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pursuing the upward call with fear and trembling

just a 44 year old man seeking to share my meanderings with the world at large or the blogosphere at small

Monday, June 29, 2009


Cat Stevens is quite an intriguing character. He was one who vocalized the soul of the peace movement in the 60's and 70's, but converted to islam and affirmed certain violent actions when deemed necessary under islamic law. This is not about him though, but his song *moonshadow* is a very moving song and speaks to me in my life right now. The man or woman singing speaks of living life and experiencing the loss of much of their physical attributes, their arms, legs,sight until they are basically left with laying still and being conscious. Rather than become bitter,self-pitying or withdrawn into themselves, the singer accepts the condition and continues on with life as it is.

This is a metaphor for me in how I have dealt with fear and related struggles over the course of time. It is a weird paradox of the mind so much. On one hand I realized the necessity of God to be real and in control of ultimate reality after my dad died, and i also had a need to try and escape the pain and strong feelings experienced by it all at the same time. I knew then in a much more real way than before the reality of death actually happening and felt it about myself. I used to sing a song in the Catholic Church, *sons of God, hear His holy name, gather round the table of the Lord, eat His body drink His blood and we'll sing a song of love allelu allelu alleluiaaaaaaaaaaaa* I found it to be a comforting song and it included aspects of the victory Jesus had over death within it, as well as the reference to communion.

I have had the battle between acceptance and denial all this time, as I am sure each one of us do to some extent. Sometimes, able to come to grips with the fact of death as a reality which can happen anytime. But also wanting to fight against it and try to keep it away from doing what my imagination came up with. Part of the struggle has also been a tendency to distrust my own ability and sought reassurance from others, especially ones in authority, to confirm Gods reality and His love and grace toward me, because of my feeling of unworthiness which stemmed from things beyond any theological understanding.

It is strange to keep reflecting upon a feeling of lack of acceptance for myself and feeling a misfit but then again certain things help me see where it comes from. No matter how well I could come to grips in my mind in a social and outward way, the haunting thoughts held within have always lurked there and writing has been the main way to express them. Hoping now to accept and take on a challenge which I think my fears have been pointing me towards, to embrace ALL reality, no matter how scary and tough or overwhelming it may be, and to accept God calling me to let go of hiding, even from myself and to let Him lead me into a bolder faith journey which will be one where safety is never guaranteed but where His promise and hope of all being worthwhile in the end is held out to fix myself upon.


At 8:38 PM, Blogger MistiPearl said...

Raw, fearless, and beautiful. I kinda wish we could connect for coffee. Keep writing and keep holding on to Him (if I could encourage you with no other words).
Smiles and blessings to you Robert!

At 7:33 AM, Blogger Gary Means said...

Hi Robert,
What would it take to calm the fear of death that you harbour? Does it stem from an inability to trust God? If that is the case, then is it death that you fear, or something beyond death? Is it God's rejection and eternal estrangement that you fear? Or, is it the moment of death? Or, is it what death represents, the finality of life, with all the potential choices and experiences of life terminated?

Unfortunately, I haven't read much of your blog for a while, so I can't remember how you might answer this.

In myh case, I think I got to the point where it was just too painful to worry about God's potential rejection any longer. While in many ways, I do not trust God. But I have a mustard seed of faith that His grace will be sufficient. And if it is not, then there is nothing I can do about it. I cannot believe differently than I do. I can seek Him more fervently, but really, is that what He wants? I can seek to serve Him more ardently. But if that is done out of fear, I don't believe He desires such works.

So in the end, I am back where I started, with feeble faith. But though it is weak, it IS.

Am I still afraid? A little, yes. But it has lost most of its power, most of its influence in my life. Is this something I have worked up, the result of a plan on my part. Not at all. It is more that I have been so beat down by life that I have given up fighting to earn God's love. I am trying, yes, I am trying to learn to rest in Him. And for me, that is a matter of focus. Yes, perhaps that's it, I do not focus on the fear as I used to do.

Well, this is a reallllly long comment. sorry for the rambling, but I suspect you don't mind.


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