Ok, I am going to try to articulate this thing that has been lurking in my background for the last few days.
Wednesday I posted My Thoughts Today on CL. The word "Today" in that title was purposefully placed, as I know that my thoughts today are not necessarily going to be adequate for tomorrow. That's the nature of living and growing, neh?
I've been in the middle of a spiritual battle. I was going to say I'm fighting it, but I think it is more that the Holy Spirit has been contending with my resident demons, to use a phrase I don't necessarily intend literally. So, what's my big deal? This is embarrassing. We changed locations for our School of Community. We had been meeting in a home and now we are meeting in a parish room. So, how could that possibly be a big deal? Well, I have issues. It is hard work for me to walk into a room of people when there is an expectation of equality among everyone. (That is, walking into a lecture hall or Mass is a completely different kettle of fish; it's not the crowd, it's the role.) I don't have a word for what this trouble is for me, but it is not shyness. I guess it is about the apprehension of communicating. And it's not that I fear speaking. It is certainly not a fear of sharing my innermost thoughts, per se. (If it were I certainly wouldn't be plastering them all over the internet!)
I think it boils down to this: I find it difficult to be with my real heart and speak from it to people, and because I find this process difficult, actually successfully doing it breeds an intense sense of belonging -- community, I suppose, it is called -- and an even more intense desire for the same. I've mentioned before how my intensity can unnerve me. I hadn't realized until recently how much the School of Community is for me this sense of community, and therefore a candidate to unleash that intensity thing. Community is in a way something my entire being screams out for. I guess deep down I know that group dynamics head generally towards either the insipid (this is probably the norm, and I have come to cope with it; I value that there are other breathing human beings in my midst), or the inspiring. When it is the latter, well, I realize my heart wants to grab the other hearts and squeeze them until we all burst... It's just that little task of translating that into something friendly, warm and real that doesn't freak me out, freak others out, or get me arrested.
So, what is the trigger of all these revelations?
This sense of community that I've experienced was tied, symbolically in my mind, to that room where we met. We moved to a different room, and suddenly I felt like Sisyphus. The rock I had put so much effort into pushing up came crushing back down on me, and all my felt growth became felt futility, with this intense desire for community serving as a gasoline bomb, to give a spectacular pyrotechnic effect to the rock crushing back down. It sounds, feels, is so irrational to me as I write it. How could physical surroundings have this much affect on me? Me, the non-visual one? Whatever it is, I wrestled with why the heck can't I be just a normal person and move forward with life and not get thrown by things like this. Why does it have to be so freaking hard to just talk to people without getting all messed up in my head? I was tempted with just junking the whole CL experience and walking away. And I am sucked back into it all by what I have gleaned from CL itself, not doing violence to my humanity, accepting this &*$%# intensity, and staying open to my fellow sojourners in Christ.
A scream would feel good right now. AAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!
Ok. I am still obviously in a process here. But I realize that that's sorta what life in Christ is all about. I thought about the man with the shriveled hand that Jesus healed. Jesus tells him to stand up in front of everyone and stick out his hand. Jesus could have healed him without that detail, but the man needed to get in touch with that devastating handicap that had undoubtedly shaped his life. To say, yep, that useless thing is mine. It sure has caused me a lot of pain. What do you want with it? Oh, you want to heal it? Heal me? You know, I've never had two hands before. I don't really know how to use two hands. And I'm kinda old now. I'll be spending the rest of my life re-figuring out my life because of this healing, but, thanks, Lord, I think.
So I'm in the School of Community with my healed shriveled hand that I'm trying to figure out, and I discover that the person next to me had leprosy and has to cope with lost decades, another person was blind and still gets completely distracted by looking at everything, another person was deaf and sometimes goes nuts now hearing every last detail, and so on. Jesus has healed us all, but in other ways we have more troubles now than when we were comfortably and miserably disabled. But it's not even all about our needs; it is all about His purposes. And part of His purpose is that we come together as a sign of hope for all those who have not yet experienced healing.
I've needed to work these thoughts out because -- HAH! -- on Tuesday I'm supposed to talk for five minutes about how the School of Community has affected my life. Oh Lord, You have such a sense of humor! Of course I've known all along that impending thing meant I will find the light I need by then.