“We are not to flee from the horizontal axis, but to master it…”
– Cynthia Bourgeault
“Being human” is so apropos for my current experience.
On Monday, I busted a hubcap.
It was me and my two small boys, returning home from a hike. I reached back to hand Conley some peanuts and sure enough, popped the curb. The sound was loud enough to suggest a flat, but when the tire pressure light didn’t register, I creeped the short distance home and slowly got out of my car to assess the damage. When I realized it was just a missing hubcap, we loaded into the wagon and I hauled the kiddos a half-mile or so up the sidewalk to retrieve it. We touched the black grit caked on the hubcap and turned our faces to the shining sun and told the whole wild story to daddy with gregarious arm gestures.
On Tuesday, I sat with my Spiritual Director and admitted I’m struggling to attend to earthly matters.
I told her how much I want to spend my time in silence and meditation, how I long to be alone, and my haunting doubt that I chose the wrong path as a householder.
On Wednesday, I lit my candle and wrote in my journal:
“Every day I am confused about exactly what I’m doing here. Every day I’m like, wtf is going on… what is earth? Why did I come?”
On Thursday, I rushed the boys to put on pants, socks, shoes.
I rushed the boys to the car; I lost my temper and slammed the door; I rushed down the road; tried to apologize; turned too sharp, and… POW. The tire pressure light ignited immediately. I rolled to a stop just as the rain started. Creaked open my door and spilled myself out like a puddle, humbled to the dirt. Not just one flat, but two.
I scrounged for an umbrella – trunk, backseat, trunk? Passenger floorboard! Shooed away the kind man from the jewelry store who heard the commotion. Wrangled the boys out of the car and walked them another 40 yards to preschool. We weren’t even late.
When I got back to my car, I climbed in and closed my eyes. “Jane,” I said, “you have to deal with this. This is earth life and you have to live it until further notice.”
In the tire shop waiting room, I opened to Chapter 4 of The Wisdom Jesus by Cynthia Bourgeault and stared wide-eyed: “We are not to flee away from the horizontal axis but to master it, because only in moving from strength to strength do we really bring forth the Kingdom of Heaven as a reality upon the earth.”
The paradox is this: ascension of consciousness is a descent to our bones. We cannot escape the body experience; we can only go through it. And the depth to which we are willing to be present in our bones is directly proportional to the heights of our awakening.
Black grit, shining sun, bright candle, broken wheel. The soft faces of my children, the ruddy face of the tow man, my own holy face in the tire shop bathroom. To dress when it’s time to dress and to eat when it’s time to eat. To drive when it is time to drive. To dress and to eat and to drive, because we can only do these things with a body.
This is being human, and we get to do it until further notice.