"God, whose love and joy are present everywhere, cannot come to visit you unless you are not there." -Angelus Silesuis, quoted by Richard Rohr
I'm not too sure why this statement is so appealing to me because I just don't get it. How about you?
It is a typical Richard Rohr paradox, right?
I cannot visit you unless I am not there!
Is this like saying that I must empty myself so that God can fill me?
Or do I ask myself: "Where should I go so that you, God, may visit me?"
Let's try that line for a bit. Where do I go? I thought that I was to move toward God so that we may connect and visit. That is what the disciples and apostles appear to do in the Christian scriptures. People are attracted to Jesus so they move to him to more fully experience the peace and healing of his power.
Ok, maybe something is stirring inside of me now.
As a disciple, what would I have to do in order for the teachings and actions of Jesus to make sense. If I enter the time and person of one of his disciples, I find myself on the fringe of society. I am one who is spurned by the mainstream, like the woman at the well, the woman caught in adultery, or the woman healed of the hemorrhage. (hmmmm? All women!) These are people of little value to the mainstream of society. They aren't there. They receive the fullness of healing and forgiveness without judgement.
How about the men who lower a friend through the roof of a house so Jesus could heal their friend? There was a centurion whose daughter was dying. There was a man with a withered hand. Each appeared to abandon reason to approach their healing. Did they have to abandon the social norms of their identities to fully engage the healing of a homeless rabbi? I think they did and again were rewarded for their faith.
I think, now, of the Yoga pose 'savasana', the corpse pose. We often go to this corpse pose at the end of a yoga practice to more fully appreciate the benefits of the experience. We are asked to release ourselves, to let go of our minds to experience the benefits of the practice. I watch our practices which encourage release of anxiety, fear, and stress to that we can engage in the ease and stability of a pose. I cannot enjoy ease and stability when I am distracted by fear, anxiety and stress. I have to leave those parts of myself to allow ease and stability to occur. The same is true for me to fully experience sobriety.
There is a prayer I often lift to my God: "Take, Lord, receive, all my liberty. Your love and your grace are enough for me." My sense of liberty, my memories and my understandings impair my awareness of love and grace. They taint my expectation of the reality of love and grace - the reality of the fullness of God and the fullness of sobriety.
So, when you visit me, do I greet you with a desire to fix you and judge you and somehow impose my will upon you? My authentic empathy and love for you would accept you as you are without imposing any of my stuff on you. Without my stuff, we would connect, right?
In this respect, I would have to leave my stuff and fully embrace all of you with your cuts, bruises and scars. When I am not there, my God can do the work of accepting, encouraging, reassuring, healing, forgiving, or simply holding you just as you are. I believe we would enjoy and authentic intimate experience, IF I am not there. Right?
This would give you permission to ask me to leave the next time we meet and you need compassion and acceptance. I will offer you my efforts to humbly hear your request and get out of our way, to get out of God's way. I look forward to our Divine intimacy.
Our souls will soar.
We will truly be sober.
We will truly be.