Every year since 2010, after the old November and December months of listening and learning have been bound and put away, my spirit has always been eager to go forth into the new year, ready for the path beyond the bend in the road. Ready to put the learning to use. Whatever looms in the new year, whether my human-ness has shrunk away from it in fear or gone forth in bravado, my spirit has always followed its own lines, led by the notes of an unseen Piper piping His song, calling spirits to bend and yield to a Higher force. Every new year since 2010, the gates have sprung open after Advent folds in its leaves carefully, and my spirit has acquiesced to a call it has been made ready to obey.
Every year except this one.
This year, I am ahead of my spirit. I have gone just beyond the gate of the old year, scanning the hills and valleys ahead, trying to make out their unfamiliar ridges and bends and dips, readying myself for the journey. About to go further, I sense I am alone; my spirit has lagged behind. Undeterred, I tug at it.
Come, I call, it is time.
It is not, returns the spirit.
For weeks, I refuse to believe that a journey that has always begun on the first day of a new hope~weave is not starting yet for me. I search every prayer and line read for the Call that I must have missed or misheard. Every quiet time is probed and twisted here and there and turned over this way and that, seeking the pearl~whisper that might have fallen unawares, unheeded, in the busyness of the year.
But the still and silence within me is unyielding. There is no word. No stirring.
I roam the plains of my heart gates restlessly. I cannot believe I am to remain where I am. This is not how it has been.
This morning, I disconsolately turn pages of life on earth, looking, yet not really looking. Vaguely searching for a chime, a tinkle of far-off bells. I come across a picture.
Horses by the water’s edge.
I am about to move on when something holds me firmly to my place. My eyes return to the picture. Rider-less horses, untethered and free, yet in no wild gallop of impatience across the plains.
No racing towards an unnamed destination. Instead, in calm wait by the water’s edge, being nourished by the cool water, the still air and silent world.
Allowing a feeding.
I feel something come over me for the briefest seconds.
This is not an empty time, however barren the air feels. Something is happening, something is at work in the world, in hearts. Something beyond human wisdom and understanding. Wading into the waters is not the call for me. Neither is making the crossing. Even by the water’s edge, even in the absolute quiet of watchful winds and leaves stilled in their dance, there is something to be done ~ allow this stillness, however frustrating it may be.
The illumination is gone before I can touch it. But an answer has been pressed to my seeking.
I am not to wrestle. I am not to chart a journey.
But wait by the water’s edge.