Such a familiar place,
this standoff between
the part of me that wants to
the part that doesn’t
I can list all the good reasons why I need to do this
but something in me has shut the door
leans her body against it
and yells, “Leave me alone.”
I can force the door open.
She isn’t very big,
but she’s the master of sabotage
and eventually gets her way.
This leaves me no peace.
I really want to do this
and that wanting doesn’t go away.
Then one day, instead of giving in, forcing or pleading,
I sit down on the other side of the door and rest my hand on it
–touching it touching her–
and softly ask, “Tell me what you’re feeling.”
“It’s too hard, this thing you want me to do.”
“It’s hard,” I say, letting her know I’ve heard her.
“I don’t know how to do it. I don’t know if I can.”
“It’s hard,” I say again
and let myself feel what she feels.
As I do, the door opens a crack.
We remember a quote from Glennon Doyle,
“We can do hard things.”
I feel a shift.
I’m no longer two parts
And I get up and do
the hard thing I want to do.
One day, a wise, old owl flew by and saw the little bird all alone looking sad. The old owl flew down next to the nest. When the little bird looked into the kind face of the big owl, something inside felt safe and right to ask, “What do I do?”
The old owl gently moved over next to the little bird and said, “When you grow quiet inside and listen to your body, what does it tell you needs listening to more than anything else?”
–Edwin M. McMahon, “The Little Bird Who Found Herself” in Rediscovering the Lost Body-Connection within Christian Spirituality by Edwin M. McMahon and Peter Campbell
Questions for your Lenten Journey
- Where in your life do you feel like you are at a stand-off with yourself and unfree to do what you’d like to?
- What happens as you grow quiet inside and listen? What do you feel in your body? What do you hear?
- Notice what happens as you simply listen and keep that feeling company.
- Is there a thought, image, memory or feeling that comes to mind? If so, what goes on for you as this symbol interacts with what is going on inside you?
- Is there a shift? What do you notice in your body?
- What grace has God given you?