Day One #moderndaydesertmother

Some bad things happened. Really bad things……I came to understand the agony with which people come to me when they talk about how much they have been hurt by the church. The only difference is that God and I were fine – unlike most of them, God for me is distinct from church. For many, the distinction simply cannot be made.

So, what did I do?

I am standing in a room so empty that the slightest noise echoes so the unique sound of a paint roller on a wall is magnified. Swish…..swish……the smell of fresh paint fills the air. Swish……swish……I can hear my heart beats and feel my breath take on the rhythm of the paint roller……..in…..out…….swish……swish…….
It is the same kind of smell, sound, and feeling that comes with a good cup of tea, a fresh morning after a night of gentle rain. It’s the ambience of serenity and refreshment…..baptism……..swish…….swish……
Our desert fathers and mothers went away from the world deliberately to seek out God in God’s entirety. They did not go to “church.” They did assemble themselves in a fashion but their existence was such that they stayed in tune with that place, that feeling, that awareness of other, of more, of not of this earth…..swish……swish……

Taking leave from ministry used to be viewed as a punishment or that something was wrong with you. We are slowly recapturing the desire of our desert fathers and mothers as the world becomes a place filled with the wrong kind of noise and feelings. Many of us have experienced religious entities that have left God. They are the great pretenders but they reveal themselves by their inauthenticity, by their lack of love, faith in God, worship of God, and by their lack of swish. There is no peace or serenity present. There is only judgment, manipulation, mean tricks, nasty little games, the lack of concern for whom they harm, conflict, the fight for power, worship of themselves and their deeds, love for only themselves and those like them…….there is no swish…….

I came to a point where I was diagnosed with PTSD and I was a clergyperson in a church……a person who prayed, took walks, and is not delicate or people-pleasing. The cruelty from a small group within the church was never-ending…..it was demonic and self-promoting. It was instigated by another clergyperson. I lasted a few years and then I could take no more. When I went to my leadership, I discovered that those who do not play the game are the ones who are cast out. I was not to tell the truth, I was to take the blame, and I was the one who was sent to the desert…..the irony is, I had already been residing there for a while so it had become home.

Swish………swish…….in……..out…….my heart beats are echoed back to me in the emptiness and silence of the room. I decided that I was not on a retreat. I was on an advance. That is what our desert parents were teaching us. Retreat has become synonymous with failure when to retreat for your soul is an advance. To do God work, to connect with the divine, to see and accept the truth even if others cannot. An advance………

As I flip this house, I will flip my soul. As I paint walls, I will paint God into the farthest depths of my being. As I rip out walls and take up flooring, I will rip out all memory of the horror and as I tear down walls, I will tear down the last of the PTSD symptoms. I am on #advance to #soulflip…….a #moderndaydesertmother

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