Friday, November 9, 2012

(Un)drawing the Line

Lines make things nice and neat.
Easy to understand and make sense of.
Tick off a box here and assign something to this category or that.
Safe and easy to say what or who is in or out.

But I don't live in a world of lines anymore.  I've erased some of them.  Some of them have simply faded away with time.  Some have been bulldozed down with great force and carnage.  I've taken a hack-saw to some of them, chipping away, bit by bit.  Others washed away with tears as though they were painted with watercolors in the first place.

I no longer choose a world of "us" and "them".
I can't be on the "inside" deciding who is "out".
I spent too many years compartmentalizing the world and people -
defining and lining up and assigning a title or label.

Sacred or Secular.
Of God or not.
Inspired or carnal.
Chosen, anointed, appointed, set up high, over....

...while I sit under.

"In whom we live and move and have our being."

That's what the verse says.

Inspiring, creating, advocating, loving, relating, learning, growing, living, feeding.
It is good.
Because it is from Him.  All of it.

That line is gone.  The one that divides what is sacred or secular.
I began to see this years ago in the most seemingly unlikely of places.

Like in the tattoo shop where I got inked for the first time by someone who had no claim to be on the "inside".  He drew the lines on my leg with precision and care allowing healing to enter my spirit along with the ink.   It was a sacred place - that bed in that shop.  It closed one chapter and opened another.

Or in the West End Cultural Centre at a Duhks concert several years back.  Sitting with Mike and watching tears stream down his face - overwhelmed with beauty and melody, rhythm and dissidence.

It was in a dark movie theatre on a Saturday night.  Watching Walk the Line sobbing and overwhelmed with the miracle of redemption.   Letting "story"change me.

It was at the Cultch in East Van at a square dance night.  A room full of strangers holding hands and spinning each other.  Laughing and smiling and stepping in time.  Simplicity and beauty.  Engaged and intertwined.

It was while watching Ellie push a beloved special friend on the swings.  Listening to shrieks and giggles.  Watching loving hands help her off, gentle words offered and hands held.

Up on the mountain - sun glistening over the inlet.  Riding on the chair lift with my family surrounding me.   Letting go and embracing fear.

It's in the story of my lesbian friend and her ability to live a life of courage, even in the midst of great fear and struggle.  Hearing her sacrifice to be honest about who she knew she was and exposing herself even when it might have cost her everything.

Sitting in a theatre seat listening to a spoken word artist weave a tale so raw and vulnerable you can hardly look up.  It's peppered with profanity and grittiness,  but nothing has ever sounded so pure and lovely and true.

It's in the way my friend gets up every single morning and mothers two little girls without their daddy.  Who takes them to visit him in the care home and comes home alone to an empty bed and does it all over again the next day.

Is the sacred.

When I open myself up
to feel
and touch
and notice
and hear
and become confounded with the sacred around me
I come alive.

I will not draw lines.
I will not limit God in whom I live and move and have my being.
I will not decide or discard or disdain.

That's not what I'm here for.
I am here to embrace it - all of it.
Allow its rough edges and nonconformity to transform me.

For I am swimming in a sea of sacred.