Luke Storms, the Editor for Parabola Magazine, had a blog titled, Crashingly Beautiful. What a combination of movement, and image in those words. I became an instant fan of his work. Today, I used crashingly beautiful to describe something going on in my life, and I was reminded of how I felt the first time I saw those words used together; arrested, intrigued, and upright.
Tonight, I’m in love with life, and mine in particular. I’m home, and have some time. I’ve had conversations in the last few weeks with people I love, but haven’t talked to in years. The holidays do that; I’m thrilled to have such lasting relationships. I’m thrilled to want to talk; the past few years had me in some processes that rendered me speechless. And I couldn’t write either, and it nearly killed me. This is a humble beginning, and a welcome to the life that calls me.
At the end of a year, we make goals and plans and resolutions. We look back to measure the unmeasurable really, as if it matters what we jammed into a block of time. I’ve resisted all that behavior but I’m not unaffected by the collective vibe. I hear these conversations daily.
This picture is a Christmas card that I got 20 years ago from a dear friend. Laura died last year; a brilliant woman terrorized by mental illness. It arrested me the moment I saw it. Mary, holding the radiant being to her breast, alone, but in repose. I imagine Laura that way now, and it feels good.
On Christmas Eve, we held a midnight service at our chapel, and read from Maria Valtorta, The Poem of the Man God. It was a moving passage about how Mary experienced the birth of, and the loss of, this magnificent being we know as Jesus. The humiliation of her pregnancy, the poverty of her condition, and the humility of her service. What resonated in those words was a supernatural love, a crashingly beautiful love. Bloodied, and hurt, and healed and whole and pure, all at the same time. It’s all a part of love; every last fiber of thought and experience.
I see that now, and I feel it too. Last year I moved, and left a relationship with a man I loved, because it wasn’t right for either of us. It was painful, but beautiful because it was the right thing to do. There is a price to pay for authentic expression and freedom, and it’s crashingly beautiful.
I took a new job that has been insane; demanding, brutal, exhausting and rich. I could have easily justified leaving but I didn’t, because I wanted to master something. One day, I woke up feeling differently, and realized that the work has always been about my reaction; not the situation. I’ve become a better leader, and our team has accomplished the impossible. It’s crashingly beautiful really, and I’m glad I stayed until this rest to appreciate that.
We have so many superficial ways to evaluate whether we’ve had a good year, or a good experience, at year’s end. This one, with the Mother and her child, will always remind me to hold the higher vision. Feel the greater love. Risk the humiliation; endure the fatigue. The sphinx holds her, as the mystery holds me. Forever, always, and in rest.