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Thursday, 25 August 2011

Woman In An Empty Room Part Two

"We can not accept an expensive gift when our hands are full of cheap baubles. We must empty our hands so as to accept the rich gift that is offered." Steve Kellmeyer

Don't worry friends, don't worry. I may be waxing poetic on all of this "imagine no possessions" business but by no means am I about to turn my back on all things material and run off naked into the forest a la St. Francis of Assisi. If you will kindly recall other posts I've written, it has been clearly established that I don't have the makings of a saint. This has been a bit of a blow to me because being Catholic, I naturally would like to be a saint very much indeed. Yes, honestly. But alas, I have a two year old son who tried to eat a rosary yesterday and aside from that, I am digressing from the topic at hand which is quite unusual for me.

So...cheap baubles. We live our lives with our hands full of these and grasping for more, never satisfied, never sated because these things do not satisfy. They do not sate. More creates a hunger for more. We become insatiable. Living a wild-eyed quest to "get". Filling ourselves up until the very last thing we can do is give. There is no abundance, no freedom, in having only in letting go.

And now you are no doubt muttering "Well how very cliche you are today, Comrade Colleen." But bear with me...

We all perhaps have our own interpretation of "cheap baubles" that hold us back from growth and grace. Mine includes possessions, the idea of ownership, all the distractions of the world we live in, labels and definitions, opinions and expectations - both our own and those of others about and for us.

These little trinkets fill our hands and rooms. When I think about "the empty room", I not only think material goods. I think what if we were to also let go of everything else as well...and then simply, quietly and graciously accept the richest of gifts on offer.

The God-given gift of who we are.

Who we are. It has nothing to do with what we have or don't have. It has nothing to do with how other people view us. Who we are is not what we do. What we know. What we have accomplished.

We are who we are even when everything else is stripped away. When we don't have a penny to our name. When we don't have a job that makes it easy for others to label us. When we don't write or paint or draw or have any skill in any area what so ever. We are who we are when we are ill. When people leave and abandon us. When our names are dragged through the mud. We are who we are when every one is against us. When there is not one friendly face to be seen anywhere.

When wealth, beauty, health, and ability have been taken away from us, we still have intrinsic worth. The very fact we are alive. That we were created with purpose by a loving God.

We have worth. It is intrinsic. It can not be added to or taken from. This is why human life in every form is so precious. There is nothing we can do or that can be done to us that can alter our worth in God's eyes.

In my quest to live as a woman in an empty room, I am constantly seeking to remind myself of who I am. Not in the world's eyes. But in God's. Not to seek feelings of affirment and worth from those around me or cultural and societal norms; but to seek them in a deeper place, from a deeper source.

I don't know how I'm doing with this. Better some days than others certainly.

Ah well, if I need to take drastic measure...there is always running naked into the forest to prove my point. ;)

20 comments:

kate said...

So true, Colleen! Everything you have written is so true! I have always thought that you are who you are when you are passing from this life to the next, and all your possessions mean nothing and must be left behind, and all your pretenses, little white lies and tightly held reasons begin to slip away before the One who cannot be fooled. You are who you are when you stand before the Creator who knows you inside and out, and all you have is an awareness of what you bring to HIM, what you have made of your life, what good you have done and what joy or what sorrow or what devastation you leave in the people who shared your time on Earth. Who are we then? All is stripped away and laid bare. Thank God for His loving mercy and forgiveness. We are none of us, all that we ought to be. But all things work together for the good, to those who love God.

Serene said...

Colleen, I printed out your last post about the empty room because it truly is treasured reading. My coworker and I were just talking about this very thing...acquisition. There's never peace in it. Never enough. And along the way, we're putting our faith in THINGS and sadly they steal our hearts. My daughter and I have talked about homes and how we all live in boxes and take pride in our boxes and fill them with better things than others have in their boxes. Or we want to live in a bigger box, so we can decorate our box with more things. But at the end of the day, it's a BOX. It's God's love that makes it a home. I want to BE confident and at peace with the woman I am...not needing constant kudos or compliments to uplift me. Not needing the approval of my husband or kids or friends to make me feel loved. But rather to KNOW and REST in that Love. Oh Colleen, this morning, I thanked God for letting you cross my path. Seriously. I feel like I have a twin soul on the other side of the world. Much love to you! ~Serene

Life with Kaishon said...

This was so good. A great reminder. I always love coming here because you make me think : )
I was definitely thinking of how great it would be if you went running int the woods naked. I think your neighbors would just LOVE that.

jane.healy said...

Thought provoking post here Colleen - and as for the running naked thing, the sea is better - the floor of forests are littered with all sorts of nasty things.

Brian Miller said...

running naked int eh forest is fine until winter...just too pain ful then...smiles. i hear you though...as with everything i think there is balance...we can make ourselves martyrs...we just have to watch our motives as our pride can add up as much treasure as our possessions...

Joyful said...

Very good thoughts. It is hard for most of us to think we are lovable stripped down to nothing. Blessings.

Judi said...

Run, Colleen, Run...no seriously you are an amazing woman and writer...I thank you from the bottom of my heart for sharing. Kisses, and just for the record even with only you in it a room would never be near empty...you fill space with so much humour and love and grace it is impossible to think of the room as empty!

Rebecca said...

I like your personal "composition" of The Woman in an Empty Room.

Part Two is as significant and thoughtful as the first. You're expressing my heart so much better than I can here.

Colleen said...

Thank you all so much for sharing your own thoughts on this! As always I appreciate the insight and ideas you all share...lots of valuable things to think on in these comments!

Mrs. Pancakes said...

This was a great interpertation of the woman in an empty room...sometimes it helps to place ourselves into the situation to have the full experience. You always speak about the most interesting things Colleen.

Karen Kyle Ericson said...

I think this is so true. We are who we are. No matter what. Labels, things, nothing can change who we are. Nice!

Alicia said...

Intricately written in our souls is our true being & whoever seeks this person is in need of less items to fill the room just to know us, but more of a open relationship with life to move gracefully through. I believe your words, & enjoy these empty room truths.

Rachna said...

Yes Colleen who we are are is actually the essence of happiness. Most times, we try to derive happiness from what we have, so we see some people having a blind obsession with acquiring, shopping till there is no tomorrow and yet feeling so empty. Perhaps, they need to think about what really will give them happiness, then they would stumble upon the truth that you have so eloquently explained here. Yes, none of us are saints; I don't think I desire to be one too :). But a little understanding of our purpose in the larger scheme of things and what we are can really go a long way in providing purpose to our lives.

Zuzana said...

Very upbeat and optimistic post reminding us that no matter what happens, the fact that we are alive is the greatest gift we have ever been given.;)
LOVED this dear Colleen as I share the same sentiments exactly. I have always viewed it as a great privilege that I get to be on this Earth and I accept all that I am given.
I love my life, through all the heartaches and setback and through all the happiness and beautiful, unforgettable moments.;)
I really like that image of you as well.;)
Have a lovely weekend dear friend,
xoxo

Shell said...

Such a thoughtful post. Though I did giggle at the running naked thing!

mary333 said...

I love this post, Colleen. I was reading a blog the other day and the author called many of these cheap baubles "soft addictions". I liked your interpretation of cheap baubles and I agree these hold us back in our spiritual journey. There are times I actually consider taking drastic measures like St Francis did - excluding the running off naked into the forest :) I long for simplicity but don't know how to attain it. Anyway, even if I ran off a la St. Francis I would still be carrying around a lot of interior baggage that needs to be dumped.

Hey, you and I have blessed kids, Colleen - mine drinks Holy Water and yours eats rosary beads :) Maybe these are early signs of vocations to the religious life! Lol!

Colleen said...

Mrs Pancakes, thanks, I appreciate hearing that!

Karen, it's a beautiful truth isn't it?:)

Alicia, I love what you've written and how you've described it. So true that we can only have a more open relationship with life when we have let things that hinder us go!

Rachna, those are wise words. It is so good to go through life with the aim of acquiring that understanding...dare I say it's half the journey?:)

Zuzana, thank you so much. I feel the same as you. I love the life I have as well...it's been essential to my understanding of the world! I also wouldn't wish anything out of it, even the bad things, they are a cause for growth! I hope your weekend is wonderful as well my friend!

Shell, thank you.:)

Mary,this is another time when I know exactly what you mean. I also want to take drastic measures as well sometimes but don't know how. And it is EXACTLY as you say, it's the interior baggage too that needs to be let go. What good is it getting rid of material things if you can't also rid yourself of the spiritual and emotional hindrances? This is such a valid point because I know for me, this desire to "get rid of stuff" comes when there is something else weighing on me, overwhelming me...spiritual clutter...internal. And wouldn't it be wonderful if these things, eating rosary beads, drinking holy water were indeed signs of a vocation?! I pray for that for William but we'll see what God has in mind.:) Blessings to you!

OtienoHongo said...

Thanks for reminding me once again that I need to get rid of some stuff so that I can get refilled with more blessings.

Dangerous Linda said...

colleen -- i feel like i've just been to a cool church service reading this post. i'm not catholic so i'm not versed on the specific qualities of a saint but the essence of your writing reminds me somewhat of the islamic saint, rabia, or the indian poet, mira. the depth, accessibility, and spirit of your writing is very appealing. thank you!

as for giving up my baubles -- i shall contemplate this throughout my day and especially as i walk the labyrinth this evening.

Angela said...

I am constantly seeking to remind myself of who I am. Not in the world's eyes. But in God's. Not to seek feelings of affirment and worth from those around me or cultural and societal norms; but to seek them in a deeper place, from a deeper source.

amen amen amen..this post brought to my mind the scripture..He that started the good work in you, WILL complete it...yepper, even if it means you running naked..lol