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The Irresistible Invitation

I hear your call: the invitation. Your call is insistent, almost irresistible…

and yet I hesitate,

vacillate;

hand10I see your outstretched hand, and I want to…

It’s just that I’m afraid and

hence the air of bravado, the gregariousness

that I despise in others: the stupid sham.

But I put it on anyway, even in layers.

I pretend to believe that it covers me,

covers the bruises left by emotional abuse;

the scars left by rejection.

I smile the smile that has dazzled hundreds, laying it on thick,

surprised and dismayed that it never fails to fool the rest. Aye, the fools!

The heartless fools. But you were never deceived.

I wink the wink that has smitten them in droves,

pucker and pout and raise and eyebrow: make a suggestion

that leaves them thinking they thought of it

and baby somebody’s gonna get hurt, but I’ll make sure it’s not me.

Oh, God! They don’t SEE…

But I know you see. With loving eyes

you penetrate the disguise

removing each layer (OW! Could you be more gentle?!) as I wince in pain

embarrassed and ashamed.

You don’t blanch at the ugliness, the stench of ill-treated sores.

You dress my wounds, bathing them in your tears (of joy?)

It is for this that you have called to me!

And now I recognize you for the Wounded Healer that you are.

I want you for my own!

…But you have others to attend to…

2007. Dedicated to Henry J. Nouwen, author of “The Wounded Healer.”

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BRAZEN, by Camelia Flores

51UZpSYF6rL__SS140_SH35_This is a book I wrote a couple of years ago, much to the embarrassment of some people dear to me. And yet, it is a story very dear to my heart. It is still for sale on Amazon; this cover is from the paperback version. If you do not understand Bipolar Disorder with extreme psychosis, paranoia, and schizophrenia, then you may not be prepared to read this short book. Your thoughts?

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Some thoughts on “Living in the Presence”

presenceAs I mentioned on the ABOUT page, I’m a book lover. For me there is NOTHING like a good read. I’d like to share with you a couple of my thoughts on a book I read back in 2007 when I was doing graduate work at Wake Forest. This post contains a piece of what I wrote back then:

I like the way Tilden Edwards takes hard subject matter and makes it seem almost as natural and easy as breathing.  In his book, Living in the Presence, he encourages us to remember that “each of us is an adventure of God’s Spirit.” What powerful and liberating words. What a refreshing thought.

For much of my life I have anguished over my vocation and my spiritual growth. What exactly am I suppose to be? Am I moving down the road quickly enough to make it there? Who can help and mentor me? Will my irredeemable faults like procrastination and lack of discipline finally prevent me from fulfilling whatever is my destiny? Why the hell does everyone else seem to be doing fine?!

Sometimes I have felt that indeed my own probing, contemplative mind has been the very key to my misery. I have sometimes wished rather to be one who is clueless, alien to the angst of ever-questioning, and ever searching.! What bliss there must be in the simplicity of not knowing that there are spiritual depths to be plumbed and spiritual mountains to climb. In this regard, the words of Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz in her Response to Sor Filotea deeply resonate with me: Although it has not worked in my favor, God has granted me the favor of loving truth above all else” (Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz, in Poems, Protest, and a Dream, Introduction, xxvi).

And yet, here are Edwards’ words like fresh water for a weary traveler. I am one who has felt what he refers to as “a fever of our undernourished, deepest nature (9) and have tried to cure that fever through greater sensuality. I have sought gratification through educational and financial pursuits. I have tired to quell the deep aching, the longing, the incessant gnawing in the void…But Edwards’ words have a strange, settling effect even as I quiver in anticipation of more; will I be satisfied?

Will I be one who recognized that “contemplation is not an experience to be gained, but an eternal identity to be realized” (5)? If I faithfully put into practice the spiritual exercises he suggests, will I cease my attempt to “possess this way of being” in favor of “relinquishing [my]self into participation in it” (5)?

Edwards’ words open for us a plethora of possibilities. For instance, saying that we are an adventure of God’s spirit suggests that God may have already (happily) planned for more than one outcome! And adventure is like a pleasant experiment; pleasant because there are various anticipations not only about the end result, but about the experiment itself. Of course there are precautionary measures taken in advance to deal with those possibilities. there is precious little dread or trepidation in an adventure, but utter joy and delight in the promise of new discoveries. Is it possible that God could be like this? I for one like to imagine God this way!

Tilden Edwards’ book offers us much to think on and new ways to imagine God. It helps take the pressure off to accomplish something or get somewhere and enables us to slow down and enjoy the journey.