To find “ourselves” then is to find not only our poor, limited, perplexed souls, but to find the power of God that raised Christ from the dead and “built us together in Him unto a habitation of God in the Spirit” (Ephesians 2:22).
— Thomas Merton, No Man Is an Island
Two weeks ago I shared a thought from Thomas Merton about having the courage to look at our own limitations and to accept the limitations of others. I emphasized the importance making this a matter of the heart and not just the mind. I also realized at the time that another part of the story needed to be told: today’s post fills in the missing part.
I’m an introvert and am all too prone to dwell on my own shortcomings, digging myself deeper and deeper into a hole of feeling pretty hopeless. At times I’ve shook hands with Despair, played cards over drinks and smokes with him. And rightly so…if…if…I’m all alone and on my own in this world; if there is no hint anywhere within of God the Father at work, of Jesus seeking this lost sheep, of the Holy Spirit cupping and bringing to flame some all-but-expired matchstick of hope.
Merton is telling us today that finding ourselves means finding…Easter(!)…inside ourselves. The “power of God that raised Christ from the dead” – somewhere alive in me. I can’t find myself without finding that. No me without that.
So now I have a new question: do I have the courage to look that in the face, to push aside my skepticism, to throw in my hand and push away from Despair’s table, to feel the humiliation of having given up, and to accept being found and saved and re-lit yet again?