By Audre Rickard
It was earlier in the summer, it was suggested I try a prayer practice that asks an object in nature what it wanted to say to me. As I walked out the front door of my home, I began to take notice of what I could see, feel and hear. The sun was warm, the air was fresh and day seemed to already be bustling. As I closed my eyes to quiet my thoughts, I immediately became present to the sounds of chirping birds. Some pleasant, some not so much, some short chirps and other long and rolling calls. They were so loud and yet so delightful.
It was obvious, I was to have a conversation with a bird.
“Oh bird, what do you want to say to this lonely soul?”
Don’t cry baby girl, you are not alone.
Cry baby girl, for your tears are precious gems.
Be downcast, let’s go to the depths together. I’ll bring my joyful chipper and you bring your tears. We’ll be together in the depths where the good dirt is home to worms and bugs, hosting seeds of beauty and blossoms for the future.
Let’s look under every stone and behind every shadow for there is beauty and wonder to behold in the dark, lonely place that houses your soul.
Let’s never fear loneliness for through it you will find, your lonely companion is a wondrous site.
I am here baby girl, lonely is ok. It’s not to be feared for it is just a friend who needs more attention every once in awhile. And when we stay awhile not in fear, we will find companions of compassion, peace, presence, wonder, beauty, and grace are close by.
Embracing us in the warmest of hugs in the deep darkest of places, where Love is holding us all together.
So while you may have thought my joyful chipper was to distract you from the reality of the deep dark lonely cave, my chipper joy was only to keep you present to the reality of paradox where all things reside in the Spirit.
My pauses are times of breathing in the breath of my Creator to saturate my body with the life blood of peace, hope, wonder, sorrow, joy, compassion, grace and Love. For I am sacred just like you. My breath and my song are all sacred. My joy and my loneliness are for me as a bird. I am a more solitary being than my joyful chipper sings.
My joy and my sorrow are sacredly link to who I am, a bird.
So follow me baby girl for I will descend with you to the depths and I will ascend with you to the heights. For loneliness is our companion who is good, kind, gentle and loving. It is not the noose the enemy has fabricated it to be.
For where you are, I AM.
It still brings me to tears to read the Spirit’s answer to my simple question. Being with the Spirit through nature is a wondrous experience. It invites us to look deeper than what we see on the surface and plumb the lines of paradox in a gentle and affirming way.
As I reflect back on what this bird said to me, it is a gift to feel lonely and know I am never alone. Normally, I would distract myself from feeling this way because I feared I couldn’t handle the pain of my loneliness. I didn’t believe I would come back up from the deep dark lonely place. I thought being lonely meant I was inadequate or mentally ill. I also believed feeling lonely meant I was doubting the presence of the Spirit. These are all lies the enemy fabricated to keep me stuck.
Thankfully, the Spirit of the Living God knows I am human, full of emotion and easily distracted. The Spirit gently invites me to return to be present as my thoughts ping pong back and forth between past painful memories and the possibilities of the future.
Being in the present gives me an opportunity to live in the paradox and wonder of the Spirit.
Accepting paradox allows experiences to be defined as both/and instead of either/or. The both/and allows the seemingly conflicting and splintering things inside of me to reside peaceably, trusting Jesus to hold me together when it feels like I ought to be coming apart.
Where there is loneliness, the Spirit saturates us with compassion, peace, wonder, beauty, and grace in the deep dark places. Sometimes trusted people coming alongside us sitting in the depths with us and other times through the mystery of God, the Spirit’s presence is tangibly with us in the cave of our loneliness.
There is something incredibly profound and assuring that when we fall into deep wells of paradox, we find the waiting Spirit inviting us to explore, discover and be in the depths with us.
Because where ever we are, the Spirit is too.
In the Spirit’s Tight Grip,
Hello, I'm Audre.
I hold space for individuals needing care for their soul as they overcome the devastating blows of divorce and grow to thrive in the density of God's grace. I purpose to be a person with whom you will be heard, seen, and known in a safe, non-judgmental and accepting way. I have been told my capacity to honor people without judgement is magnetic.
I have a BA of Religion with an emphasis in Biblical and Theological Studies through Liberty University. I am currently pursuing a certificate in the Art and the Practice of Spiritual Direction through the Companioning Center. I am a Hope*Writer and the Blog Editor for the Companioning Center.
If you or anyone you know is going through a divorce and needs a safe place to be in community to process, be loved and be seen, please email me at email@example.com or visit my website at www.audrerickard.com. It would be an honor to walk along side you or your friends.