their shadows because I have no reason not to. If they do not speak to me … for whatever reason … then what I say is not being influenced by their opinions…good or bad. And like Jesus, Whom I follow, I have nothing left in this life to lose. I have nothing to protect, nothing to uphold, no hopes to dash, nothing to defend…and no agenda. That’s not my job.
(Addendum: or perhaps this is a correction, because I have taken a break from speaking directly; I am making this edit. I made it clear to myself that now is a good time to withdraw from this online presence. I may post a blog thought but not in a way that expects a response.
Also, I found there was another reason for my all-night video watching: the specific songs I had heard over and over have returned to my mind since then, and at times when the specific message of the song was perfect for the moment, often encouraging me or comforting me in a way that was intimate and loving….like being sung to by God.)