No Rules?

I’m reading “Deeper Than Words: Living the Apostle’s Creed” by Br. David Stendl-Rast. Brother David takes me places that make me uncomfortable.

If I am honest, I have to admit that the majority of the time I define myself by how well I follow the rules — my goodness, or lovability is defined by how well I keep the rules. I suspect that I am not alone in this. Br. David always seems to challenge me to look beyond. His call is to reflect on times when I was aware of belonging. He challenges me to live in the now, and to find Me (well, to find “I”). The title of this blog reflects this: Journey to myself.

The problem or discomfort comes, not from the wonderful freedom and joy of belonging (being at one with all of creation), but the fact that the moments and events in my life that allow me to see/be this seem to be the times when I have let go of the rules and forgotten to measure myself by how well I follow the rules. Some of these moments have been when I truly let go of all that I hold to be right and proper and maybe sacred. How do I know how I am doing if I lose the measuring stick?

That seems to be so fundamental — to stop the self-judgment, to be, to love and be loved. And it is often so very difficult. I find that I am torn between the freedom and letting go, and the desire to be in control and measure things out. I desire the freedom and joy, and I’m terrified by the possibility that I might be able to live that way, at least some of the time. Deacon Sam often stresses that we are “human beings” not “human doings.” I want to believe him and understand, and at the same time it frightens me a bit.

I ask myself “Why does this frighten me?”

All I can come up with at this moment is that the letting go is what Jesus describes as dying to self. Yep. Nature is full of it: a seed falls to the ground dies to its existence as a seed — it grows into a plant. A caterpillar spins a cocoon, and ceases to the a caterpillar but emerges as a butterfly. The same DNA, the same being, but different. I know the rules of being a seed or a caterpillar. I may not like it, but it is familiar.

I’ll continue with the book. I’ll continue to work at releasing my grip on what I think I can control. I will breathe. I will rest in the present. I will be what I am. And, then, I will try to remember that it’s not about winning and losing, succeeding and failing, but about being here. Now.

Amen.

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