Wednesday September 3, 2014 – Chicago Camp, Elwah River
Happy Birthday, Rick.
Woke up to clear, perfectly clear skies. As the sun came up, it drove mist from the trees still dripping from yesterday’s soaking. I’m so happy that I got what I wanted. I have such feelings of GRATITUDE.
Now – it hits me: I am often repenting of being an ingrate. But I am not primarily un-grateful. In fact, I am arguably a more-than-average-grateful-person.
I am a pagan.
Fundamentally – my relationship with God is a negotiation. I work an economy with Him to get what I want. Even obedience and intimacy with Him is valued against the “currency” or WHAT DAN WANTS. I’m totally thankful when I get it, it’s true. But to get what I want, is why I seek God.
Have mercy on me.
As I quietly sang a cadence on my way up to Low divide, I found I could not sing “10,000 Reasons” anymore. It’s dishonest. As a pagan, I don’t know how to “worship his Holy Name…” I realized that this might be part of my long running discomfort with corporate worship.
I CAN sing “Thank You, Lord” and mean it. That’s something. I don’t feel too much shame about it. “Blessed are the poor in spirit…” after all.
Wednesday September 3, 2014 – Low Divide Pass
I’m sitting in exactly the same spot I did 11 years ago, where I experienced such overwhelming feelings of GRATITUDE. Re-reading my journal from that moment brought it back vividly; how potently thankful I was. How aware of and how moved by God’s love and protection I was. Perhaps it’s time to move beyond gratitude.
Wednesday September 3, 2014 – 12 Mile Camp, Quinalt River
Merton says, “To consider persons and events and situations only in light of their effect upon myself is to live on the doorstep of hell.” If this statement is true (and I have no reason to believe it is not) then it includes being grateful. In fact, one could make the case that gratitude is more intensely self-focused than any other emotional state.
That line of thinking has returned me to the issue of pride throughout the day. Selfishness. It’s the downfall of the 2-type (Enneagram Personality typing). Do I think that I DESERVE good weather? Do I really think that I’m that special? Was I really a spoiled brat as a child? I need to ask Brian. (one of my older brothers)
On the last trip, I spent some time – significant time – on the issue of dad’s high value of independence and self-sufficiency, and how my lack of these was a source of shame. Merton seems to affirm my healing from that shame with this: “I have an instinct that tells me I am less free when I am living for myself alone. The reason for this is I can not be completely independent.”
Linking my “selfish pride” to what turns out as a false value (independence) – which I never really embraced and for so long considered myself a failure because of it – is a double blessing.
Imagine a man who is trapped in a dark, enclosed space with 10 matches. To his intense frustration, he tries to light each match, with no success until all 10 are gone. In his moment of despair, he notices a crack of light entering the room near the place he has dropped the ruined, un-lit matches. He recognizes it as a previously unseen door – and he escapes. Only once outside the darkness of the room does he discover that the room was quietly filing with odorless, combustible gas, and that if he had succeed in striking even one of those matches, the room would have been engulfed in flames.
The next step for me lies somewhere outside myself.
It’s been 11 years. I know some things now.
The time for self-analysis as a primary concern may be coming to an end.
I have taught others: “Your 30’s are for learning to know God. You’re 40’s are for learning to know yourself…”
50’s – service?