I went to hear Paula D’Arcy speak this past Saturday. Her story is compelling to say the least. Her words struck a chord in me where not many have.
She spoke on taking the further journey. And, moving beyond our usual place of comfort to a new horizon. Her restated question through the whole evening was, “What is this journey asking of me?”
This is an excerpt from her book, The Red Bird. At this moment, she had been laying in bed for 8 months with a case of mononucleosis. A friend came to visit and this is the conversation which occurred.
“Paula, did you figure it out yet?” I am in no mood for games and guesses. I mutter, “Did I figure what out yet?” He is not daunted by me. “Did you figure out what the war is all about inside of you? What’s wrong in your soul?”
I hope my returning glare is strong. I want to cry, but don’t want to give him the satisfaction. Eventually he shrugs his shoulders and leaves.
The problem with his words is that they fill the room and leave me no hiding place. All night long they keep me awake. What is wrong in my soul? I thought what is wrong is wrong in my body. My symptoms are all physical. But even so, could the roots of my unrest be spiritual?
I think of the power of naming. I remember a graduate school professor who insisted you could never solve a problem you could not accurately name.
I consider the fact that my aches and pains may be glaring witnesses to a dangerous state in my being.
I shut my eyes for a few moments and hug the bed covers around my chin. I need to learn how to live. It is suddenly very clear.
I think we can all relate to those words at some point in our lives. They speak down to the pit of our stomachs. Where we know there is unrest, but we cover it with ice cream, tv, and Facebook, or whatever else is quick and easy and makes us forget the pain.
“We circle instead of moving forward,” Paula stated. “If we are really supposed to get far out on the journey, a circle won’t get us there.”
We keep circling into something that distracts for a while. Focusing on the immediate hurt, annoyance, or busyness instead of diving deep and discovering who we are really created to be. Instead of learning to live.
The mind cannot fathom how much we were truly built for, but the heart can!
Living and being alive are two different things. ~Paula D’Arcy
There is another journey that beckons! ~Annie Dillard
Question: What actions are you taking to truly learn how to live?