Bible Verse: “See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him because we shall see him as he is.” 1 John 3:1-2, ESV
Scripture Reading: Psalm 139:1-24
Who are you? We ask that of God. We ask it of others. We ask it of ourselves. It’s a question that stands at the heart of the reflective life. Deep calling to deep takes shape around a single inquiry: Who are you? We keep asking, though we never get a full or fully satisfying answer this side of heaven.
Who are you? Who are you, God, wife, child, friend, self?
To push ever deeper into this mystery, to pry ever further into this discovery, is the ongoing work of reflection.
But reflection flourishes only in rest: stopping long enough to coax out and face things inmost and utmost, things hidden, things lost, things avoided.
I knew a man who took two weeks to walk in silence and solitude in the Highlands of Wales. He kept company with stones and fields and cold, starry nights. At first, the journey was a reprieve, a needed break from his life’s clutter and scatter. But around the fourth night, something shifted.
He grew terribly afraid, but not of wolves, ghosts, brigands, or storms. He sensed something shadowy and naked stalking him, edging ever closer. He was afraid of himself.
Solitude unlatched a cellar in him, someplace where memories and longings and fears lay buried, locked up so long he’d almost forgotten them.
After many days, he began to see things he had not seen for years, some for a lifetime. He saw how he avoided closeness with other people, the subtle ways he sabotaged this and made it look as if the other persons were to blame. He saw how he had become busy as a way of eluding his sense of emptiness and insignificance. He saw that all his many accomplishments had never removed from him a primal fear that he was a fraud—and soon to be exposed.
At the end of the two weeks, he knew himself in a way he had never imagined.
“It was as if I met myself for the first time. I felt I returned from that two weeks with a soul mate. Or maybe I just returned with a soul.”