Part of our preparation for the MROP was, no doubt, a cocktail of prayer, anxious thoughts and playing out all sorts of ‘hypotheticals’ to see if we could even possibly consider going.
Its not something you just attend. Its something you survive…
For the most part.
…paradoxically, because you enter into your death. The slow, descent that brings forth new life on a journey towards sweeter wholeness. The weeks leading up to my MROP and now the years after can only be summarized as a mystical thing. I will say this: it was one of the most challenging weeks of my life. It was exhausting. I was pushed out of my comfort zones. All of them. Every damn one. I never knew I had so many. But I equally felt pulled to go. The sacred woods of Pilgrim Park called to me as much as I longed for a spiritual transformation. For the longest time it was hard to talk about and to share with others some of the profoundly impacting moments I had in the wilderness there. There’s not too many circles of friends where you can just jump in and say, “so then this other time, when I was naked and talking to the spider…” I remember before I left that week, I would ask a few MROP alumni what it was like…and they would all tell me either “I would find out for myself” or they would say “don’t worry about it and especially don’t judge it…have no expectations.”
I see in retrospect how blessed I was by things they DIDN’T say.
If I had put my expectations into a box it would have limited the growth of my relationship with Christ that week.
I now understand why what goes on at an MROP is not necessarily kept a secret but that its not something you run home and flippantly recount the events of and read your journal out-loud to your neighbor over the backyard fence. Everyone’s experience is different. Strains of similarities and parallels of course…but still different. Comparing your experience to someone else’s isn’t fair to either of you. Its certainly not the spirit that an MROP is built from and not its intention. Its a deeply soulful time to step towards the Great Mystery of Yahweh in ways that are intimately meaningful to you and free from the cultural boxes and constraints we tend to live and worship in “back home.” But “home” is important. Its a major reason why we do this. To bring a newness and redeemed outlook of ourselves back to our homes and hopefully be empowered to make them better and fulfilling.
The most universal language I believe we can speak is that of gratitude and love. The language of friendship.
The journey of ‘post MROP’ living is all about perseverance and transformation. This gathering today…is part of the perseverance. Its subtle and sweetly strengthening to join together as well to share, laugh, empower and encourage each other through all our similarities and differences. We all had that moment sitting in Sacred Space…in the quiet. There was a deep, brave stirring of “no matter whatness” that awakened in our guts and we grabbed it like a warrior’s spear. The power of MROP reminds us and invites us to surrender and to love. A key, integral component of those are fueled by community and sharing. So let us take a few moments and do just that. We must share in our suffering, in our joy. Its the fabric of humanity. We can’t risk losing that.
So keep growing and keep the edges hot. Be lean of speech, and honor what’s happened since your MROP. How do you see things differently? How do you keep the edges hot? This is not about eloquence but authentic living. You are safe and among brothers. HO!