Once again I welcome Margaret Kirby as my guest blogger today. Her beautiful post gives us much to ponder alone with God.
“Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere; I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked” (Psalm 84:10).
I went through a period last year, and many of us probably did, where the vision of my mind’s eye, content with introspection, grew to know nearly every bend and fold in the rippling fabric of my mind. Thoughts which once hid in the corners and outer fringes slowly became familiar to me as I separated myself from my life and looked around. The whole world slowed and I finally felt as if I had found the pace my life was meant to be lived in. Now, over a year later, I can’t help but stop and think about where I was this time last year– moving slowly and savoring things I never knew could be savored. Where did that self go? The one who stepped softly on the flowerbeds of her life and remembered to breathe deeply? Now that it’s nearing the end of June, I’m thinking back to this past April and May when I heard the people around me saying “the world has picked up speed again whether we’re ready for it or not.” I know I wasn’t quite ready.
But the extremities, the vast change in the pace of my life from last year to now, help me see more clearly just what exactly happened between now and then. The onrush of social activities, getting to converse with friends in person again, and fill my schedule to the brim, all of these things left my mind feeling like a garment turned inside out. Rather than pondering my thoughts, rather than pulling them from the edges of my mind with care, I was simply saying them aloud to whichever friend felt fitting. And before my thoughts ever had the chance to really stick in my brain, they were already gone and my mind had switched to the next thing. Granted, I think our minds can handle a great many thoughts at once, and that’s one of the most beautiful things I’ve learned. Indeed, we’re meant to share what’s on our mind or else no one will ever be able to draw near to us and love us– but I’m learning that a life where we only give our thoughts to those around us without first taking time to hold those thoughts within ourselves can be a strangely empty and numb life. Introspection keeps our vision alive to the kingdom of God around us.
As I sat down to read some scripture this morning and spend some time in prayer, I felt as though the Holy Spirit was telling me: “that’s why this time with me is so crucial– I’m the only one in the whole wide world with whom you can share your thoughts with and they won’t fly away from you.” Fellowship with Him is actually, by some mystical and inexplicable reality, solitude itself. He dwells within us. Sharing thoughts with Him is a more careful holding and stewarding of thoughts within ourselves — no other fellowship of person-to-person is like this. When we speak with other people, we inevitably have to let go of our thoughts or else we cannot share them, but with God, our thought-sharing is somehow entirely inward and contained, intimate and protected.
Time with Him in his throne-room, sitting around and talking about ideas with our Heavenly Father, choosing to search for the thoughts He himself has thought, and hearing the echoes of his responses to us in that hushed place is far more important than the exchange of thoughts over coffee with a dear friend, or a conversation with a loved one. I’ve been prioritizing the latter lately and I’ve felt as though I’m scattered in a million places, and maybe you have too. But there is One who wants to gather all our pieces up together and hold them for us. He wants to hear what’s on our minds, what’s troubling us or making us smile. All of our impressions about life, all of our wonderings and ideas– he wants to hear them and he will hold them for us in a way no one else can.
And, I can’t quite put it into words, but when I walk into his throne-room, the thoughts I once thought were so good and beautiful somehow melt from my hands to his, and even if I’m bringing harmful, bad thoughts, those slip away somewhere in all that melting and goodness slips in instead. When that happens, His thoughts mingle into mine and then I can’t quite tell which are mine and which are His to begin with, but somehow they’re all mine now to hold and own and they’re all so dear to my heart that I never want to let them go– that’s what scripture and prayer does to you. And it is a beautiful, wondrous thing. “So longing, I come before thee in thy sanctuary to look upon thy power and glory. Thy true love is better than life; therefore I will sing thy praises. And so I bless thee all my life and in thy name lift my hands in prayer” (Psalm 63:2-4).
Margaret Kirby is a junior at Samford University pursuing a bachelor’s degree in English with a double-minor in Classics and Philosophy. She is a member of Sigma Tau Delta, the Wide Angle editorial staff, and she sings in the A Cappella choir. Some of the things she loves most are the sky, old books, the smell of coffee, and the way food brings people together. She especially loves her Southern authors (mainly Sidney Lanier and Eudora Welty), and she also considers George MacDonald to be her grandfather in the faith. Her main purpose in life is to re-discover the magic of being a little child in the kingdom of God. So when she isn’t reading, writing, or singing, you can probably find her out gazing at clouds, wandering through forests, or looking for fairies.
You can find her on instagram @margaret.kirby.writing