Monday, November 02, 2009

Unpredictable Paths of Grace

Falling

When you grow up like I did, you try to know-it-all. Everything depends on it. Supposedly.

It has been a long time since "growing up", but still some strange place in your head never quite forgives you for not holding together what was never in your power to hold together anyhow— your parent's marriage, hoped-for joys of holidays and ordinary days quashed by volatility, or some other such thing.

Trying to be right, to know it all, brings the need for control; after all, it's so much easier to be right when you understand the playing field, have set the boundary lines yourself, inasmuch as that is possible.

Then along comes Life with a suggestion: let go, drift. In May's The Wisdom of Wilderness: Experiencing the Healing Power of Nature, he takes this suggestion and experiences Creation as it is. There's a sense of encounter, immediacy, Presence that May cannot control.

For one year, I too felt such an invitation. Let go. Drift with golden grasses, morning dew, the stars. Then it came to an end, partly because my commitment was finished, but perhaps too because God knew it was time to set me in a new place of encounter, where I could not easily be in control.

Thus, my art pilgrimage, which I cannot explain in an authoritative way. On this pilgrimage, I work in media I never used before (soft pastel) in a form (abstract art) that I have virtually no experience producing.

At some point I must have wanted to relinquish the burden of being right, knowing-it-all (it is tiring, often perplexing). And this desire sent me on unlikely journeys— first into Creation, now into Art. As a Christian I would not have predicted such paths. Aren't there more "Christiany" travel plans God should have suggested?

No, I could not have predicted the importance of Creation and Art in my grace journey. But maybe this surprise is part of relinquishing the burden too.

"Falling" in soft pastels, by L.L. Barkat.

OTHER BOOK CLUB POSTS:
Glynn's In White Tanks
Monica's Stars and Sunrise

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21 Comments:

Blogger Glynn said...

Letting it all go is scary. The world tells us over and over -- plan, manage, control, guide, direct, take control, you're in charge, just do it. And of course, it's all a lie. It's not the "let go and let God" thing -- that's our own version of the lie. It's more like -- wait, listen, be open and be ready to move.

10:55 AM  
Blogger Megan Willome said...

Keep falling, L.L.

12:01 PM  
Blogger FaithBarista Bonnie said...

I see now, why we have a connection. Letting go .. and drifting has become primetime endeavor for me. What once was only background has become foreground: writing, music, and art.

I, too grew up in control, as oldest in a single parent family. Practical and resourceful. Now, God has given me a new name: faith-seeking and dependant-on-Him.

I love what Glynn said in his comment .. "wait, listen, be open and be ready to move." What a wonderful position we must work hard to remain in!

What a personal post- Thnx for a glimpse into you!

12:13 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

How I relate to this one, L.L.

I never thought of it as knowing it all, rather, it seemed like I had to be the best...just to feel mediocre. Had to go above and beyond just to feel accepted.

Still catch myself here sometimes. Sometimes He catches me. And He whispers to me, "Let it go. You are better than just good enough. You are my Beloved."

And, in knowing that, I can let go and fall into Him.

But is seems like I have to keep learning this lesson. Repeatedly.

12:51 PM  
Anonymous Maureen said...

Just yesterday my husband and I had a long talk about what needs to be "let go". As Glynn wrote, letting go is scary, because it means you have to become vulnerable. Letting go takes trust, in oneself and in the other offering help along the way. It takes faith. It takes acceptance. It takes just being.

2:23 PM  
Blogger Erin said...

More "Christiany" pursuits might present my flesh with another opportunity to feel authoritative. Might tempt me to grasp onto knowledge rather than grace. To wear my experience as a badge (or a crown).

I have been intrigued by my inability to articulate what Jesus does in me through art and nature. Sometimes I don't even understand where we are going together. I've not been given a map for this journey. It's an intensely personal and intimate conversation that flies in the face of my provable, pragmatic, practical Christianity. It is hardly measurable.


I certainly haven't found anything else that leaves my flesh more tongue-tied. Which, I think, is a very good thing.

3:23 PM  
Blogger Monica Sharman said...

"Let go...drift..."
...Cease striving. And know that He is God. A lifelong learning process.

3:29 PM  
Blogger Jasmine said...

Beautiful!!

5:26 PM  
Blogger Solveig said...

I, for one, am grateful for your pilgrimages.

I first read this post a short time ago and decided to be so bold as to come back to offer a thought. It's one thing to know we can't hold things together with our mind and another to know we can't hold things together in our heart. Moving from head knowledge to heart knowledge makes all the difference. I know. God has done it for me on a couple of occasions--given me a knowing in the heart that I wasn't responsible--and removed the pain.

Unfortunately, now I need it again concerning a different time in history. It seems there's no end to our need for healing. And yet, I pray God speaks to you in such a way that the place of your knowing will be changed. Blessings.

7:07 PM  
Blogger deb said...

I wish to go back sometimes, and see where I might have wandered if I had been allowed to be a child. What paths I would have gone down..
I feel blessed to be witness to your continued swirling about L.L.,
and to all of us who continue to receive grace and feel the courage to skip along a little.

9:31 PM  
Blogger Linda said...

Our stories are so different. I grew up in a warm, loving home, and yet I still felt some of those same things. This need to be right, to have everyone's approval, to be in control of everything and everyone.

It is, for me, a life-long journey of learning to trust and find my true self and value in Him. One that is easy some days and such a struggle on others.

P.S. I love your art - all of it.

10:26 PM  
Blogger ~*Michelle*~ said...

As a control freak....."letting go/letting God" is always a struggle for me. But then I look back and see all the trainwrecks that happened when I thought I knew it all and try to do all the steering in my life.

Thanks for sharing a little more of yourself with this.....and keep it coming!

11:49 AM  
Blogger ~*Michelle*~ said...

Hi there! I couldn't find an email to reply to, so hopefully not abusing your comment section! :)

Thanks for popping in my world today. It meant alot to me that you took the time to leave the kind words. I admire your work and writing......happy you could decipher through my randomness and get the message I was trying to convey.

Peace~
*~Michelle~*

1:06 PM  
Blogger L.L. Barkat said...

Michelle, no worries at all. It's nice to hear your thoughts, your thanks.

1:22 PM  
Blogger S. Etole said...

Beautiful color and motion.

6:14 PM  
Blogger Amy said...

Tears are falling. Your words are illuminous and confirming, this is my journey at the moment too, where divine encounter forces trembling stillness. Of laying down the knowing, the striving, the weight of emptiness and floating on this sea of grace. In love, in broken love restored.

7:30 PM  
Blogger Bina @ Bina's Pad said...

"When you grow up like I did, you try to know-it-all. Everything depends on it. Supposedly."

I can so relate... Thank you for being willing to take people on your journey...I, for one, am touched by it.

Love the artwork...got my wheels turning as I looked at it.

:) Bina

7:31 PM  
Blogger Phoenix-Karenee said...

Living close to someone who refuses to let go, to stop managing, to believe that everything cannot be planned for and compensated,...this thought was so refreshing and helpful today. I'm encouraged by your honesty and openness.

A thought, inspired by you...

Controlling life is often the least creative thing we can do. When we limit the possibilities by the strenuous application of effort, planning, and control, we are left in a place where anything that goes wrong destroys everything we hold dear instead of merely being another redirection of the constantly adjusting life that comes with letting go. It's probably why art comes so naturally to those who are always ready to accept what comes their way and adapt to it.

(No idea if the above makes sense to anyone else, but thanks for helping me to find the moment. God certainly blesses us through others, and so often people we may never meet. Thanks for following Him to your current place.)

10:10 PM  
Blogger Erin said...

Phoenix- Karenee,
Thanks so much for that blessed thought! It makes perfect sense to me, and in fact, puts wonderful words to something I'm attempting with my children as we do art and go to nature.

Human beings are often times an inflexible people. Unable and unwilling to accept the twists and turns of life, sometimes even demanding that life happens on our terms- period. If it falls outside of our parameters we're done playing and retreat into our cocoon.

Nature, art, grace: good medicine for combating a stiff-necked approach to life.

10:20 AM  
Blogger Lorrie said...

I say often that I am trying to "balance abandonment". Sounds very oxymoronic doesn't it? I want to be that child God refers to... free, trusting, laughing off the skinned knees and loving unconditionally. Seems like such an easy thing to be.
Thanks for this post. It almost makes me cry but it also makes me take a long cleansing breath :-)

11:24 PM  
Blogger Joelle said...

Mmmm. I needed this today. Reminder that relinquishing and flowing uninhibited is good, blessed. Falling, out of control, in love.....

6:11 PM  

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