Sunday, October 18, 2015

Secrets and songs

Lately I'm noticing how life has a way of trying to usher us to a dark room, tucking us in, and persuading us to shut off the deepest senses. Turn down the heart-cries, because they may not be heard. Cool the emotions, because no one can bear them. Keep Sadness away from the controls because she just might break you (I'm referring to the newest Pixar film Inside-Out. You saw it, right?). And while your heart quietly goes to sleep, notch up the white noise and the performance instead.

I'm trying to stay awake. I'm trying so hard.

An endless parade of distractions, set-backs, and chores tempt me to fall in line, soldiering on, sleepy-headed. But my heart beats with the truth that the richest things are not visible and don't clamor for my attention. Don't we live with an inherent awareness that things are not what they seem? That there are secrets to discover?

A story is being told, whispered over me like I whisper mother-tales over mine in the dark. I'm trying to hear it, I want to know every word.

When I brought my baby girl home, we were both small and alone in our big, blank house. My sole desire was to master the art of getting her to sleep. It was a daunting challenge, and neither of us knew anything about self-soothing. When a hundred and one methods failed to get her to rest, two were finally found to be effective: the heat of my own body and Norah Jones' first album.

Connection and song. I get it now, daughter; they are my survival too.

Today, 13 years later, for the first time, I realized that the name of that album and the primary line in the primary song, "Come away with me," is a chorus throughout the Bible. I heard the song hundreds of times in that season with my baby. I know its every note. And not until today did I connect that it's also a song God can't stop singing. Most of the time, this chorus is repeated in Song of Solomon, the love story. More than any other, that book IS connection and song. It's skin-on-skin, heat and comfort and rest.

My beloved speaks and says to me:
“Arise, my love, my beautiful one,
    and come away with me..."

Song of Solomon, 2:10

He can't stop calling me. And I can't stop wanting to know the secrets.

When we moved to Montana, I shared a bit in this post about how others thought the relocation was for Kevin. He was the outdoorsy one. I was the California girl, making some geographical sacrifice. I didn't feel that way, but I started to believe it was a decent theory. Nature and mountains and such didn't speak to me like it did him, and surely God wouldn't choose this setting to do his best work in someone like me.

And then things didn't go so well. The metaphor changed to an exodus out of California followed by testing in the desert. No, Montana isn't a desert. But it's felt like one in so many ways. So many wandering ways.

Then today I heard the refrain. Not the literal song. The one in my heart. The one he has sung over me for a decade, "Come away with me." It was like a memory of a call because I am away, now. I am living in the away; I've been set apart from all familiar geography and relationships. But not solely for my husband's sake. Not solely for testing. He's brought me away for his own tender reasons, as I've wandered, often wounded, sometimes crawling.

This song, to be clear, has not been the call of the teacher to the student, nor is it of the parent to the child. God isn't pulling me aside to improve me. It's the call of a lover with secrets, untold mysteries that can't be spoken in the crowd or in the city. His call is the kindling of my heart's deepest desires for connection and song. And lately He is keeping the fire ablaze.

There is a world of difference between succumbing to the lullaby of shut down and falling into intimate rest with the lover of your soul. When He whispers, "Come away with me," I'm not sure you can find that rest unless you say yes and go. Don't you feel your heart longing for something more, something richer? Even if you have to crawl, even if you're afraid, say yes.

Love won't drag you away; it respects your freedom too much. Instead, it draws you with the promise of secrets and story. Tonight, I find myself awake, leaning in to listen, far past my bedtime.