Faith, Life Musings

The Year of Jubilee

      Lately, I have been bursting at the seams with good news. All of my needs are being met with absolutely no effort on my part. Things are falling into place in ways I could’ve never imagined and all I can do is stand in awe-shocked silence. And apparently fill my Dad’s ears with moonbeams that glow through telephone wires and long-distances, overflowing with gratitude and the purest vibrations of joy. He is not surprised.

      “This is the year of Jubilee,” he confirms with confidence. A year of unexpected blessings, he explains. A year of rest and prosperity. It is the new beginning of a seven year cycle, a year to let the earth and your heart lay fallow so that nutrients and balance can be restored. So that Hope can be cultivated and Spirit can grow. It’s a year to give thanks.

     It’s also the first year in seven years* that Damien Rice has released a new album. Remember The Blower’s Daughter and the way every head turned when Natalie Portman walked down a crowded street in that scene from Closer? That was seven years ago. SEVEN YEARS. That’s a long time to take a creative leave of absence. I think I am especially taking this personally, not just because of my passion for music, but also because it seems to mark the end of something and the beginning of something new. Let me explain.

      Seven years ago I was twenty. I was listening to Damien Rice on repeat and crying endlessly in a smelly boys’ dorm room in Chicago where I was taking summer classes. I was drinking canned Diet Coke and taking Benadryl to help me sleep and listening to Rootless Tree over and over just to have an excuse to yell “Fuck you” over, and over. I was grieving and reeling and packing dirty dishes in cardboard boxes because between brushing my teeth and washing plates, I chose brushing my teeth.

      I barely made it home at the end of that summer. I looked down out of too many high-rise buildings with too many less than fleeting thoughts about opening the windows and trying to fly. My hands were a little too tightly wrapped around the steering wheel when I made the long, overnight drive across the state line. They were not-so-sure they shouldn’t completely let go, call the whole thing a loss and dive deeply into an everlasting night.

       For so long after that summer, I wasn’t sure I’d ever feel anything but heaviness. The numbest, emptiest heaviness imaginable. My twentieth year escorted me into a new decade and with it a new season of Loss. Needless to say, I did a lot of crawling on my knees in the Dark before I realized I had wings. Sometimes I still forget how to unfurl these fragile feathers, I still disbelieve the gentle whisper of the Wind, promising to hold me up, to provide all of the current I need if only I’ll let go and take off.

      “It’s time for fat cow, happy cow!” I tell my Dad with glee, laughing like a little girl who’s just come up with the right answer in Sunday school. And I believe it. If the previous seven years represent famine, then it is time for the Feast. It’s time to open the eyes squeezed tightly shut, time to let hardened muscles relax, to release the burdens and debts and failures.

And we can’t take back
What is done, what is past
So fellas, lay down your fears
‘Cause we can’t take back
What is done, what is past
So let us start from here…”

      I’m not sure how Damien Rice feels, creating and releasing music after a seven year absence. I’m not sure why he disappeared, or what happened in-between. I’m not sure how long he had to wade through the silent darkness before noticing the pinholes of light poking through the pain. I’m not sure when he realized he was that Light. I do know that dark nights of the soul are as real as my hand being connected to my body, and as unbearable as having that same hand cut off from the rest of me. They are a condensing and synthesis of all of our squiggly Fears into shape and form. They are unimaginable and unpredictable piles of loss upon loss, a shaking down of everything we thought we knew/believed/were/are.

      They are also transformative and necessary. They are preparation for the receiving of Abundance. They are layers of old beliefs shed like so many scales of unwanted skin, discarded when the time is right and the lessons learned. Dark nights of the soul make the breaking dawn that much more hoped for and longed for, so that when it finally breaks through the curtain of despair and pierces the brokenness with redemptive joy, a long sigh will be uttered and all will be forgiven. All of the sorrow will evaporate like so much mist on sharp blades of grass, giving way to gratitude and compassion and freedom.

    This is the year of the Jubilee. This is the year of rest. A year of restoration and provision. So leave your rootless tree and coconut skins behind, draw back the veil of shame and not-good-enough. Put down the armor of exhaustion and leave your bones with some flesh on them. Stand outside in the cold until the warmth returns to your cheeks and the candlelight draws you to the hearth of goodwill and favor. The invitation is yours, come as you are.

“Trusty and True” -Damien Rice

“We’ve wanted to be trusty and true
But feathers fell from our wings
And we’ve wanted to be worthy of you
But weather rained on our dreams

‘Cause we never wanted to be lusty or lewd
Nor tethered to prudish strings
And we never wanted to be jealously tuned
Nor withered into ugly things
But we can’t take back
What is done, what is past
So fellas, lay down your spears

‘Cause we can’t take back
What is done, what is past
So let us start from here…
And if all that you are
Is not all you desire,
Then, come…

Come, let yourself be wrong
Come, it’s already begun
Come, come alone
Come with fear, come with love
Come however you are

Just come, come alone
Come with friends, come with foes
Come however you are
Just come, come alone
Come with me, then let go

Come however you are
Just come, come alone
Come so carefully closed
Come however you are
Just come…
Come, come along

Come with sorrows and songs
Come however you are
Just come, come along
Come, let yourself be wrong
Come however you are
Just come…”
-Damien Rice

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  • Reply Sarah November 18, 2014 at 11:47 am

    So glad I read this today. Your writing is exquisite, infused with heart and soul. I love this post – it is the most beautiful thing I have read in a while. You are the light xoxoxo

    • Reply Mariah November 18, 2014 at 9:24 pm

      Thank you for your kind words Sarah. They lift me up and help me soar 🙂 Blessed to share the journey with souls like you.

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