Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Inside Places

The next phrase in The Shack that caught my attention enough to want to post about is toward the bottom of page 12. "I will tell you honestly that being a part of this story has affected me deep inside, in places I had never been before and didn't even know existed."

That phrase or sentence caught my attention and gave me pause. 

Somebody famous, I can't remember who, said one time that the longest journey anyone will take is the journey inside and not too many choose to take that journey.

I like the quote from Young, the author of The Shack, because it reminds me of those deep inside places I have been. I was chatting with a very dear friend recently who was telling me that every time he's sure he's opened himself up to what he needs to learn and it's a deep lesson, soon thereafter he finds another entire room he didn't even know existed where the door needed to be opened. I liked that analogy. 

Young's statement helped me rethink some of the very, very hard experiences in life that spurred me on my inside journey and helped me discover my own inside places or rooms. Some of those included:
  • Losing a sister to suicide
  • Having a granddaughter born severely handicapped 
  • Acknowledging that my sixth grade male teacher molested the girl students and how that affected my psyche
  • Thinking I don't believe in divorce, but paying for my daughter's
  • Experiencing church leaders' rejection for standing for what's right
  • Having a sister turn against me because I set healthy boundaries
Okay. I'll stop there. This could get depressing. =)

Each one of these experiences caused me great distress and anguished questioning. But each one, when worked through opened me up to empathy, sympathy, and understanding of others who might be experiencing similar emotions and events.

For example, losing a sister to suicide was devastating, and I learned how hard it is for people to support and encourage the survivors. I now know how to hug and empathize with suicide surviving family members. That inside room was hard to acknowledge and then air out.

Having a handicapped granddaughter, as much as it hurt in the beginning, has brought unbelievably wonderful changes in me. That inside room was pretty tightly locked, even padlocked. I steered clear of handicapped people and unknowingly had prejudices. One cerebral palsied young man in one of our churches spotted that in me and worked on me and with me to help me overcome that, even though I was not very willing. I would actually start sweating when I would see him racing on his crutches to get to me. I couldn't understand his speech and it made me so uncomfortable. He helped me a lot. We even went on a "date" about which he bragged to everyone in the church.

But the life of our granddaughter has changed me major from the inside out. The way she's been treated and the way people stare and the way people avoid her really hurts. But can I blame them? That's the way I was before the gift of having her was given to me. That room inside me is open and full of sunshine!

I could easily take many experiences in my life and remember how hard that journey was and how difficult the bumps along the way. I did and do get sidetracked, but I do know that no matter the life experience, each is another opportunity for discovering an inside room or place that is ready to be enjoyed.

I'll close with this: I was walking with Sierra, one of our granddaughters, when she was about 5 or 6. We went to a nearby park and found a wooden bridge that took us back into some woods. There were high weeds and bugs and scary stuff to a little girl. She held my hand tighter and moved closer. I was trying to be positive and said the things you say as Grams. Sierra looked up at me and said, "Grams, this is an adventure, isn't it?"

I thought that was perfect. She was scared. She wasn't sure. But she had my hand and apparently she felt safe. She had picked up on my being positive and decided this could be an adventure.

My mantra since then has been, life is an adventure. And today I will add that discovering new places within, though they can be very scary, can add spice to our life adventure and our journey within.

Bon voyage.


The Lenoxes said...

I gave a talk one time on "Connecting" and in it I had this paragraph:

The late Dag Hammarskjold, once the secretary general of the United Nations, suggested that we have become adept at exploring outer space, but we have not developed similar skills in exploring our own personal inner spaces. He wrote, “The longest journey of any person is the journey inward.” Most of us feel much more equipped to manipulate objects, control situations, and “do” things than to take that very long journey inward. But it is a necessary journey if we are truly going to experience the power of Jesus in our lives and be able to connect with each other.

It is a necessary journey in order to be able to authentically connect with each other because if we do not know ourselves, how can we begin to know others?

It goes along with another quote from The Shack that I love (on page 11). "And with respect to God, Mack is no longer just wide, he has gone way deep. But the dive cost him dearly." As you said, that journey inward is difficult, but without it I don't think we can know and love others, or really know and love God.

Here are some other quotes (can you tell I like quotes?):

Thomas Merton says: “There is only one problem on which all my existence, my peace, and my happiness depend: to discover myself in discovering God. If I find Him I will find myself, and if I find my true self I will find Him.

John Calvin’s opening words in The Institutes of the Christian Religion are: “There is no deep knowing of God without a deep knowing of self and no deep knowing of self without a deep knowing of God.”

Augustine’s prayer was “Grant, Lord, that I may know myself that I may know Thee.”

Definitely an adventure...journeying inside...and sometimes an adventure that I would have rather skipped...but it is a journey that I would not trade being on, because it is the journey that has helped me BEGIN to love God, love myself, and love others.


Rebel4Reality said...

Mel, Thanks for supplying the source of that quote. Yes, it was Dag Hammarskjold. (I hope you spelled that right. I just copied your spelling. Tough name to spell. =)

The other quote from The Shack on page 11 that you mentioned caught my eye also. Especially, "But the dive cost him dearly." I understood that phrase. I wonder if the things that cost us dearly are priceless. Just a thought.

Good quotes, every one.

Love your comments. Keep 'em coming. I'm your Mom and I knew you were a great person. I just didn't know you were such a great writer. Love it.

Rex Ray said...

It’s true that sad times bring us closer to God. Someone said ‘Our sadness is God’s opportunity.’

My father taught this poem to us kids. (I don’t know who wrote it.)

I walked a mile with laughter
She chatted all the way
But left me none the wiser
For all she had to say.

I walked a mile with sadness
Not a word said she
But oh the things I learned
When sadness walked with me

Rex Ray said...

I just realized that I believe instead of "sadness", it should be "sorrow".

mary w said...

I am really getting a lot out of hearing others comments and I agree that one of the hardest things I have had to do is to go deep inside, but the lessons I am learning are worth it.