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Variations on a Theme

“I used to think that God’s gifts were on shelves one above the other, and that the taller we grew in Christian character the easier we should reach them.  I find now that God’s gifts are on shelves one beneath the other, and that it is not a question of growing taller but of stooping lower, and that we have to go down, always down to get His best gifts.”  ~ F.B. Meyer
“Down it flows.  Down, always down, water runs, always looking for yet lower and lower places to flow…whenever I am parched and dry, I must go lower with the water and I must kneel low in thanks.  The river of joy flows down to the lowest places.”  ~ Ann Voskamp (One Thousand Gifts)
“Jesus’ compassion is characterized by a downward pull.  That is what disturbs us…Jesus’ whole life and mission involve accepting powerlessness and revealing in this powerlessness the limitlessness of God’s love.” ~ Henri Nouwen (Compassion)
“If only we would let ourselves be dominated
as things do by some immense storm,
we would become strong too “
                                                ~ Rainer Maria Rilke (“The Man Watching”)
“Utterly powerless to resist the onslaught of your will, I am released, totally free.”  ~ May Onsuon
“Take me to you, imprison me, for I
Except you enthrall me, never shall be free,
Nor ever chaste, except you ravish me.”
                                                ~ John Donne (“Holy Sonnet 14”)
“A boundary had been crossed.  She had come into a world, or into a Person, or into the presence of a Person.  Something expectant, patient, inexorable, met her with no veil or protection between…This demand which now pressed upon her was not, even by analogy, like any other demand.  It was the origin of all right demands and contained them…In this height and depth and breadth the little idea of herself which she had hitherto called me dropped down and vanished, unfluttering , into bottomless distance, like a bird in a space without air.” C.S. Lewis (That Hideous Strength)
“There was nothing but a darkness of the most dreadful pressure – and the edge of the pit I was falling towards.  Nothing could stop me and just as I fell…just as I fell I was entirely all right.  I fell into safety.  I was just quite happy.  I can’t tell you – it was just being swallowed up by peace.” ~ Charles Williams (War in Heaven)
 Does this happen to anyone else, I wonder?  The same ideas have kept coming up in my reading lately.  Is Someone trying to tell me that I still really don’t get it?  I know I’m not the greatest genius in the world; I’m not even the greatest genius I know personally, not by a long shot.  But neither am I a complete dunce (I think).  What I undoubtedly am, though, is busy, and exhausted, and distracted, and off center.  Maybe Someone is just trying, by incredibly patient repetition, to get through my scattered thoughts, past what I understand, to someplace deeper in me, to remind me what I know.

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