I was once asked by a spiritual director what words God would use to describe me. I often get images instead of words when she asked this kind of question. Then I have to translate the images. It is kind of like dream analysis. It has nothing to do with the images in the dream, and everything to do with your impression of those images. For example, a wolf could be seen as a predator or as a protector. It all depends on your experience with the image.
In this case I saw a plain, unvarnished wooden block. The natural lines of the block were visible. Then I got further images, of deep pits going straight down. I was reminded of Celtic burial pits. They are up to 20 feet deep and have all sorts of offerings in them, including entire trees.
I felt that the images were partly about staying in one place, and being OK with it. About accepting that where I am now is where I need to be. About trust, and not struggling so much. About not having to come up with words all the time.
A block is finished by another person. It doesn’t make itself. I’m reminded of the Masonic idea of the finished block as a symbol for the completed person. It is called an ashlar. It is stable. It stays put. It is a good base for other blocks. Blocks are used for cornerstones. Blocks, added together, create buildings. Each block has to be strong and well-cut. I can see the pattern of the rings on the block in my image. Years and years of growth are required to get it to this point. It isn’t an overnight thing. That’s important too.
Then on Friday at yoga class the image that kept coming to me was that of a robin’s egg. Simple and strong, this tiny blue thing has within it a seed of a bird. In one way, it already is a bird, we just can’t see it yet. The bird inside the shell doesn’t suffer from the definitions that we give it. It already is a bird even if we wouldn’t call it that. Things in nature are thankfully unaware that we have different words for them at different stages of their growth. The caterpillar is the butterfly, regardless of what we say. It is the same being no matter what it looks like.
What I learned from all of this was to be OK with where I am. Trust the process. Know that years and years of growth were necessary to get where I am. Know that others have shaped me, sometimes painfully. Know that the shaping has resulted in a stability that is useful. Know that my future and my past are all connected, and God sees it even though I don’t yet.
It has been such a challenge for me to get to this point. I don’t want to relax and slack off. I keep pushing myself because I know what I’m like when I don’t. But these images are telling me that I’m OK as I am, and to grow into it. I’m also being told that the process is slow and painful, and I won’t do it all myself. Even though I’m adrift right now, I keep getting messages from God that it’s OK. Adrift can be safer than stuck on a path that is going nowhere.