Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Finding Your "True Self": God

My Facebook friend, Don Seiler, posted a quote from Parker Palmer. I was so intrigued that I did a Google search. He has some profound words of wisdom. Where he says "true self", I read God.

"Eventually, I developed my own image of the "befriending" impulse behind my depression. Imagine that from early in my life, a friendly figure, standing a block away, was trying to get my attention by shouting my name, wanting to teach me some hard but healing truths about myself. But I-- fearful of what I might hear or arrogantly trying to live without help or simply too busy with my ideas and ego and ethics to bother-- ignored the shouts and walked away.

So this figure, still with friendly intent, came closer and shouted more loudly, but I kept walking. Ever closer it came, close enough to tap me on the shoulder, but I walked on. Frustrated by my unresponsiveness, the figure threw stones at my back, then struck me with a stick, still wanting simply to get my attention. But despite the pain, I kept walking away.

Over the years, the befriending intent of this figure never disappeared but became obscured by the frustration caused by my refusal to turn around. Since shouts and taps, stones and sticks had failed to do the trick, there was only one thing left: drop the nuclear bomb called depression on me, not with the intent to kill but as a last-ditch effort to get me to turn and ask the simple question, "What do you want?" When I was finally able to make the turn-- and start to absorb and act on the self-knowledge that then became available to me-- I began to get well.

The figure calling to me all those years was, I believe, what Thomas Merton calls "true self." This is not the ego self that wants to inflate us (or deflate us, another from of self-distortion), not the intellectual self that wants to hover above the mess of life in clear but ungrounded ideas, not the ethical self that wants to live by some abstract moral code. It is the self-planted in us by the God who made us in God's own image-- the self that wants nothing more, or less, than for us to be who we were created to be.

True self is true friend. One ignores or rejects such friendship only at one's peril."

Parker J. Palmer (Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation

For the  three years since hurricane Ike, I have been in this depression. I am now healing. I will probably never be healed as long as I am on this earth, but I am definitely better.

I recently read the book Heaven is for Real
This is the true account of a child’s journey to heaven and back. Chapter 19 is titled “Jesus REALLY loves the children.” The message on page 106 has been eating at me,
“Sonja had always been torn between singing on the worship team during Sunday morning services and going downstairs to teach Sunday school for the kids. And while she knew that statistics show most people who profess faith in Christ do so at a young age, it was Colton’s passionate insistence on Christ’s love for children that gave Sonja fresh energy for our kid’s ministry.”
This has also given me fresh energy. I am a teacher of children and that is where I need to be.
It is with a sad heart that I have taken an indefinite leave from the Praise Team at church. I love to sing but now I will sing with children. I am going to put my energy and God-given talents into our children’s ministry. I don’t know where that will lead me, but that will be my focus.
First I will be helping with our VBS, July 31-Aug. 3. Join us every night at 5:45.
Then I will be helping with our Sunday morning Children's Worship, Route 252. That is every Sunday morning beginning with worship at 10:00.
Pray for me as I work toward being God's "true self" for me.


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