Friday, May 29, 2020

Merton's apple

James Finley, a student of Thomas Merton, recounted this lesson that Merton once taught him: (from Merton’s Palace of Nowhere by James Finley)

“Merton once told me to quit trying so hard in prayer. He said: "How does an apple ripen? It just sits in the sun." A small green apple cannot ripen in one night by tightening all its muscles, squinting its eyes and tightening its jaw in order to find itself the next morning miraculously large, red, ripe, and juicy beside its small green counterparts. Like the birth of a baby or the opening of a rose, the birth of true self takes place in God’s time. We must wait for God, we must be awake; we must trust in his hidden action within us.”

Have patience with the process; it's all in God's time, not mine. This is the message I've been getting over and over again, in different words, from different sources, over the past few days.

It started when I sat on the pier, staring into the heavy fog, asking God what's next. The fog, my own personal "Cloud of Unknowing," hid everything from view. Eventually the fog will lift, but I may never know what's next in my life. It may be nothing. Can I accept that?

At about the same time I got a slightly different insight into Psalm 46:10--"Be still and know that I am God." In the past, my interpretation of the verse has been a call to quiet, to listening for God's voice in the midst of the clamor of daily life. But I saw it from a slightly different angle--it seemed to say to stop moving, stop trying to make things happen, and let God do what God does. 

Last night I sat outside in the dark, trying not to think too hard, or even pray too hard, listening to the quiet sound of the waves on the Bay. We're all living through dark days, but I've heard it said that God works best in the darkness. And a peace washed over me as I sat in the dark. I stopped striving, stopped trying to figure out what He wants, what I need, what it all means. I just let it be and told Him that I want to give up the fight. I submit, Lord--your will be done.

No comments:

Post a Comment