The Inseparable Separate

Iona: Photo Credit: Kirk Taylor

I love a Celtic knot and a Celtic cross.  There’s a constant crossing of curving lines overlapping, knotted together, but never quite touching.  Separate and yet inseparable.  It’s like the double strands of life.  The constantly crossing of the ordinary world and the spiritual world.  The human side and the spiritual side of our being. The body and the breath and the Breath.  The prayer/pause/contemplation/meditation and the action.  The practice of Life (love) and the practice of Grace (Love).  

It’s a reminder that where we feel things are separate, or even poles apart, that that’s likely not real or true.  It’s more likely there’s overlap that may not quite touch, but close, creating a beautiful knot of separate togetherness.  It’s a reminder to create a network of love instead of lines of division.  

In our own lives, it’s a reminder that we are spiritual beings and human beings and to find balance in that.  

We’re bodied beings.  But this body side, tangible, holdable, “stuff” side of us makes it easy to get mired down in the stuff of life.  More.  More money.  More things.  More comfortable and more secure.  Striving to be sure we’re in a place where nothing will come tumbling down…controlling and corralling life with work and money and jobs and stuff.  There’s a balance, but at what point are we accumulating at the expense of our spiritual sides?  We need to be careful of not living from a baseline of fear that it all could fall apart at any moment.  That fear baseline which makes us too busy and strive for too much, and, at its worse, feeds a “strike first” mentality.  Hurt before being hurt.  

We forget that we are not on some straight-line path toward the finish line, with walls and borders, and lines drawn in the sand, but a part of the knot that makes our life full and our relationships (all of them) rich.  

Those tangible things are necessary to a certain extent, but beyond that, it’s just “more”.  It’s impossible to buy security or to corral life into something “safe”.  And there is always “more”.  If we aren’t careful we have more than enough and are still striving for some far off “more” that never ends.  At the expense of the richness and fullness of the beautiful binding knot that we already have.  

Reminds me of the More song from the old Dick Tracy with Madonna.

If we aren’t careful, more becomes too much.  There is freedom in Enough (the “freedom” of the passage reading), but if we’re not paying attention, we often never know when we have enough and we don’t notice that freedom that comes with.  We want more.  There’s a certain point when enough is enough and anything “more” no longer brings more security or more happiness.  It’s just more.  An empty more.  (There’s science to back this)

There is a gift in that balance point, because once we have enough, the gift is that we can focus on what’s beyond the ordinary human stuff and focus on what really matters.  We can more sweetly balance the physical and the spiritual knot within each of us.  PAUSE.   

When we have a life where more than our basic needs are met, we have been gifted the opportunity to focus on the really important “more”.  A life beyond mundane basic human survival stuff to cultivating personal growth into a spiritual life.  A life more aligned with Wisdom, Grace and giving back.  PAUSE.  This is not to say that there is anything wrong with stuff and wealth and more, but we need to be careful of hyper focusing to the detriment of wise living…spiritual living, Good Work, the deeper most important work of Loving one Another.  

The hard work.  It’s easy to lash out and argue and fight.  Those are reactions.  Reactions that too often come out of a too busy, too stressed, too much mind.  A reactive mind.  Too much forces on the “unspiritual nature” lines of the knot.  We’ve all experienced this and usually wish we had reacted differently.  When we slow down and contemplate (meditate, pray, be, forest walk, church time…), we slow down the space between what happens and how we respond.  Then we can react with more kindness and gentleness, instead of rushing to win or have our say in the fight.  Connecting when we seem so disconnected is hard.  It’s also a Practice of Wisdom and Grace.  

The hard work is to not cause harm (thou shalt not kill…harm).  To love, especially when the instant reaction is toward something else.  Even “soft” name calling is name calling.  The hard work is to live with courage.  Courage is honesty in life (thou shalt not lie).  That’s also not easy.  To speak truth when it’s hard, from a place of love.  And have faith that somewhere in the mud and muck is the middle ground where all truths can fit…maybe not perfectly, but enough to do some serious work.  The Knot, where we might not be on the same line, but we’re closer than we think.  If we really look and listen.  

We have been called for freedom.  It’s easy to fill our lives with the small matters that seem big and important.  Overworking.  Scrolling.  Trolling.  Hiding in busy.  Being “very important”.  Then vegging out.  Thinking we need more and that “more” is the most important thing, or the only thing.  In some ways, it’s what we’re trained to do in life, but when we’re not in balance…it’s too much and our health suffers on all levels of our being and in society.  

But we’ve been gifted enough and enough allows us to cultivate our unique gift from God to the world.  

A wise man once said, and we can all do this, even in our busy, full, rich, wonderful lives: Instead of spreading ourselves thin, find what you are passionate about and do it and share it!!!  Just that one wonderful, uniquely you thing…do it and share it.  Spread passion, joy, and happiness.  Find a charity you love and support it consistently and generously with that “more” that’s more than enough that is begging to be shared (when we’re paying attention).  Give.  Share.  Ripple ripples worth rippling.  

We’re called to share our time and our resources.  It’s the Work of Grace.  How do we use our extra time?  How do we use our extra resources?  By the choices we make.  Are we filling it with the love that includes our neighbors and our friends and those in need?  Yes, love starts at home, but if we allow it to grow, if we choose to let it grow, it will quickly outgrow the bounds of our doors and windows.  

That’s the More.  The real more.  The More we’re actually looking for in the stuff. The Mystery, the Grace, the Magic (whatever you want to call it).  It’s constantly crossing over the mundane, ordinary, stuff part of our lives… not quite touching and easy to miss until we slow down and see the knot both interconnected and separate, but part of a Whole.  

…the whole law is fulfilled in a single commandment: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” But if you go one fighting one another, tooth and nail, all you can expect is mutual destruction.”

Love.  It all comes back, always, to love.  Imagine God loving what you are doing with your “more than enough”.  That’s how you know you’re on your right path.  Slow down.  Listen.  The Knot isn’t a tangled mess…it’s a perfect symmetrical knot into Wholeness.  A Wholeness of people, the more than human world, our “enemies”, our friends, our loved ones, our own heart and our mind…all of it.  All of it.  Intertwined into one great Mysteriously Perfect Knot.  

Our lives are a gift of Grace to do good work. So choose your loves wisely.  Pray over them.  And do them.  The overlapping strands of doing and being that balance us into beings of Goodness in this messy, chaotic, beautiful world.  

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