“If anyone would be my disciple, let them disown themselves, take up their cross daily and follow me. Anyone who tries to save their life will lose it, but anyone who loses their life for my sake will save it.” ~Luke 9:23-24
I am deeply self-absorbed. By nurture—only child, “look at me” type from early on; by nature—ruminative explorer, forever spelunking my own subterranean grotto. A noise interrupts. I turn to see a beam of light. “I’m sorry, is someone there, someone who exists apart from me? You mean I’m not the only real, living person?”
When I write, I willfully enter the labyrinthine thoughtscape where I chisel words that somehow, sometimes have meaning for others. But then I must carry them to the surface and climb back out into the light of human contact. I must once again force myself to listen. Must not only deliver messages, but must receive them.
And the only way I can do this is to die again and again to the self-invented self. So the God-created self can live.
Only when the self in quotes is dead can the self without quotes emerge.
And then, when I reenter the grotto, I find I am not alone. The Other has been with me all along, handing me rough stones with human contours, saying, “Shape these and give them meaning. Do this out of love.” I couldn’t see it when I was encased in quotes, but now I can: I am only able to do this because I am not alone.
And I never was.