Thursday, 20 September 2018

The Borderlands

I often spend a lot of time debating what I should share on this blog. There are safe topics that require little thought, but have less impact on people. It is usually the ones where I feel a little vulnerable that seem to speak more to people and I receive emails and messages telling me so. I have been sitting on this one for a few weeks now, wondering how willing I am to share this with the world. Some reading I was doing yesterday convinced me to take the risk.

Three weeks ago, I was in Canberra for the AECSD (Australian Ecumenical Council of Spiritual Directors) Conference. The theme was Spiritual Direction on the Borderlands and the sessions were led by Alan and Robyn Cadwallader. The sessions were challenging, contemplative, provocative, affirming and disturbing - in other words great!! Throughout the few days together we explored different images rising from scripture and contemporary life to reflect on what it means to dwell in the borderlands. I found the stories met mine on a personal level, a spiritual direction practice level and a community level.

In a personal way, the theme brought to life many feelings from the last few years. Some of you will be aware that during my discernment in this time a short passage of scripture was very significant. It was a little story about the healing of a blind man (Mark 8: 22-26). This is a story about going out to the borderlands to be healed. Here is my reflection from my weekend in Canberra that arises from this story, my story and the stories heard during the conference.

The Borderlands

You saw it
long before I
the loose threads
the coming undone
the falling apart.
Symbols from the AECSD conference


You knew what
I could never see
while caught in the midst
entangled, enmeshed
propped up by the need
held together by the pressure.

You called me out
to meet at the fringe
beyond the safety of walls
and with each step
my life fell around me
in tatters it fell
and all light fell dark.

I felt I had died
my eyes were blind
my tongue could not speak
my heartbeat had stopped
yet I was strangely alive.

You remained close
with each breath
I sensed you near
a real presence
could hear the spit
the rubbing of hands
smearing blind eyes.

You asked
what I saw
and though
the scene was hazy
with shaking voice
I spoke a truth
I was yet to understand.

You waited as
the dawn broke
the sun exposed
the nakedness
as the last threads
spilled to the ground.

You said
go home, but remain
outside the walls
in the borderlands
and I will be there.

I said nothing
for to be home
was enough.
Tomorrow, I speak.

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