Monday, May 31, 2010
JUNE RADICAL EXPRESSION
THOUGH I RARELY WRITE REFERRING TO BIBLICAL OR OTHER SACRED WORKS, THIS FELT AN APPROPRIATE REFERENCE TO BEGIN THIS MONTH OF FATHERS DAY. THE STORY OF THE PRODIGAL MAY BE FOUND IN THE NEW TESTAMENT BOOK OF LUKE, THE FIFTEENTH CHAPTER.
There is a special sacred place in the mountains of North Carolina that sooths my person and renews me in my Soulfulness. It is the tiny community of Montreat, several glorious acres that the Great Spirit has scooped out of the Black mountain range, and where the hush is as vibrant as any symphony you’ll ever hear. There is a Presbyterian retreat center, a tiny college, a pond masquerading as Lake Susan, a number of personal weekend and group lodgings, and a chapel I have spent many a silent hour within. It is called The Chapel of the Prodigal Son, and while as a physical structure it is relatively new, there is an ancient energy within its walls that captivates my heart as it inspires my contemplations. I have many a time climbed the steep staircase into the heights of the balcony, settled myself into the very last pew, and then exhaled my body into a submissive inner sigh. Though it is a building open to the public, there is seldom a sound save the beating of my heart. I love to first close my eyes and center myself into the feeling of home this prayerful place invokes. Then I open my eyes and my inner being to begin and take in the ceiling to floor fresco that is the back wall of this chapel on a hill.
I feel within me as I see before me a magnificent representation of the Biblical prodigal son as he has just returned to his fathers’ estate. This young man had asked and been granted his inheritance prior to his fathers death, which he promptly squandered in “riotous living.” After a stint of feeding pigs yet practically starving him, the sacred writings say that he “came to himself.” He remembered that he still had a living father that had great wealth beyond what he had been bequeathed. He trusted that though he had acted unconsciously and very unskillfully, his father was the kind of parent that would at some level welcome him back into his home. He goes back to the estate of his birth, and while he is yet a long way off, a servant informs his father that his wayward son is approaching. His father runs to meet him, forgetting and completely forgiving the young man of his earlier transgressions. He hugs and hovers over his exhausted son, attending to his aching physicality and bruised emotionality.
I need not elaborate on the spiritual lesson to be found in this ancient parable. The Source of all we are is always moving toward us experientially as we “come to ourselves” in remembrance of our birthright. It seems to be coming to us, for in It we are forever contained. It is our awakening to that Truth that brings to us the deep feeling of coming home.
While I have at many times felt like that wayward son, it was on a dark and rainy afternoon in the heights of that chapel that a startling realization came to me. This internal aha washed over me like a warm wave of comforting water. I realized that though I had spiritually enjoyed the feeling of being the son being met by the forgiving father, the time had come in my own sacred emergence to step into the role of father for my own internal rebellious boy. Though I am forever Sourced, contained, and a part of the First Cause masculine Principle, I must step into a role of empowered choice while here in this earth realm. I must actively engage my own Divine Will in terms of choosing which identity I will serve. Though I have squandered the inheritance of a Law that works in every whit for my favor, I must forgive that unconscious part of me in order to mature into a higher choice. I must run to meet the story identified Taylor, the one who seeks to outrun the demands of evolving beyond what I have been in the past. If I have spiritually starved, it is only been because I have made choices which do not feed. If I have lost myself in my own version of riotous living, it is me who needs to stop the mental story telling and the deadening behaviors. It is me who needs to father the son, in order to Know the Source.
Perhaps this story is more meaningful to me because I did not have a father to run to me in my fearfulness or to welcome me in my return. This hole in my experience had previously left me longing for that fatherly relation. The patriarchal God of my Biblical past filled that emptiness for awhile. Yet it certainly has its own limitations. But what occurred to me so profoundly in the compassionate embrace of that back row pew is though I long identified with the plight of the prodigal son, it was the prodigal father within myself that I needed to come to. I was the father that was missing in my experience. It is my turn now to run to that fatherless boy, and to welcome him home into this relentlessly loving heart. In the sentiment of that parables ending; I may rejoice now, for I was lost, and now am found. I was dead, yet now I live.
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