Room 712

Thin spaces and Divine wrestling matches

Last week I was doing some work at my Planet Changer Uganda office located in Seeta, just outside the capital of Kampala. I knew it was going to be a busy week as I was picking up supplies with our Uganda director Moses and his wife Bena.

We needed bunk beds, mattresses, sheets, chairs and a handful of other supplies to get the rooms at the office ready for a team from SVA Church. They will be coming in January to help with water testing, GPS tagging of completed water systems and conduct community health and sanitation surveys.

As there was not a bed for me yet, I stayed at a nearby hotel, this would be my basecamp for accomplishing the long to-do list. While I was looking forward to some alone time with God while savoring some amazing Ugandan tea in the mornings, my experience ran on the twin rails of beauty and struggle.

Behind the door of room 712 I passed into a divine portal where I was about to wrestle everyday for a week.

While no place is truly holier than another, as God is found everywhere and within you, during my prayer, meditation and sleep time I entered into a thin space. A thin space is the Celtic way of expressing that you have experienced the presence of God in such a real and intimate way that the veil between the here-and-now and the presence of God is as thin as translucent paper. Room 712 became for me a Jabbok river of sorts confronting my greater and lesser angels.

In the morning, while I read, prayed and meditated, God’s presence was so tangible my entire body was humming with the energy of creation.

It was amazing…
A place I didn’t want to leave…
Like Peter, I said, “Let’s build three shelters and stay here!” when he experienced the transfiguration of Jesus right before his eyes.

I felt as if I might float away, I even checked once or twice to make sure I was still sitting in my chair! I wondered if I might float right into His throne room on the waves of His love and light.

However, while I slept, we wrestled for control of things I felt I might lose, things I might gain. My mind wouldn’t settle, I felt the weight of my thoughts on my chest like a cement blanket.

Was I jacob at the Jabbok river wrestling with the man who was really God? Would I cling until He blessed me? Who was I, and why did the night spaces become an MMA ring? Was I jacob or Monty or pastor or activist or or or. If I follow His lead and surrender all, who will I become? Will I like me? Will others like me?

While my mind worked to control scenario after scenario crashing through my mind, in the tumultuous silence I finally heard what my soul needed most: “I love you, You are mine.”

And that is exactly what I needed to hear.

Only In Love…

“…then I can bury myself entirely in you, O mysterious God”

This morning my prayerful reflection was written by Karl Rahner SJ. It is a beautiful invitation into love, which is the presence and form of God.

God of My Life

Only in love can I find you,my God.
In love the gates of my soul spring open,
…..allowing me to breathe a new air of freedom.
…..and forget my own petty self.
In love my whole being streams forth
…..out of the rigid confines of narrowness and anxious self-assertion,
…..which makes me a prisoner of my own poverty and emptiness.
In love all the powers of my soul flow out toward you,
wanting never more to return,
but to lose themselves completely in you,
since by your love you are the inmost center of my heart,
closer to me than I am to myself.

But when I love you,
when I manage to break out of the narrow circle of self
and leave behind the restless agony of unanswered questions,
when my blinded eyes no longer look merely from afar
and from the outside upon your unapproachable brightness,
and much more when you yourself, O Incomprehensible One,
have become through love the inmost center of my life,
then I can bury myself entirely in you, O mysterious God,
and with myself all my questions.

Loosen My Grip: Loder

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I just found a quiet space to think, ponder and pray.
I’ve turned off the news…turned off my phone…and am trying to turn off my busy mind.

As I settled in to pray, I read a prayer by Ted Loder to center my tired soul.
I felt the refreshing Spirit fall as I was reminded to loosen my grip.

If your grip has been too tight, take a moment and pray it too…

Loosen My Grip-Ted Loder

O God, it is hard for me to let go,

most times,

and the squeeze I exert

garbles me and gnarls others.

So, loosen my grip a bit

on the good times,

on the moments of sunlight and star shine and joy,

that the thousand graces they scatter as they pass

may nurture growth in me

rather than turn to brittle memories.

Loosen my grip

on those grudges and grievances

I hold so closely,

that I may risk exposing myself

to the spirit of forgiveness

that changes things and resurrects dreams and courage.

Loosen my grip

on my fears

that I may be released a little into humility

and into an acceptance of my humanity.

Loosen my grip

on myself

that I may experience the freedom of a fool

who knows that to believe

is to see kingdoms, find power, sense glory;

to reach out

is to know myself held;

to laugh at myself

is to be in on the joke of your grace;

to attend to each moment

is to hear the faint melody of eternity;

to dare love

is to smell the wild flowers of heaven.

Loosen my grip

on my ways and words,

on my fears and fretfulness

that letting go

into the depths of silence

and my own uncharted longings,

I may find myself held by you

and linked anew to all life

in this wild and wonderous world

you love so much,

so I may take to heart

that you have taken me to heart.