Messed Up In A Million Ways

I am haunted now as I never was before by the sense that we all of us have the mark of God’s thumb upon us. We have the image of God within us. We have a holy place within us that gets messed up in a million ways. But it’s there, and more and more I find myself turning inward toward that and trying to learn how to be quiet.

Frederick Buechner, The Remarkable Ordinary: How to Stop, Look, and Listen to Life

I feel myself to be in a middle place, a place of waiting. I ponder that in the predawn silence this morning, giving consideration to those things that I am waiting on. It’s uncomfortable, this waiting, like there’s the tiniest pebble in the bottom of my shoe and I can’t quite manage to shake it out.

We are, of course, nearing the season of advent in which we wait and prepare our hearts in the weeks leading up to Christmas. It can be a ritual: a lighting of a candle each week, or a reading of a passage of scripture each day. In the tradition I followed for most of my adult life, it can be something not observed formally at all, aside from chocolates hidden behind cardboard windows.

But, advent can work it’s way into our heart.

We are wise to embrace the season of waiting, and to keep on waiting, even after the darkest month in which we celebrate the coming of the Light is over. This pilgrim walk in which, as Buechner says, we get “messed up in a million ways” is meant to chafe a bit, the irritation in our shoes meant to remind us that we are simply passing through. We are not home yet.

And so we wait: for advent and for more. We learn to be in this middle place. We choose not to let the cacophony distract us from the important work of waiting. We sit still, we grow silent, and we wait.


I’m a writer, reader, and creative. I thought by now I’d have things figured out, but I keep coming up with more questions. I think that’s okay. I’m here most mornings pondering ordinary things and the thin places where faith intersects.
  1. Beautifully expressed and begun with Buechner’s contemplative words (I always enjoy reading his thoughts). Yes, being in the middle is a good way of expressing how I feel also. I most love the early mornings (I get up by 5:15) when it’s still dark, I sip my tea, I listen to the silence and contemplate as little as possible. That’s being at my top form; after that, it’s in the middle as I try to ignore all the noise of commercialism, bragging, wanting, needing, “worldliness” that comes at us til the end of day.

    1. Thank you, Pam. Like you, I love the early morning, solitary, contemplative time. It’s so much sweeter than the restless hours you write about on recent blog post. Still, even in those, there are gifts and wisdom to be gleaned.

      1. In that case, I’m pretty darn wise. 🙂

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