The hurt you embrace...

Rumi says that "the hurt you embrace turns to joy."  I suspect that this is true, but it is joy hard won, yes?  Nobody likes to own their shadow - or sin - and it takes a lot of patience and grace to do so consistently.  Joan Chittister writes:

To bear bad things - evil things - well... is a mark of humility.  And it is a dour and difficult notion for the modern Christian to accept. The goal of the 21st century is to cure all diseases, order all inefficiency, topple all obstacles, end all stress and prescribe immediate panaceas. We wait for nothing and put up with little and abide less and react with fury at irritations. We are a people without patience. We do not tolerate process. We cannot stomach delay.

In a word, we do not know how to endure.  I know this is true for me - and that's why I sometimes think God called me to be a pastor.  Because mostly pastors wait - we have to learn to bite our tongues - and trust that God's grace is bigger than our frustrations. And we have to do it with people who are lovely, those who are annoying and those who are mean-spirited as well.  We have to endure with people who are quick to point out our failures but are unable to embrace their own.  And we are called to endure with souls who are saintly and show us how petty we can real be from time to time.

Some days it is a humbling vocation - always blessed - but hard because, of course, the root word for humility is related to humiliation.  Still, Rumi is right and with patience our hurt can lead to wisdom and insight and, in time, even joy.

Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your steadfast love;
according to your abundant mercy

blot out my transgressions.
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
and cleanse me from my sin.

For I know my transgressions,
and my sin is ever before me.
Against you, you alone, have I sinned,
and done what is evil in your sight,
so that you are justified in your sentence

and blameless when you pass judgement.

Indeed, I was born guilty,
a sinner when my mother conceived me
You desire truth in the inward being;
therefore teach me wisdom in my secret heart.
Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

Let me hear joy and gladness;
let the bones that you have crushed rejoice.

Hide your face from my sins,
and blot out all my iniquities.

Create in me a clean heart, O God,
and put a new and right
* spirit within me.
Do not cast me away from your presence,
and do not take
your holy spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation,

and sustain in me a willing
* spirit.

Then I will teach transgressors your ways,
and sinners will return to you.

Deliver me from bloodshed, O God,
O God of my salvation,
and my tongue will sing aloud of your deliverance.

O Lord, open my lips,
and my mouth will declare your praise.
For you have no delight in sacrifice;
if I were to give a burnt-offering, you would not be pleased.
The sacrifice acceptable to God
* is a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.

Wynton Marsalis says that he learned to accept everything in a person - the good, the bad and the ugly - from playing with Art Blakey.  "He made it clear that you never know enough about another person to judge them..."  We don't know their pain, their fears, their curses and demons - we just see the tip of the iceberg - and what we see is only part of the story. Both Marsalis and Chittister bring me a healing word for today... and I am grateful.


Black Pete said…
"Rumi says that "the hurt you embrace turns to joy." I suspect that this is true, but it is joy hard won, yes? Nobody likes to own their shadow - or sin - and it takes a lot of patience and grace to do so consistently. "

Very hard won, and all of this, so very true. Thank you.
RJ said…
You bet, my man.

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