Thursday, December 9, 2010

Awake, My Soul: Mumford & Sons and a Midweek Reflection on the Advent Season

How fickle my heart and how woozy my eyes
I struggle to find any truth in your lies
And now my heart stumbles on things I don't know
My weakness I feel I must finally show...

Awake my soul
Awake my soul
Awake my soul
For you were made to meet your Maker. (Mumford & Sons, "Awake My Soul")

This song skyrocketed to the top of my "most play" category in iTunes soon after I got the CD courtesy of Amazon. There is something in the rhythm of the song that speaks to me, something in its haunting, rollicking, almost a lullaby but then not at all... it's the in-between nature of the song that I fall in love with anew every time I hear it.

How fickle my heart. Here I am, just a few short days away from returning to Boston, and my heart is fickle. It loves everything here too much, everything at home too much, and everything not enough. I want to cry and take a plane home today. I want to laugh and hide in the basement of my building so that I miss my flight. But there it is: my fickle heart. I am fickle about a lot more than simply my excitement and sorrow at the close of this semester. I am fickle about Advent. I preach (on this blog and in my exuberant conversations with others) how much I love this time of preparation. But I have not practiced preparation this week so far. I keep saying I will do a daily devotional for Advent, that I will write in my journal, that I will pause and reflect. Selah. Selah. Pause and reflect. And instead I rush from moment to moment, afraid to lose any of them, afraid to be fully present where I am because I anticipate the leaving. I have no selah. I lack reflection and preparation. My heart is fickle.

How woozy my eyes. Have you ever thought about our lack of vision? So much of our world goes unseen because our eyes are woozy. I am realizing that I need glasses for distance vision (well, I've needed glasses for distance for about two years but have yet to get them and wear an appropriate prescription)... and the amount I cannot see sometimes surprises me (don't worry, friends, an appointment with the eye doctor is in the offing, at least it should be). I am astounded, however, at what I choose not to see. I choose not to see the glory of this world. I choose not to see the people here as glorious creatures. I choose not to believe in the best of them, and forsake the vision that they are people of the living God. My eyes are woozy.

I struggle to find any truth in your lies. I have been puzzling over this line for a few minutes as I have been writing, because I do not know whether or not I have such a struggle to tell, or any semi-profound thoughts on the subject. But truth and lies are certainly a part of Advent preparation. In Advent, the Truth arrives, in flesh, in embodied, human form. I am asked, and I ask myself, to prepare for the entrance of Truth into my heart. And to do so, I must clear away the cobwebs of lies. We tell so many lies, we repeat them, we love them and carry them with us. And I struggle to find the truth amidst the lies of my heart this Advent season. Questions to which I tell myself untruthful answers (for example, Am I beautiful? Am I worthy? which over and over I answer poorly), for example... I struggle to find truth in those lies.

And now my heart stumbles on things I don't know. Advent. I don't know the meaning of the coming of the Lord. I don't know what it will mean for Christ to become incarnate in my heart this Christmas season, and I do not know how to prepare for His arrival. My heart stumbles upon these truths, in my thinking throughout the day - the quiet joy at signing "Beautiful One" correctly during worship tonight, the recognition that a friendship begun here will continue to build itself and grow in the days and years to come, the exuberance that I am, despite my shortcomings, most alive in teaching Dominique how to do basic algebra. All of these moments my heart stumbles upon, and I don't know what to think of them. All of these are part of the continuing incarnation and formation of Christ's presence in my heart, but I stumble because I don't know. My heart stumbles on things I don't know.

Awake my soul. Awake, my soul! Did you hear? Jesus Christ will be born soon! Did you hear? The Lord is coming into the world? Did you hear? All things are being made new. I have been listening to a song on repeat the past few days: New Again, by Brad Paisley and Sara Evans. It is a beautiful, heart wrenching song and I find myself drawn to repeat it over and over again in an attempt to awaken my soul from its anxiety about leaving DC, its sadness at the pending changes in my life, and its reluctance to practice preparation for Christ's coming. But, as Mumford & Sons so rightly says, you were made to meet your Maker. I was; and at Christmas, I meet Him anew, I celebrate the first and life-altering meeting of His initial entrance into my heart.

Awake, my soul. 


1 comment:

  1. " afraid to be fully present where I am because I anticipate the leaving." - mmmm I love that. Yes, that describes how I feel so much of the time as well. You have a beautiful way of seeing the world, Hilary. And it's a gift to be so aware of the things you think you aren't seeing, experiencing, waiting on. So many of us just keep bustling on with life that we don't even realize we've passed chunks of it by. You have a good eye, my friend. A real good eye.

    Much love,


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