May 13, 2006

Up The Mountain

If you haven't read it yet, first read: We're Not Dating Anymore

I wrote the following not long ago, and it never seemed more timely to post:

A couple of years ago I experienced my own dark night of the soul. Or as I like to call it now, my middle-class white girl's tragedy. It started with a bad breakup and continued into the unraveling of my spiritual life. Well, they often talk about the spiritual life as a path, or a journey. Mine seemed more like a hike up Mount Everest. With no parka.

Add love to the equation and: no sherpa either. The men I dated had the creativity, vision and cojones. Vision, that's what made them attractive to me. However, their visions included a creative life, but not a spiritual one. My vision was for God. That was the road I was on. So dating these men, particularly the last one: was like trying to climb a mountain. The Mountain to God. The man could only go so far before he stopped: “I can't go with you. I don't find God in church."
“Well, I do find God there,” I replied. “Or at least, that's the best place I know to look.”
He never would. He couldn't, or wouldn’t, walk the mountain any further.
I went on ahead alone.

And as soon as I rounded the next hill, I saw that the trail washed out: There was no safe, real church anymore. It was just the "hair gel churches" with the Purpose Driven Life programs, all the answers fit into a box. I was devastated. I'd never felt that alone and abandoned by God, ever.

I tried to run back down the mountain, but the bridge was washed out. There was no way down. And no trail up either. What was I supposed to do? I could no longer NOT go up the mountain. I had to press onward, I had to find him. Even if it meant climbing up the rocks, even if I fell to my death. I had no other choice.

That's where I left the story in my darkest hour. I had no choice but to keep walking.

In the last year, my hike up this mountain started to show some life, some purpose. I'd started to see a vision for my life: my writing, my relationships and friendships, teaching, whatever, all were connected in a way, to help others up the mountain. Others that the church wouldn’t touch: lesbians and new-agers and writers and yoga friends … walking with them up the Mountain of the Lord. That's what I knew I was supposed to do.

And in a short few months, I realize now, I reached the next chapter. It looks something like this:

I’ve got enough strength to keep walking up the mountain. I reach a rest stop. And who should be there, sitting under a tree, but a man. A man with wild hair and an earring and glints of danger in his blue eyes.

"Where are you going?" he asks.
"I don't know. I just know it's up the mountain." I tell him.
"The Mountain of God?"
"Yes! That’s it. Is He up there?
"He's up there alright."
"How do you know, Have you made it to the top?!" I ask him, scared and excited.
"I've been a ways up the hill already."
"Why'd you come back down?"
"To wait."
"Wait for what?"
" You mean, 'wait for whom.' There's a big rock up the hill, you can only get over it if you have a partner. I was waiting for someone to walk with."

"How long have you been waiting?" I ask.
"A long time. Not many people climb up this far."

I feel calm now. I feel good and clean and strong. As if God is smiling on me for getting here, and he’s saying, keep walking. I don't feel so tired.

The man under the tree jumps to his feet. He's lean and wiry and wild, like he seems dangerous. Dangerous in the best kind of way. Like he's got a secret you need to know. He seems familiar, like I already know him.

"It's time. Are you coming with me?"
I hesitate.
"You can't go up much further alone."
"I barely know you."
"You know me," he answers.

His mouth is straight and grave but his eyes are wild and alive with that dangerous secret. And I realize why he looks so familiar. I know him from every dream I've had about walking up this mountain. I recognize his face, the way I know I'll recognize the face of God when I see Him.

"Well, but do YOU know ME?" I press him.
"Yes I do. You're the one I was waiting for."

And he holds out his hand. I look down and I see, there's a trail under my feet. Very faint, as if maybe only one or two people have walked it. I think this man has. I think I'll go with him.


rrrhondita said...

Tears again, each time I read it. What a beautiful, creative, healing picture, my most talented friend!

Anonymous said...

Wonderful, wonderful. Oh yeah, and wonderful. Congrats, and keep writing about this journey! Martha

jbg965 said...

Even reading this for the second time I still got goosebumps. What powerful and profound writing! And how full of truth. It reminds me of a contemporary "Pilgrim's Progress." Jessica

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