Rising from Ashes

“So in Easter — and Passover too — something that happens is that we stop. This is the ‘dark night of the soul’ stuff that John the Divine writes about; that in that stopping we may fall into an abyss that we have been trying to outrun since we were little children … and the American way, I think, is to trick out the abyss so it’s a little bit nicer. Maybe go to Ikea and get a more festive throw rug. But in Lent, if you are a person of committed spiritual growth, you do stop.” ~Ann Lamott

Funny that our minister today would invoke Ann Lamott in his Easter sermon, and then I would come home and find this link to her interview on NPR last April.

I figure there’s a sign in there somewhere, that Ms. Lamott has something for me to hear

So when I read the words above, from her essay “Ashes,” what strikes me first is her injunction to “stop” – look at where I am, what I’m doing. Are the things I’m filling my life with  contributing to spiritual growth – mine or anyone else’s?

Asking yourself that question is like looking over the edge of the abyss. I admit it – I’m afraid of the answer.  Because I do attempt to make my life appear better, not always by prettying it up but more often by putting on blinders. Like placing a throw rug over the stained spot on the carpet, or a painting over the hole in the wall, I try to cover up the empty and soiled places that hurt too much to confront.

There are times when I get pretty caught up with what’s going in my head. Times when I think I could benefit from Jungian analysis or Jungian psychotherapy. But rather than head off to the phone book to search for a renowned Jungian psychoanalyst I often choose to pick up a book by one of my favorite authors instead.

Reading can be a way for me to escape that confrontation. I can so easily lose myself in worlds that others create, shove my own concerns off to the side while I hide behind the cover of a book.

But reading can also be the catalyst for change, the way new ideas get into my head and take hold.

Like Ann Lamott today saying, Stop! Don’t let yourself fall too far into patterns of destruction! Rethink where you’re going and what you plan to do with your one wild and crazy life.

That is, after all, the message of Easter.

Rebirth is possible.

We can rise from the ashes and soar into new life.

Wishing you the opportunity to rise and soar, today and everyday.

Happy Easter.

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6 thoughts on “Rising from Ashes

  1. That’s a beautiful meditation, Becca. I find that writing keeps me from covering up those spots. Writing rips away the rugs. But I do know that isn’t universal, it’s an escape for some writers, just like reading can be an escape as well as a push toward the truth. And we are all just human. We need both. A time to rest and a time to re-examine.

  2. Lamott has lots of good things to say about writing that translate into how to live — she’s one of my favorites that I return to again and again to get re-centered. She has plenty to say!

    • She is one I return to over and over..just this minute finished Some Assembly Required, and it is filled with tiny dog eared pages to come back to.

  3. I admired Lamott’s bravery in Operating Instructions. To me, reading brings me closer to the abyss–good writing. Writing that goes for the pulse of things!

    Stopping is underestimated. Thanks for the reminder, Becca.

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