Whoever you are: some evening take a step out of your house, which you know so well. Enormous space is near. ~ Rainer Maria Rilke
Yesterday marked another full moon. I’m paying attention to such things these days. I’m honoring Her cycle; my own. As it waxes, letting go. As it wanes, inviting in.
This is liturgy. This is ritual. This is the Sacred.
But it’s not the Sacred I grew up with.
Back then I sat still in church. I listened carefully. I (tried to) dutifully obey. And though my required demeanor was calm-serene-peaceful, within was often a different story. Frustration. Longing. Grief. Desire. These emotions were parked at the door. The Perfect Persona applied, like a mask.
I’ll be honest: it’s not fair to drop this reality only at the feet of the church. It was true in so many other aspects of my life, as well; namely my marriage and my job(s). Oh, how well I learned and practiced the rules, the expectations, the unspoken-but-practically-shouted way of being that was required. Be good. Don’t rock the boat. Stay within the lines. Practice makes perfect. Seen not heard. Sometimes not even seen.
I’m grown up now. I no longer sit in church. And I’ve learned that obedience isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Now, when my demeanor is calm, serene, and at peace, that’s actually how I feel! No emotions unexpressed. No masks. Just me. (And a lunar calendar on my wall.)
This does not mean that I no longer believe, that I have abandoned all faith, that my heart no longer soars at a strain from a hymn or the stories that save me. In fact, just weeks ago, I did sit in church and watch my eldest daughter get baptized for a second time. 18 years ago, I held her as a newborn, silent tears rolling down my cheeks in gratitude for her miraculous presence in my life. This time she walked up three steps then stepped down into a huge hot-tub and allowed the pastor to dunk her completely under the water. Silent tears rolled down my cheeks in gratitude again – this time for her heart, her faith, her desire to express it in an acknowledged, bold, and unmasked way. Last week I sat at a fundraising banquet for the youth ministry that enraptures my youngest daughter. She texted me throughout saying, “Aren’t you having the best time?!?” I knew she was; that this is a safe and sacred space for her. More tears as I watched her sing and smile and step into the life of faith she desires. And yesterday I honored the full moon, the Sacred, my turbulent-yet-tenacious faith, and an ever-increasing love for/by the Divine (who, by the way, is totally into lunar cycles).
This is the Sacred. Nothing prescribed. Nothing locked down by dogma or doctrine. Possible. Open. Full (like the moon). Big enough, magnificent enough, glorious enough, and grace-full enough that any and every way in which our hearts are moved can be honored, resonant, and true.
May it be so.