On Preferring Free Fall

A Graphical Representation of Journeying in the Psalms: If you survive the first free fall the rest is a breeze!

I found out last week that the drop date on my book is looking to be end of June. That made me laugh, because honestly if I was going to pick the worst time possible to launch a book, it would be The End Of June.  Not that there’s anything wrong with June. Its a lovely month, all swimming pools and farmer’s markets and sand. Lovely. Its just that the kids are home full time and we are traveling and my phenom editor at David C. Cook is traveling before I’m traveling and my actual paid job is scheduled to be insanely busy — all at the End Of June.

I find this situation … wildly entertaining.

This entire project — from attending Brian’s psalms class, to crafting some 40-odd poems (never thought I’d do that) to writing the backstory behind each of the poems and discovering with surprise that they actually told a story, to getting my arm twisted by Brian to get it published (OMG talk about getting shoved off a cliff!) to then having a thing called a “drop date” — has been an exercise in me-being-not-in-control.

So the fact that my book becomes available at a time when I will be spinning wildly out of control is just So Like God and that makes me deliriously happy.

I am not in control. Me, the perennial control freak — I am learning to yield.  Can I get an AMEN here!

I might, on occasion, seem to be a crazy person channeling Jack Nicholson as in “Here’s Johnny!” but in reality I am quite content. I find that once God pries control out of my sweaty, clenched fists I relinquish control, life takes on a delightful cadence, much like riding a roller coaster (and for the record, I really like roller coasters if I am convinced I won’t die on them — an apropos continuation of the metaphor I presume).

So, in honor of this plummeting free fall I’m in, here’s an excerpt from my book, Travelogue of the Interior:

“The best travelogues inspire us to undertake our own journeys, as uncharted geographical space becomes a metaphor for the undiscovered places within our souls. Most of us, however, can’t pray our way through India or hike the Pacific Crest Trail. Our vicarious adventure begins and ends with the book in our hand.

Not this one.

This travelogue invites you to start climbing – what I call “psalms journeying” – right where you are, in whatever spaces and places are available to you: the privacy of your living room, your favorite hiking trail, your community of worship. The topography you will explore will be your own and God’s and so you are free to reconnoiter whenever time and heart permit.

Psalmls journeying is, alas, not formulaic, so if you are hoping for a quasi self-help book masquerading as a memoir, I would encourage you not to waste your time here. While psalms journeying is deceptively simple, the process and results are as unpredictable and unique as the individual who undertakes the journey.  So, while I cannot give you the (unconscionable) “Six Steps To Wholeness In The Psalms” (as if), what I can do is show you the scenic route I followed. I can point out along the way some of the particular vistas that arrested my attention and sent me to my knees in worship, confession, lament and praise. I can offer my journey as an instance, a pathway through the underbrush, from which you can forge ahead on your own. 

If you are hungry for wholeness …
If you have wounds down deep that never seem to heal …
If you have big doubts about God …
If you are weary from trying so hard to get the Christian life “right “…
If you feel like you don’t have a voice with God and with others … 

… then psalms journeying is for you. It is messy and not particurly linear and asks that you take just a tiny leap of faith. OK, so maybe it’s a giant leap of faith into the yawning blackness of pitch dark. But all epic journeys portend of risk and the real possibility of failure, and psalms journeying is no exception. Part of me wonders if this is the very reason engaging with the Psalms is so life-changing – you simply can’t do it from a safe distance. Try to be but an impartial observer and the psalms will remain two-dimensional. But bring yourself to them, flayed and available, and God seems to respond by pouring out himself into the space we forge.”

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