Sunday, June 28, 2015

And the blue river line on the horizon leads to worlds to be conquered.

I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:20

To say with all that we have, think, feel, and are, "God exists" is the most world-shattering statement that a human can make...Because when God exist, all that is flows from God...However, as soon as I say "God exists," my existence no longer can remain in the center, because the essence of the knowledge of God reveals my own existence as deriving its total being from God's. That is the true conversion experience. I no longer let the knowledge of my existence be the center from which I derive, project, deduct, or intuit the existence of God. I suddenly or slowly find my own existence revealed to me in and through the knowledge if God. Then it becomes real for me that I can love myself and my neighbor only because God has loved me first.

The life-converting experience is not the discovery that I have choices to make that determine the way I live out my existence but the answer that my existence itself is not in the center. Once I "know" God, that is, once I experience God's love as the love in which all my human experiences are anchored, I can only desire one thing: to be in that love. "Being" anywhere else, then, is shown to be illusory and eventually lethal. Henri Nouwen, Gracias!

Last night Nicole posted a GoPro video shot of Andres as he met us last year on that road coming up out of Mondoñedo. And just this moment, just as I finished rewatching it,  I got a message from Andres who was watching it as well. And as I sit here on a balcony overlooking a bright blue Lisbon with just a hint of breeze, one cannot help but know that time and space are artificial and even false lenses with which to view life.

Lisbon still celebrates their fifteenth century period of world dominance in every roundabout, on so many balcony and light post flourishes and in the beautiful gleaming stone mosaics of every sidewalk through the center of town. This is who they are, a bold and courageous people willing always to face the unknown. Still. This is what is true.

And my mind is so full of short-sighted lies. With my small, present moment in the center. And slowly, ever-so-slowly I am learning to Be, to be in His love. And when a group of four very tired pilgrims steps off of an eleven-hour bus ride with Saran Wrap and plastic garbage bag bundled bikes into a huge city suffering from a subway strike near midnight, and even the bathrooms in the station are locked up tightly, one longs to Be in What Is True. And not what is perceived. And a ragged looking man with a big rosary around his neck drew us a rather complicated map of how to first go to the hostel to drop off the boys and then a shortcut to Wilson and Fernanda's apartment. Sort of a shortcut. And the guy at the hostel desk kept giving us sort of encouraging but conflicting directions over the phone. And so did all of the myriad folks that I stopped on the street again and again for further clarification. The main thing is that everyone kept shouting at us with great enthusiastic Portuguese how very easy it all was.

And now I can truthfully say I rode my bike in Portugal as well. Up and down. Up and down.

And it is easy if you just take it one step on the almost marblesque (spellcheck hates it when I make up words) mosaics at a time. One more hill. (Hills are nothing now.) One more massive statue filled with boats and globes in one more roundabout. One more tree-lined street filled with taxis. And at the end there is the very friendly hostel host standing there waving his arms and a little table set with sheep cheese and Brie and bread and tuna salad and white wine on a balcony at Wilson's and Fernanda's elegant apartment.

For the joy set before them. This is what is true.

To say with all that we have, think, feel, and are, "God exists" is the most world-shattering statement that a human can make. Ah, there's the rub. The singlemindedness. Practicing the Presence. All.

But I have a big huge piles of Joshua stone memorials in the middle of each roundabout. This is who I am. Not in the center. He is. With His power and love, outstretched.

And we are pretty near the airport so planes rip overhead every so often to remind me that I am boarding one back to Tucson tomorrow morning. And I sure don't know what lies beyond the next curve. But what I wrote to Andres this morning was that I wanted to pack up his light- and love- filled singlemindedness into my bag. And although I have so many French countryside and Spanish sea coast and Portuguese night river walks and Italian pizzas from a firewood oven in a patio filled with sparkly lights and friends memories,  what burns most brightly is that joy which slices through any and all dismal fog with what is true. To live what I know to be true.

God exists.