Upon graduation from a most conservative seminary my advisor told me how much he appreciated my work, but that he was fearful for me because I seemed to possess what he called, “a proclivity for the novel.” Haha. What he feared, I considered a virtue.
When I look back at my college years as a 1960’s hippie I recall a genuine quest “to find myself.” As much as we joke about that phrase, I continue the search even today—an ongoing search for the novel, for something it seems I am always in process of discovering.
In her writings on the theology of Bonaventure, author Ilia Delio has elucidated the evolution of my search quite eloquently and succinctly: As she points out, my search is fundamentally a quest to Return to Eden, where intimacy with the Divine was an inherent reality. It is no wonder I have always been so attracted to the TS Eliot line from Four Quartets, “…the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.”
Eden, the Divine Beginning
We “started” in Eden where there was no brokenness, no sense of lostness, no pain, no worry, and no stress. It was a place of intimate relationship with the Creator and with each other. It was a place of perfect love.
Today we continue to “search,” exploring how to recover that divinely enriched life, one filled with meaning and purpose and pleasure… in perfect relationship with the Creator.
Of this search of ours, Delio so aptly writes of life in the “Western Hemisphere” by pointing out that, “People are working longer hours, buying more things, reading more books, and asking more questions because they are seeking that which they have lost.”
And a huge part of the problem is that many of us don’t even realize that our search is for remnants of that perfect state. We still have a “taste” of divinity within all of us, except it is marred or hidden or camouflaged by what the mystics refer to as our False Self, that needy self known as the Ego which demands power and possessions and prestige… all because it’s neediness is without boundary.
And so I continue my journey of discovery. Every day I learn more of what it means to experience the pleasure of mind and soul and spirit. Every day I hunt for love. And every day I discover the only way to receive that kind of love is to first give it away.
Every day I seek to… Return to Eden.
But Lingering Within
Photo courtesy of lekcej at istockphoto