Sunday, June 03, 2007

Dark Passage

Several weeks ago dear friends gave me the gift of allowing me to borrow their log cabin in northern Washington for a few days where I escaped to try to find myself. Here I immersed myself in things that move the deep waters of my soul… the art of Andy Goldsworthy, the poetry of Rumi, the music of Arvo Part. I stood in the rain under the tall pines for a long time until I felt a black heaviness begin to drain out of me. I was visited by the healing presence of deer and hummingbirds as I wept and wrote and sat in stillness.

Since my return from Africa three months ago I have been cocooned in sorrow, rage, and utter bewilderment. I have been tormented by searing questions about my purpose and my faith. I have staggered under the weight of human suffering, injustice, and the seemingly inevitable destruction we have brought upon this planet—our home. I hurt so much for all the inequity, fear, and humiliation that so many in our human family are experiencing. I feel so frustrated by my powerlessness, by my inability to even revolutionize my own household. I am filled with an unfocused passion that yields futility, and I envy those whose hearts seem to have found a home—something they believe in to pour their time, energy, and skills into. My ambition is my bane. I cannot accept being less than some imagined Great Liberator for mankind. Yet I cannot even free myself. I am paralyzed by the unending array of suffering before me and the desire growing in my belly threatens to tear to me to pieces…yet, I don’t know where to put this fire—before it devours me.

I have avoided writing here for some time because I could not bring myself to begin processing all that I saw and experienced in the Congo or how that trip has affected my inner life in profound and disturbing ways. I think it is time that I begin to let the words flow, if only for my own healing conduit. Thank you for traveling with me here on this dark passage.


Blogger anj said...

I'm listening....

1:37 PM  
Blogger bobbie said...

you wrote:

"My ambition is my bane."

it echoed in my soul. i was made for so much more than what i seem capable of. the ideas, the passion, the vision is there, but the energy, the connections and the follow through elude me.

thank you for sharing this, it resonates deeply with me. you have been in my thoughts since your trip and i have wondered how you were doing. so much to process. mother theresa's quote helps me with perspective sometimes when i remember to remember it:

"In this life we cannot do great things. We can only do small things with great love."

in regard to processing your trip in writing i offer you this that has helped me when words fail. it's from a book called "god laughs and plays" by david james duncan:

"When I later tried to write of the experience, I ran into a familiar wall: the event had not really been personal, it had been spiritual, and only the spirit has spiritual experiences. So when the limited "I" tries to write of such experiences that the soul and mystery of them vanish and what remains are what Merton calls "itsy-bitsy statues" of a spiritual experience.

I abandoned my attempt. Years passed. Then one day, while I was lost in the effort to create a long work of fiction, a character in my story unexpectedly, almost effortlessly underwent the very experience that I, as an "I" had been unable to capture at all."

you're in my thoughts and prayers today.

5:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I applaud your courage to bare your soul. Thankyou, mom

12:45 PM  
Blogger gypsy girl said...

Thank you Anj and mom. Bobbie, what a wonderful passage you shared... i wonder what will someday emerge from these things that have been buried deeply in my soul. Thanks for letting me know you're there... it helps me walk this path.

3:57 PM  
Blogger bobbie said...

you're welcome. i don't think i'll ever be brave enough to meet the women of the congo and do what you have done, but somehow praying for you and hearing your story makes me feel stronger and a part of something a lot bigger than i am. thank you for sharing!

4:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tonya, it is good to reads your reflection after our time together in Congo. I think the tension you are feeling is part of the love you have for humanity. After several weeks of traveling with you I have learned to love you and appreciate you deep and sincere commitment to those who are less fortunate. You have a lot to contribute, be it here in North America or in Africa. Thanks for being a part of my journey. Be assured of the sincere love that people expressed to you while in Congo. They are looking forward to having you back and there is no rush. Keep the faith in humanity Tonya and continue to share your passion with those you meet along the way. Pakisa

8:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let the feelings, the visualizations, the meaning of life flow from you. You carry so many passions and God will not let them consume you. He loves you so much. Thank you for bearing witness to the humanity in being human. Thank you for stepping out of yourself and connecting to other human beings. You share the common thread of all humanity. You are a beautiful child of God Tanya. I am blessed to know you. Janet

9:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know what it's like to search for justice, love, & good in this world and find instead, an overwhelming amount of injustice, evil, & hate. . .which always leaves me consumed with anger, passion, & empathy. However, this is exactly what fuels me to "Be the change I seek" in this world and make a difference in any way I can, whether big or small. Recommended reading: A book titled "Irresistible Revolution"

7:14 PM  

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