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Meditations on My Father: One

July 6, 2010

There is a language of the heart and unless that language is taught the heart is left unknown, alone, and silent.  My father never really taught me this language, or perhaps more accurately, taught me a distorted and elementary form of it.  All human fathers distort this language to some degree because their own hearts are corrupt, and on this scale my father was better than some and worse than others.  My heart is the nexus of my identity; the intersection of all that I am, that indivisible spiritual core that is more metaphysical than empirical.  It is the repository of meaning, memory, will, affection, intellect, dream and destiny.  Both its horrific corruption and its inestimable worth set it apart above all creation, it is the spoils of the heavenly war, and the spiritual organ of divine glory.  The language of the heart brings the consequences of the self to bear on the external world, for good or for ill.

Because I did not know this language I was like a mute man who understood, to some degree, the world around him but was not communing with it.  A life of frustrated quiet ensued, my body learned the ways of this quiet, learned to physically respond to spiritual realities which would make the silence ever more burdensome.  My body worked against me and I began more and more to feel as if my own flesh were a prison.  What I needed was to have my tongue unfurled, loosened from its moors, and set sail upon a sea of literacy which would bring my heart into the world.

To this day it is pain to find words to communicate my heart.  There are days when I wished I could cry or laugh, scream or whisper, but my body cannot respond given the silence of my heart.   I often read books to find others who could say what I could not, I listened to music because there were times when the rise and fall of the melody was more fitting than a word, written or spoken.  I thank God for those because they helped me find my voice, yet I often would mistake them for my voice and so were taken away, and I was left drowning in the quagmire of my own cardiological illiteracy.

When my father left I wasn’t devastated, I wasn’t shocked, in fact I realized I couldn’t feel the way I needed to feel because he never passed on to me an adequate vocabulary to express what was right to feel, what was true to the heart.  After many long hours of laborious study in therapy, spiritual direction, prayer, and God’s words I began to learn this language, began to build off the rudimentary building blocks that were passed on to me, and I learned to speak from the heart.  I had to learn this language as an adult, when it is much more difficult, because I was not taught it as a child.

What I can thank my father for is introducing me to the One who speaks this language without flaw.  His tongue is sharper than any double-edged sword and pierces between bone and marrow, soul and spirit.  He teaches in a most secret way, inscribing the language on the very organ of His own splendor.  There is at times a pain in the flow of his quill, writing out decay and death, sorrow and sickness, wickedness and worry, but then in an unexpected way at an unexpected time we speak, Him and I.  We speak from heart to heart in an inexplicably beautiful language of power, grace, and glory; a language so full of love that I find myself turning from it not in shame but because of the sheer weight of its goodness.

“For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba, Father!” ~ Romans 8:15

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. July 6, 2010 9:32 pm

    beautifully written!
    my heart so misses the little opportunities I had in the past to hear the cry of your heart.

    One thing is crystal clear and that is that you are always in the process of seeking truth and living authentically.

    You inspire me!

    Holly Mikovits

  2. Miriam Maneevone permalink
    July 6, 2010 9:37 pm

    I thank Abba that you have found your voice. as you have learned to grieve deeply, you have learned to love authentically not just by your voice, but more importantly, by your life. I count it such a joy that Abba brought you to our family.your full range of emotions of life’s experience voiced is always welcome and safe here. I love you, Sam. Mom.
    Ps please keep writing. You have something to say and you say it well.

  3. JRutt permalink
    July 7, 2010 2:34 pm

    I don’t know if it’s the uncanny connection as friends that you and share or just our mutual passion for life and grace….or maybe it’s because we both struggle with the same problems yet on the opposite spectrum from one another. Either way, I have always heard your heart talking and it has blessed me.

    I guess it just goes to show that God really does use us despite our own self-failures.

  4. jedpaschall permalink
    July 8, 2010 8:07 am

    Sam,

    It’s a real honor to share this struggle with you, to have an implicit understanding that only brothers can have. You echo Augustine’s notion that when we fell from God we are also estranged from our own hearts. So much of our heart’s language on this side of glory is typified by “groanings to deep for words” simply because, in our frailty we cannot speak from them as we ought. I have found great solace in knowing that God knows the heart’s cry of his children, and as he causes us to grow in him. He helps us to find that lost language so that we can consciously know and be known despite our frailties.

    I’d be lying if I said I have discerned God’s providence in what has befallen our family, but I have seen tremendous growth. In you, I see this as you find your voice, and uncover the language of a heart wounded by the reality of a sinful world. Keep speaking brother, God has given strength to this growing voice he has given you.

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