” The recognition that one’s life is meant to be lived from the inside out is a milepost on our spiritual journey. In a society which lays such great stress on outward appearances, labels and symbols of success it will take an earnest concentration on our part to free ourselves from this highly touted living on the circumference. “–Bob Benson, Disciplines For The Inner Life
Living on the circumference.
By definition: the enclosing boundary of a curved geometric figure, especially a circle.
By association: synonyms: perimeter, border, boundary, edge, rim, verge, margin, fringe
By etymology: This word comes from the Latin, it means to carry, or bear around or about…
As I sit gazing at these words, I realize I am beholding the place where lepers dwell. The social misfits, the spiritual outcasts, the religiously impure, the broken bodies, minds, spirits of the strangers… the ones no one gets…the angry ones. The deeply soul sad, the fearful and cautious ones who look for stones behind every passing cloak. The thought comes to me of Yeshua The Rabbi’s response to the walking dead. What was His interpretation of Leviticus?
The leper who has the disease shall wear torn clothes and let the hair of his head hang loose, and he shall cover his upper lip and cry, `Unclean, unclean.’ He shall remain unclean as long as he has the disease; he is unclean; he shall dwell alone in a habitation outside the camp.
Matthew 11:28-30The Message (MSG)
28-30 “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”
Grief can make you live on the circumference. Feeling like an electron slowly moving around a nucleus of sorrow that won’t let you go. Pulling you ever inward. I am discovering in my orbit an internal language for loss. I never knew such words or phrases existed until I found myself walking ragged through the ashes.
I turn to the Rabbi’s invitation and question whether it is for me. What is the garment of mourning supposed to “fit” like? at the moment it is tight and constricting and I can’t breathe most days. But I can’t take it off. It is like being strapped into a dress that the zipper has broken on. To tight to go over your head, to small to slide over the hips. Only way out is the scissors-but the price tag keeps my hands at bay…I have paid so much for this dress.
No one ever told me that grief would feel so much like fear.