I recently read a book by Rabbi Naomi Levy, called “Einstein and the Rabbi.” The book was recommended by a colleague. There are parts of this work that I found to be insightful. One comment that resonated with me is the following:
“There is something we’ve already conceived that is pleading with us, ‘Let me be born.’ Maybe it’s a creative endeavor – a book, a painting, a poem, a song, a script, a story, a business idea. Maybe it’s a career shift. You’ve been privately dreaming about it and exploring it but doing nothing about it. Maybe it’s the words ‘I’m sorry,’ or the words ‘I love you,’ or the words ‘I forgive you.’ They are formed inside your mouth, but you haven’t gathered up the courage to actually speak them.”
Based upon my experience, there are times in our lives when something can feel “already conceived” within us, and yet we can struggle to give it the attention we should or to find the courage to act. There are things we can do, however, which can help us bring these promptings of the Spirit forth. Prayer and journaling are two very helpful practices in this regard. Honestly praying about something that feels like God has placed within us, as well as writing about it can help move these things along towards birth. Practices like this can help us “own” what we know to be true but are still struggling to embrace. They can help us acknowledge what it is that is waiting inside us to be born. Of course, another thing that can be helpful in this regard is sharing what we feel stirring within us with another trusted person; a spouse, a friend, congregation member, colleague, or pastor. Doing so, once again, can help make what feels “already conceived” additionally “real” and provide us with some healthy accountability. Sharing with another what we feel the Spirit of God may be nudging us toward can offer additional support as we try to make progress toward this goal.
This month we begin the sacred season of Lent. As the church, we will mark the start of this season with a special service on Ash Wednesday, February 14th at 7 PM. During the weeks leading up to the celebration of the resurrection and the gift of new life, perhaps we can be additionally intentional about listening more carefully to what God has placed within us, to what feels “already conceived,” and then commit to doing something to bring it to birth in our lives. Committing the issue or situation to prayer, starting a journal about it, or turning to a trusted friend can help us not only more clearly identify what the Spirit of God has placed in our hearts but encourage us to do our part in taking the necessary steps to bring what has been placed there to life.
I’ll close with a poem I came across years ago about the importance of bringing things to birth. It is written by the late Jesuit Priest Daniel Berrigan. It too is about the need to act upon what God has already“conceived” within us.
“For every 10,000 words, there’s a deed, floating somewhere, head down, unborn. Words can’t make it happen. They only wave it away, unwanted. Yet, Child, necessary one, unless you come home to my hands, why hands at all? Your season, your cries, are their skill, their reason.”
May this season of Lent, be a time of paying attention to that which God has placed within us, and not being afraid of taking a step toward acting upon what we have come to believe – God has indeed “conceived within us.”