obedience and rage

i’ve never liked the idea of obedience.

always feeling it as laced with patriarchy and dominance.


and…i’d say that i’m practicing obedience these days.

obedience to God. to Spirit. to Love, Life, Truth.

i still don’t really like it.

today, it pissed me off.

this week was beautiful, magical, a week of sacred surrender.

it’s lent.

a time to go into the wilderness…to get quiet, listen, and draw closer to God.

like a good disciple, i did that. i obeyed.

because paradoxically, it’s through this form of discipleship that we find our freedom.

i led an ash wednesday service with Quanita for a historically Black faith community, offering up our story, the Dagara Medicine Wheel, and the 40 day Journey To Remembering Soul and Spirit.

yep. that’s right. “i led”.

it was time for me to take responsibility for this co-creation.

for who i am becoming.

i was scared.

and i trusted.

spirit has taught me.

knowing all the moments that have led to this moment, all the choices–things done and left undone–to bring me here.

it’s no accident. there is purpose. there is Love.

and it shifted everything.

you know the kind of deep down shifting that happens, like tectonic plates that cause earthquakes?

yeah, that.

and Truth came in. choices became clearer. scales fell off my eyes and…light came in.


there are lines in a favorite poem by Leon Wieseltier entitled “Sink So As to Rise” that go like this:

Do you wish to persevere pridefully in the old life?

Of course you do; the old was a good life. But it is no longer available to you.

It has been carried away, irreversibly.

So there is only one thing to be done.

Transformation must be met with transformation.

Where there was the old life, let there be the new life.

i don’t want to leave my old life. i don’t to want to let go of my hopes, my beliefs, my visions.

and yet, this is what i know about faith, about following Spirit.

what is ahead is beyond my imagination.

i know, because it is already here, now.

it’s magic.

you couldn’t make this story up!

the joy! the wonder!


there is loss that comes, sadness…

and a bit of digging in my feet.

weeks ago, i was accepted into the Center for Action and Contemplation’s Living School. it took a long time for me to apply, the nudge there for a long time.

i relented.

and then, as i waited for the decision, an excitement grew. i wanted to be accepted; i wanted to go.

and also, the land. with the longing to be the student of Grandmother Earth. to be humbly in her presence.

i kept saying to myself and to friends, “the earth is my teacher now”.

nevertheless, i’ve been filling up my life…yes to this, yes to that. yes, yes, yes.

and knowing that there must be space. for the land and the earth’s teachings and the new life that will come.

i’m gonna have to say no.

we confuse ourselves. distract ourselves. it’s like the temptation that Jesus faced when he went into the wilderness.

and the wild beasts there–along with both Satan and the angels–offer the Truth. they ignite the wild in Jesus.

remind him who He is.

i believe that the journey into the wilderness of our souls conjures our wild.

and once it’s conjured, there’s no going back.

so, shit.

i was pissed. and sat still with it as the grief surfaced.

letting it move me.

letting it trans-form me.

letting it inspire me to clean out my closet and bag up clothes that no longer fit for Goodwill (alas, there were many)

singing my heart out to Barry Manilow (yes, that is RIGHT!)

letting the tears flow

into the spaces within me that are now open

with my release of the things that no longer serve.

4 thoughts on “obedience and rage

  1. This speaks to me, especially the part about meeting transformation with transformation. It’s so easy to expend precious energy on hanging on to your old life, being in denial about the truth of of needing to leave it behind. I recognize the grief that comes once you finally realize you have to let it go.

    Obedience is such a hard one, with all it’s overtones of control and patriarchy. I’m a Benedictine oblate (an Episcopal one affiliated with an ecumenically minded Catholic monastery) and we have trouble with that word, too. We talk a lot about how the word has its roots in the Latin for “to listen.” As in, deep listening has to happen for true obedience to the Spirit, not the often false voices that we are trained to listen to. Thank you for sharing your journey.


    1. Ah, yes, Kathleen. Thank you for that reminder about the roots of obedience in “to listen”. I love that reminder. And this: “expending precious energy on hanging on to your old life.”–amen. Gratitude for this connection on our journeys.


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