My doctoral research study is to examine community resilience after a mass shooting. This has been quite the undertaking and I declare that there were moments of the process that really tested my own resilience, patience, and fortitude. The last few days have been proof of this. My friends know of my feelings, and I have shared that my frustration is at one of the highest I’ve experienced in my lifetime. At times, I sense as though I could bite through six feet of concrete. It has been that intense! 🙂 Then there are days my imagination takes me to honeyed places. Like, eating sweet grapes under a great oak tree. Like, long hugs. Like, walking bare feet in the warm sand of my homeland. Like, saying I love you to a love every day…Allowing the element of imagination to flow, is quite healing.
Before I took on this endeavor, friends who have been down this path told me that there would be days as the ones described above. There would be triumphs, but mostly trials. Yet, they’ve all said, though it took at least six months after graduation to realize the process was complete, the end results were worth it. Some love the idea of Ph.D. behind their signatures, while others are pleased with the recognition and the opening of doors for their causes, this title brings. I know that I will be cast in the latter. My lazy lack of competitive nature helps with this. I love to see people do their thing and be recognized for making a difference. As for me, I feel that the competition with myself through this process is enough. I have no desire to compete for anything ever again. I just want to work with my clients, teach students, conduct research studies, and offer counseling to those in my community, when needed, take long walks, brush my dogs, plant my garden, do my crafts, snuggle with bottomless love, travel to the places I haven’t been, and yes, eat grapes under an oak tree. I have no desire to prove anything right now, and know that at the end of this journey, I won’t either. I am a great cheerleader for others. As, I am great cheerleader for me. As God is a great cheerleader to me.
It is not physical beauty or temporal glory or the brightness light dear to earthy eyes, or sweet melodies of all kinds of songs, or the gentle odor of flowers and ointments and perfumes, or manna or honey, or limbs welcoming the embrace of the flesh; it is not these I love when I love my God. Yes, there is a light I love, and a food, and a kind of embrace when I love my God—a light, a voice, odor, food, embrace of my innerness, where my soul is a floodlight by light which space cannot contain, where there is sound that time cannot seize, where there is a perfume, which no breeze disperses, where there is a taste of food no amount of eaten can lessen, where there is a bond of unison that no satiety can part. That’s what I love when I love my God.
Though the days behind me have been rough, what has been apparent is that my everyday sense of humor has been elevated. It’s indeed better to laugh on the days I want to cry. It is better to laugh, eat, and dance, with God. Careful self-expression and not undisciplined self-restraint, has been the package I open each day. No, they are not false jargons. For instead they cover the past, of people and moments, occasionally still so close to my heart, and in its place come a delicate covering of elegance. I raise my head each morning from the softness of my smooth pillow cases and move right into the silky newness of the day. Thoughts, love, discernment, compassion, agreements, encouragement, joy, and peace is a large group made to trump whatever despair or ugliness I hold on to sometimes. This passionate group only comes from God.
The light at the end of the tunnel is there to lead me through the door of completion. Mark 4:21-22; Luke 8:16-17 address the Parable of the Lamp and Light. After spending time in these two verses, this morning, I’ve come to know that the light at the end of tunnel not only stands waiting for me, but is removing the doubtful shadow I sporadically throw. The concise style of Mark’s writing omits other areas of Jesus’ parables, I can find in Matthew and others. Turning the pages, I sought out what Matthew had to say concerning lamp (5:15) and light. The most profound piece of this is that unlike Mark’s succinct approach, Matthew connects the lamp with The Sower…. The Sower of God’s light. Jesus has asked us to shine our lights toward others (Luke 8:16). His life was planned at every moment. He came to show us the way through the unfoldment of God’s divine spirit. To make clear his truth. He came in full, but gentle, force to publish what God planted in him. Verbal transmissions is the book (The Bible) published in so many languages. The one, which brings healing to the world. The one many know of, but are too busy to open. The very one I go to in times of contentment and frustration, as well.
In my core faith we say “I’ll hold the Light for you”. We say this in place of “I’ll pray for or with you.” We hold on to the lamp at our feet guiding us to the ultimate Light of truth.
In these challenging times, may God, Our Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, be the only Light of comfort we seek.
In Jesus’ name, Amen!
My Spoken words, but God’s written words in the Bible are what soothes my soul.
Join my YouTube community.