After dodging the cold everyone else had over the holidays, I am sniffling my way through the second week of 2015. It’s nothing terrible, but enough to keep me at home and quiet, limiting my activities to what is necessary or can be done without a lot of moving about: enough laundry for everyone to have clean sheets and clothes, enough cooking for meals and lunch boxes, necessary emails, and some writing will be enough for today. I’ll rest now rather than be forced to do so by escalating symptoms and secondary infections.
When I let go of my usual activities, I move into a different reality. I quiet my body, mind, heart, and soul. I become acutely aware of this time and this place: breathing, the rain on the window, the scent of candles recently lit. I come upon myself as a self rather than as an active agent in this or that context. A self held by God and aware of it.
I don’t need a cold to let go and quiet my self. Prayer and meditation, walking or looking at the ocean can get me there, too. Anywhere and any time, I can let go and give myself back to God. But there’s a cost. Spending time as a full self before God will cost me my faith in and fixation on all the partial selves that are happy to be limited to activities and accomplishments, worries and inabilities – the idolatry of brokenness and pessimism, the lure of surface spirituality, the misguided values that shred the soul and damage the body. Why does it often take an illness to give to God the very things that kill my soul?