There was a little line in my last post that just struck me as I sat down to write this one: “Sometimes those things call out to me so loudly that I can hardly hear anything else, but the voice that calls me back is, I hope, love.” I was talking specifically about the challenges of parenting, and the fact that the desire for pleasure and ease can draw me away from what it’s really all about – love. Today, though, I’ve had one of those precious moments that happen now and then, and for which I am truly grateful, where I feel called back to the centre by and to Love itself.
These moments often occur for me on the edges of sleep, and this time it was as I woke up from a nap this afternoon (after last night’s predicted lack of sleep, due to sleeping in a tent in the garden!), with a realization of feeling slightly lost, floundering, uncentred, and with the need to spend time with God and return to what really matters. Such moments of being called back are pure grace, because without them I am constantly wandering off onto the peripheries or trying to be the centre of my own world. The experience of ‘uncentering’ definitely creeps up on me more quickly and easily in the summer season, when lack of healthy structure and routine, especially in prayer, can throw me slightly off-course, and when the many gifts of life take up so much of my time and attention that the Giver can get pushed oh-so-subtly to the side. The truth is that there are so many voices calling for my attention – and sometimes they seem louder by far than the One Voice that gives me Life and that I long to turn my ears and heart towards. Try as I might, I am simply not able to get away from the need to make regular time and space to listen for that quieter, stronger voice in prayer. But, thankfully, when I don’t, it catches up with me at some moment when I stop long enough to hear it whisper. And if I will rush to kneel and listen, throwing all I am and have back towards the centre I’ve lost sight of, and admitting again how desperately I need help, I am straight away caught back up into true Life and Love. I love the way one simple psalm can become a tool for this task and grace of returning and recentering. And how, from the rediscovered Centre, I can gratefully dance back out again to all the tasks and people that make up my life, now held and fed and loved.
So, now that Love has called me back to the centre again today, I’m remembering the words of C.S. Lewis in Mere Christianity, and taking them as an invitation to me in this summer season:
The real problem of the Christian life comes where people do not usually look for it. It comes the very moment you wake up each morning. All your wishes and hopes for the day rush at you like wild animals. And the first job each morning consists simply in shoving them all back, in listening to that other voice, taking that other point of view, letting that other larger, stronger, quieter life come flowing in. And so on, all day. Standing back from all your natural fussings and frettings; coming in out of the wind.