At some point, the desperate need to shout fell away as if it were a worthless coin. It’s not that I didn’t want to be heard or at times stay awake at night plotting how I might be heard. But one day I reached into my pocket and found new coins.
These coins gave me the freedom to choose to say nothing. I pulled them out and examined them with awe. I could be misunderstood and do nothing.
I spent a coin whenever my inner teacher tugged my sleeve and said, “Let it go.”
I also discovered I could spend one when I wanted to be safe and be liked. But, my inner teacher would have none of that.
One afternoon, at a monthly gathering of my peers, I needed to be heard, not for my benefit but for theirs. As gently as I could, I spoke up and interrupted the process–more than once. My confidence could have been interpreted as arrogance and my persistence as pushy. But I found the coin that let me be misunderstood and spent it. I kept asking the questions my inner teacher fed me and hoped that God would do something with them.
God did and it was beautiful to behold.
I’ve been reading A Hidden Wholeness by Parker Palmer who encourages me to live an undivided life. He wrote, “The divided life is a wounded life, and the soul keeps calling us to heal the wound.” I’ve spent my life shouting to be heard and I’ve felt ashamed of it. But now I see that my soul was shouting to be healed.
When I was given a voice, I didn’t need to shout anymore. But choosing to be silent in order to be nice or accepted divides me from myself.
Parker Palmer says we all have an “inner teacher whose guidance is more reliable than anything we can get from a doctrine, ideology, collective belief system, or leader.” And my inner teacher is telling me: To live out of my hidden wholeness means saying what needs to be said even at the risk of being disliked or dismissed.
While I kept silence, my body wasted away
through my groaning all day long.
–Psalm 32:3 (NRSV)
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This Men’s Bible Study group from Mount Olivet Church in Plymouth in Minnesota are up to some great love mischief for the world. They used my blog post Autumn Leaves to explore the subjects of change, loss. insecurity and letting go. Thanks, guys, for listening to your souls and living out of your hidden wholeness.