My husband Travis asked me who I was as I stood over my balcony flowers and tended to their dead leaves. The vision was so foreign to him, both of us perplexed by the changes taking place in my thoughts and actions.
“I can’t say right now,” I replied. “All that I know is this experience I have with myself and with God, and there are no words for it.”
We married when I was nineteen and he was twenty-one years young, and during the first year of our marriage we grew zinnias on the side of our one-bedroom house, a perfect patch of sunshine right outside the kitchen window. We had a tiny oak table planted right by that window where we ate our breakfast and drank our coffee, and I could look outside.
We dug little holes and planted the seeds, and I tried to appreciate digging my hands in that brown soil, but it was a struggle.
Seven years later, every tiny green head rising out of the pot on my balcony is a reminder of God in my midst, God bringing life-mystery to our tiny spaces.
Richard Rohr describes a mystic as “one who has moved from mere belief systems or belonging systems to actual inner experience.”
There, I thought, it says it, so I must claim it: I’m a mystic in my searching.
I’ve lived 27 years and deeply loved the pictures of Jesus I’ve known, always felt his kindness over me.
Now all I know is that it is somehow bigger.
This capacity to love is multiplied, and Jesus holds more than I ever thought, loves better than I’ve ever even wanted to love. He sees more than I’ll ever see, and he asks me to marvel while he sits right next to me, reminding me that he is present and good.
I see that there are more facets to his being than we ever give him credit for, and that if we want to see them, it’s going to take a great deal of time and vulnerability, a great deal of searching the open land of our hearts. His capacity for loving me will never be shaken as I search the wrinkle lines of his face, as I touch the palms of his rough carpenter hands.
When my father left when I was nine, my God was a fathering God, a parenting God, one who takes space in my home, in my surroundings, in my everyday experience. I knew the God of the Southern Baptist tradition and the God of the nondenominational church, and then the God of my Native American ancestors, all speaking to me—still.
The image has transformed through the years of my life, and today I see this Mysterious and benevolent good, and words can’t quite make out a shape of what God means to me from day to day. And so the Mystery stretches into new forms and new shapes, into the quiet of an afternoon, into the laughter of my boys as they run barefoot on fluffy green grass.
And I see it in my friends, in my community, in my family, the ways that God injects Mystery into our lives and we cannot look away. There is so much good, unfathomable good, that we are undone by it.
And that’s exactly where we are asked to be, to receive without understanding, to receive and know that it is good.
Because Jesus was human, his love knows our humanity, too. Jesus was marked for his work, for his kind doings, for his unmoving spirit, for his holy goodness.
If I am marked as a mystic today, may it be so, if only I am brought deeper in. There are no words to describe the deep love, all-encompassing, that searches our hearts. May our experiences bring us into glory on a daily basis and give us space to learn. May we only seek it, ask it, beg for it with our arms stretched toward Kingdom.
Sometimes you slowly speak, small bits and pieces we try to work together
to see what’s bigger there. And then you stir wildly
and every emotional capacity is taken up,
every nerve pointed to your voice,
to the waiting,
to this severe need to be
close enough to hear you.
Speak of the world to us.
You are the wildest and holiest experience.
You are the greatest adventure.
You are the best miracle-maker.
You are the truest lover.
Your voice echoes inside of us,
digs its way into our bones and veins,
our senses and brains,
into the most hollow corners,
into the darkest spaces.
Oh, you fill us.
Fill us again and again,
in every experience, glory abounding.
This post is an excerpt from the new book Glory Happening: Finding The Divine in Everyday Places by Kaitlin B. Curtice