Gnossienne No. 1 – January 16, 2010

I’m not sure where I first heard this song. I only know that last July, Chris Martin played this piano piece between songs and I knew I’d heard it before. On New Year’s Day I was watching the documentary “Man on Wire,” and lo and behold, there was the song. I decided I needed to find this song. Turns out, it is called Gnossienne No. 1. This song draws me in – it speaks to me. Or maybe it calls me, because it is expressing the words and thoughts and emotions that my soul is pouring forth right now. There is something so mysterious and a general sense of the unknown in this piece. That sense of the unknown resonates with me right now. I am in a class on vocation – one’s calling. I have been spending time thinking and praying about my own calling. It once appeared to be so clear, but I find that it now feels shrouded in mystery. Some of the prayers my teacher has been asking us to pray during this class also express this same idea of the unknown:

“My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end…” (The Road Ahead – Thomas Merton)

“God has created me to do Him some definite service; He has committed some work to me which He has not committed to another. I have my mission – I may never know it in this life, but I shall be told it in the next…” (A Meditation – Cardinal Newman)

I so badly want to move past the unknown – I want to know – I want to have control. The further I follow these desires down I see their roots in my pride and difficulty in trusting. The challenge is learning to trust God in my present context of mystery and in the reality that there will be many things I will never know and understand on this side of life. What am I trusting in? The presence of God and the fact that He is God. Both of these prayers end in similar places:

“I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.” (Merton)

“He knows what He is about. He may take away my friends. He may make me feel desolate, make my spirits sink, hide my future from me – still He knows what He is about.” (Newman)

Both of these prayers remind me of the lament Psalms – the ones where the author cries out and speaks the truth of the situation or circumstances, but ends with the ultimate context: God. In this class (vocation) my teacher mentioned how he always wanted to know how long these Psalms took to write. They paint such a beautiful picture of our process as humans, but so much of our process is slow and can seem to drag (at least it can to me). How many of these Psalms represent years of one’s journey with God? There’s a point where we can sum up our experience in a few words, but those few words are birthed from many seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months and years.

So, I’ll end this post now – somewhere in the midst of my own process, learning to trust God in the mystery (which will probably be a life-long journey) and to open to the reality that He knows what He is about.

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