Leaning into Love

July 2013 101 - Copy“The lines are fading in my kingdom though I have never known the way to border them in.” – Joanna Newsom

As I drove through the blooming, greening hills to the Abbey of Gethsemani, the cool spring air flooded my car, filling my lungs with life and longing. My mind turned over unfolding events and a familiar fire kindled in my bones, seething and molten. Torrents of outrage and fury at the suffering fate of so many poured over me like wind and I felt the hunger for justice mixed with the hunger for being held. “Justice is like the kingdom of God,” says George Eliot. “It is not without us as a fact, it is within us as a great yearning.” And everything in me swelled with this yearning.

Years ago, after a long winter where we almost destroyed each other, a woman came who had, in the weeks before, cradled starving children in Afghanistan. She lived in their villages, shared their lot, poured out all she could, and now she came to Nashville to talk with us, to bear witness to the brutality of war, to share stories and struggles and hope. As she spoke, her eyes were like two searing coals and her final advice to us was this: “Keep falling in love.”

gethsemani 001So now, after another long winter has finally lifted, my mind turns to those words and my fiery heart obeys, leaving me raw. I live my days in love, the only way I know how. I swim at the edge of waterfalls, invigorated, resisting the tug that would send me over into crashing descent. I walk on the narrow stone ledge of the lake between water and cliff and feel my heart quicken as gusts of wind tear at my body, my balance. My parents told me I came into this world in a storm—a winter storm in Memphis.  Born in a storm… that seems about right. Perhaps this is why I still thrive on adrenaline, why I’m most fully alive when there is something to endure, something to fight, when uncertainty and possibilities ignite the air like fire.

And so I lean into love with both faithfulness and longing. I lean into the storm, the fury, and feel the wind racing across my body, whipping through my hair. I lean into the unknown and unknowing, embracing them with all I have, saying yes. Yes, this yearning that kindles in my bones holds both canyons and kingdoms. Yes, I’m willing to risk, to walk the ledge, to live fully in this love. And no, I will not border it in, hold it back. This love is as free and wild as the wind howling across Kentucky hills

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