Even now, says the Lord, return to me with your whole heart.
- Joel 2:12
Come, come, whoever you are. Wanderer, worshiper, lover of leaving. It doesn't matter. Ours is not a caravan of despair. Come, even if you have broken your vows a thousand times. Come, yet again, come, come. **(See video below) - Rumi
Two summers ago, I was taking an online course with a favorite Buddhist teacher. Midway through the course, he posed a thought that really grabbed me and offered great comfort. It’s a lesson I’m quick to forget and re-membering myself to it, almost always offers great comfort. The teaching is what he calls, “the elasticity of time.” He offered that, since the past has already happened and exists as a memory, and since the future is purely potential that merely exists in our imagination, in truth, the present moment holds BOTH the past and the future. We needn’t push-pull ourselves between either extreme but rather, we can notice current time and space as the place that understands and knows all that has been. AND is ready to receive all that will be, in a spacious, elastic sort of way.
And now, when I’m lost in nostalgia, or regretting something I did that’s already occurred; OR when I’m worried and anticipating the things that have not yet happened, I catch myself. It takes a couple of seconds to see I’m deep in a rabbit hole and then, something else happens… Do you know this feeling?
For me, it feels a bit like waking up and realizing I have an unscheduled Saturday. I instantly feel my interior rest in That Which Is Greater (God). I do not have to fix the past (not anymore than I have already tried), nor do I need to solve for all the anticipated hurdles I cannot confirm will actually happen.
This experience of resting is, I think, is what Lent asks of us – that we re-member ourselves to the great, loving Source who holds us always (even when we forget). And that we, upon re-membering, return to Divinity’s intimate embrace. May we know we are part of God’s vast web, simultaneously contributing to and receiving from a deep, multi-dimensional flow of Grace that has been, and will be, and Is. And from this place – the, “elasticity of time,” – may we move and act and serve as the living Body of Christ.
Where do you tend to get most lost – in the past, or the future? Where do you do your best re-membering? What does Returning feel like for you?
About Lauren: Lauren lives in Berkeley, CA. She serves as Dean at The Chaplaincy Institute (ChI), an interfaith seminary and tends her private practice as a spiritual director. You can read Lauren’s blog at: http://www.laurenvanham.com/
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