Sometimes we experience a terrible dryness in our spiritual life. We feel no desire to pray, don’t experience God’s presence, get bored with worship services, and even think that everything we ever believed about God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit is little more than a childhood fairy tale.
Then it is important to realise that most of these feelings and thoughts are just feelings and thoughts, and that the Spirit of God dwells beyond our feelings and thoughts. It is a great grace to be able to experience God’s presence in our feelings and thoughts, but when we don’t, it does not mean that God is absent. It often means that God is calling us to a greater faithfulness. It is precisely in times of spiritual dryness that we must hold on to our spiritual discipline so that we can grow into new intimacy with God. – Henri Nouwen
I subscribed to Henri Nouwen’s emails a while back. I read them every day and there’s usually a little something that speaks to my heart. This morning I woke up thinking about the desert. Specifically the Painted Desert – thinking of the amazing beauty I remember. I have actual print photos that I took with a camera that had film, somewhere.
There are several scriptural references to the desert being that intimate place with God. Jesus takes that trip out into the desert place just prior to his entry into full time ministry.
I remember loving that time in the desert. There’s just something so beautiful about the physical space. The colors in the Painted Desert were not what I thought they’d be, they were more and deeper.
Intimacy is challenging at best. Intimacy, and I do not mean physical intimacy. Baring my heart is challenging, it leaves me open to heartache & hurt or deep love. Intimacy means taking risks. Risks are risky. Choosing to open up to someone takes a lot of work on my part. Sometimes it’s really beautiful and an amazing friendship develops. Sometimes it’s a short term relationship. Sometimes it causes a lot of heart ache. It’s a risk that’s worthy of taking.
The gift of intimacy is a deepening understanding of another person. A person that adds to the richness and depth of my being and I to theirs. I can not begin to tell you how much my sweetie has added to my life over the years or how much I value and trust him. And therein is the secret, no, not the secret, the key to intimacy, Trust. I trust him. Both trust and intimacy take time to develop, nurture and maintain.
Intimacy is not for every relationship. Some relationships are meant to be on the surface or for a short period of time. Never going deeper than the puddle of a sudden, very brief shower or a mirage. Intimacy doesn’t belong there. And that’s a good thing. Sometimes we have to learn the hard way which relationships those are and occasionally that hurts.
We have the same relationships with some of our quilts. Some are in and out of our sewing room so fast that we wonder if we really made them. The depth of that quilt is meant for someone else.
There are some quilts that speak so clearly that we must stop and listen to them. We have a relationship with them. They tell us who they are going to be with words that can not be expressed verbally. And we love them for that.
We love them all the more for that.We enjoy their expressiveness and character.
They are who they are and we’re just along for the ride.
Moon Over Manhattan aka Little Miss Sassy Pants is one of those intimate quilts who spoke very clearly, expressing herself along the way about who she wanted to be, I got to listen and enjoy the process of making Moon. And I got to bang my head on the nearest wall a few times too. Just part of any quilt that has a mind of it’s own.
There are some quilts I’ve made that I can give away with no regret. This one though, mmm no. Just no. Like a couple of other quilts, it’s just entirely too personal. Moon has more in store for me, we still have something to share.
The beauty about intimacy with our quilts is that often we learn more about who we are as people, who we want to be, what is the best about ourselves and how much we’ve grown. It’s not always apparent on the surface. But it’s there. Just like with people that deep rich interior life is not always apparent on the surface, it’s there though. Spend time with them and Wow!