Friday, April 17, 2009

Exploring the many mansions

We've all heard the phrase "in my father's house there are many mansions." When I was growing up I took that to mean that there was room in heaven for all kinds of people, but later, when I began to rebel against the "One Way" aspect of Christianity, I came to believe that though there is one divine presence in the world, and one primary message of love and compassion, there were lots of different ways of disseminating that message, in order to accommodate all the different kinds of people in the world.

Somewhere in that phase I came to realize that Christianity, though I have lots of reservations about it, is the message that works most effectively for me. There are, of course, lots of different aspects to Christianity, and over time some have proven either healing or troublesome for me, but I think the tension in that has been productive, and I've enjoyed the freedom to wander through different parts of that "house," exploring.

But today I'm thinking that I am also, to some extent, my father's house. And like the hotel in this picture, different parts of it are occupied at different times; light falls on different parts at different times, and some of the lower/deeper aspects of this particular home are pretty much constantly in shadow. There is, I think, a natural longing to follow the light; to spend most of my time in the "mansions" that are well lit and familiar. But sometimes the dark seems to be rising, to be stretching fingers of darkness into the light, like some insidious weed (can you tell I spent some time in my yard yesterday?), and I have this sense that I may need to get down to the root of it, to take the light of love and compassion down with me into some of those lower rooms and trust that light to illuminate some of my lesser known bits of internal furniture.

I fully expect to trip over things, and know I may occasionally need to come up for a little recharge of my batteries, but I've been living in the light long enough now to see it as an adventure, and would rather consciously walk into it than have it creep up on me and extinguish what light I do have.

I know, it sounds like Lent. Maybe it's just leftovers from Lent. But my dreams have been incredibly vivid lately, and I know you can't have all that color without light. So I'll take it as a sign and embark on the journey. And if it only lasts a minute, or an hour, or a day -- at least I will have honored the existence of those other mansions.

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