"Watchman" Pt 2

I am a "watchman" on an ancient city wall. Everything around me has changed and yet remained the same. Or rather, I have changed. I have discovered new movements and groups both within and beyond my city. I have listened in on the latest rumors of war. I have been more courageous in questioning and answering with integrity; in loving the citizens of my city as well as those that lie beyond its walls. Standing on the wall, there has still been the temptation—the compulsion—to face my city and long to be in a more central place, a place of prominence. Seeing the joy and effectiveness in the lives of others, I have sought to make that my own. I have tried to move off the wall and into the city, and I did for a time.

I moved into the center of my city, the very heart of where I came from. I bore my soul to my city's leaders. I shared my concerns developed from years on the walls. I shared the love in my heart for the king our city stands for and my desire to share that love in and out of the city. Much of this caused confusion. A trusted watchman they thought they knew had formed perspectives they thought were dangerous. They saw my heart and intentions were good, but I seemed far too comfortable looking outside my city walls. After much deliberation, and with caution and great reservations, they offered me a post in the city's center. More than a little surprised, I was thrilled! With exhilaration I connected more deeply with those who I had only seen from a distance. Having moved beyond the anger that once gripped my heart, I was able to move freely in the center of the city. With work to do in the city center, I kept busy, and thought less about the far off green places, mountains and dreams I once had. Maybe, I thought, I could finally take up residence here. Perhaps now was the time that I would finally be at peace with the longings I had felt from the wall, that I would truly be able to speak with and work with my city's members in a meaningful way. The city still had quirks, and I would fairly often run into war stories and an expressed fear of outsiders, but I was making a difference. In some places the buildings (and people) were in disrepair, but I refused to let that hold me back. These were the people and places I loved. It was home. In sharing my heart with my city, I was able to get to the heart of its members. I found that I was not the only one with questions, nor the only one who felt disconnected or discontent. I saw that there were deep parallels within our hearts, and that I had the unique privilege of finding them and speaking them. I found that things that the voice within me had revealed were bringing life and joy to my city. Like flowers opening to the sun, I pointed to light and watched those in front of me begin to open. They were asking questions. They were growing in love towards members of our city and those outside it. Not only were they growing, but I was growing. Where I had been near-constantly second-guessing myself from the wall, now I simply lived. I took risks. I said things as I felt or saw them. I was more honest, more humble, and more able to see clearly where emotion had colored my vision in the past. I was more confident. No longer looking for a place, I lived my purpose—to touch the hearts of others and to awaken them to the love beating in their own hearts. I didn't look exactly like other city members, and I still thought differently on many things, but I didn't care. While I knew in the back of my mind that this place in the city may only be temporary, I began to dream of planting roots here. But it was not to last...

It happened on multiple fronts, multiple levels. It wasn't all "them," and it wasn't all "me." But it happened. The encounters I had with foreigners continued in the city gate. In times of quiet or reflection I would wander around my city, revisit my post on the wall and remember some of the far-off places my heart yearned to visit. I found those yearnings were still in me. As I worked in the city center, I became increasingly aware of the inner workings of the city. Policies, procedures, practices... So many of them looked to me like a waste of time and energy. So many looked to me like it took the focus off the people that make up the city and those who venture in and instead were building walls. Instead of reconstructing the city center to be more open and make space for relationship, I found myself encumbered by structures and routines. The very things built to facilitate our city limited its life and vibrancy. This discouraged me, and brought back questions of my purpose within the city. Even so I worked and thought that I would still enjoy the possibility of being more settled here. Then the city leaders reminded me of the differences. They pointed out places that concerned me. They told me I didn't fit, at least not in the position I had. I then had to face every emotion imaginable. I was scared. The city had provided some sense of security, that I was taken care of. I was angry. Angry that the city would still divide and separate over differences rather than facing the questions that lie beneath. I was also confused. Confused at how I could be doing so much of what was on my heart and still find places where I was unfulfilled, let alone that I now had to figure a new means of habitation in the city center. The anger quickly subsided. Love for my city won out again! I remembered the relationships that were built, the lives that were changed. I was aware that so many of the friends I made in the city would be inhabiting it differently than they had before! There was a deeper joy, a deeper curiosity and a deeper love! I forgave policies, procedures, practices and politics. All that remained was some confusion... What do I do now?

 The voice within me began to resonate, reverberate louder than ever. This time, not only a word, but a song. A melody played in my soul. It was alluring. It was beautiful. As I listened, entranced, I was guided by the voice through my past until this moment. The song led me through moments of learning, of courage, of trial, of pain, of trust and fear. The song led me to see myself with other eyes, with the sense that my life was being guided for good and was not only the sum total of my choices. The voice became polyphonic, and rich harmonies echoed in my inner being. As I reveled in the mystery of the moment. The voice sang courage into the fabric of my being, and I drank it in. I received it. I received hope. I savored the taste of wonder. The voice was showing me that the song playing in my soul was and was not my song. I did not originate it, I was not the one singing it, yet my life had given shape to it. Somehow, I was able to direct the melodies. There was a part I had to play in the piece. As the soul-symphony began to build towards a climax and hold, I realized that my willingness to participate in with the voice would affect the song's trajectory. Not only that, but the song was asking for me to awaken to something deep within, a hope for the future. Would I rise to live my purpose? Would I dare venture into the unknown, wherever the voice would lead me? Would I go deeper than a worry about my place in the city could ever take me? "YES!" The cry rang out from the center of my being. I will let go of worry. Let go of my need to have a place. Let go of any remaining hostility and let the voice of love lead me.  I will trust that my place is where my heart is, and wherever I am led I will love and affect positive change. I protect the big yes of my heart with little "no's." I will say no to ego, who needs security, who fears loss of control to a point of paralysis. I will kindly, with gentleness and firmness, tell members of my city no when I am asked to go against the voice of the one I love. I will say no to a self-love that leads to self-hate and back again, because I am loved.

The voice then showed me a picture. I saw myself leaving my city. With a smile on my face and a pack strapped to my back, I walked by dear friends in the city gate and waved a fond farewell. I was venturing into the unknown. I was on an adventure, and I would be soon. My future was not to be one of fearful paralysis, but joyful exploration! I do not know where I will go, but I know and trust the voice that guides me. Even as I gear up to leave my city, I know that it will always—in some sense—be my home. The king of the city will always be mine, and I will never need to break kinship with the members of the city. I know that now. I know that I can continue to share my perspective learned on the wall, and that perspective will continue to grow and change in relationship to the voice and others. I know that I neither have to defend my city nor be its center, and that I can represent it from outside. I know that I will venture back into the city and will still maintain relationships with those I know inside those walls. I turn to face the city gate. I close my eyes and breathe deeply. This is important, a key moment in the shape and tune of my song. I smile. I begin to walk, with a renewed confidence and full heart, looking through my city to the world at large with a beaming inner hope. I know who I am and some of what I am to do.

Benjamin FaderComment