I was raised Roman Catholic and “communion” was “holy.” More than once in the first decade of being a Christian I was overwhelmed at how fully we could participate in this now commemoration, then sacred sacrament. It was in bible school, late 70’s, that I convinced a few families that it was okay to share the Lords supper in our campus apartment.
Our head can believe something while our whole being is shocked and recoils at what seems an impertinent truth. You cannot change what we know and will not relinquish. Our head can be logically correct without question but some knowings run in the part of us where right and wrong do not rule. Our knowing is unfettered by our head’s persuasions and to attempt to act on any new, brazen belief trying to assert itself above our knowing provokes a visceral response.
And so, my hands shook as I broke that loaf. My mouth went dry. I pressed on visibly trembling–we all saw and all felt the same to one degree or another. I wasn’t ashamed. It felt like a butterfly strenuously emerging from its cocoon. Even had I wanted to turn back, I was unable to stop.
In that same way there are things I understand that are correct and true. But my being knows an older way that is not open for logical exploration. I set that loaf on a tray before me. I feel my hands start to tremble. Being in private I can simply push the tray away. My apprehension fades just enough but not enough to go on as before. An uneasy détente.
I am waiting for permission. My head rightly understands no such thing is necessary. But I know. I’ve always known. I am unworthy. Disgusting. The gates of permission were pounded closed and chained as a child and they remain impenetrable as a man. As long as I stand back and do not touch the forbidden gateway. Fear manages that. I see the other side through the bars. I desperately want that. May I? Please? I know it isn’t for me. I wait, for a permission I realize will never be granted because it will expose the locked gates as being made of nothing more substantial than spider webs. For decades I watch from outside.
Stalemate gray blocks the warmth and light of the sun as I can neither deny my knowing nor lay hold of my believing.
He whispers so often. Nudging. Is it His voice or my bedraggled hope? Finally His voice becomes loud enough I can hear what He is saying. He is saying, always saying, has been forever saying, “Yes.” Out of the silence He bursts into a roar in my ears, “be strong and very courageous!” Have not I called you? I will not cast you away. I. Will. Not. I will be with you always.
I pick up the loaf, my hand now steady…the gate melts in the light. And as if I came home through this path every day I am welcomed.