Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Let Nothing Be Between Us

What I hate...and I rarely use that word, because it is so burdensome, is watching a family disintegrate because they have squared off against each other.  I have seen it happen in all kinds of settings; in counseling, at funerals, even weddings.  It's so disheartening to watch.  It usually begins with something small.  Something hardly worth mentioning.  A pin-prick.  Then it grows.  Fear and selfishness push it along until the pain blossoms into a rage, a wall or a weapon.

I am not concerned about anything that would challenge us from outside the family.   We were given  more than enough to stand that test.  Like the woman in the city square, the stones were gathered in a circle at her feet, but none of them touched her.  And she rose from that place; whole and without condemnation, embraced by the love extended by the head of her new family.

I sometimes wonder though.  Once He restored her and brought her into the family, was the rest of the household able to see her as Jesus did, or was their memory too long and their love too shallow to handle it.  We give up on each other so quickly.  If God's house ever goes empty, this will be the reason why.  It won't have anything to do with the world.  It will have to do with fear and selfishness that hides out in the family.

We can't allow for that.  We just can't.  I don't know who, or how, but I'm certain I have wronged someone.  I can say that it wasn't intentional, but I know that doesn't help.  I wish they could tell me about it and that we could work it out.  I am certain we can, if we can only both lay down our fear and selfishness.  In the midst of the wind and the flame described in Acts 2, we were given the most unifying power the world has ever known, the Spirit of God.  How can we keep hold of the hurt that separates when we have access to such a power to heal?

Years ago, I jotted down some thoughts that still remind me that his plan has always been that wherever we go as a family, that we would go and me...lets never forget it.

The the beginning

At first, just His voice in the wind above the darkness,
         and somehow,
                 even then I was on His mind,
                                            and so were you.

There we were, names on the lips  of a voice from heaven.
A joyous potential, unveiled in the reflection of forever hopeful eyes.
As we have grown, we are drawn back to that voice in the wind.

It was our hands that ignorantly constructed
                                       the framework of our own forgiveness from the tree
His word spoke into existence so long ago.
                              Yet, isn’t that how it has always been?
The one who we cannot see,
      has gone before our every triumph and tragedy,
                                                               building corridors,
                                                                               and windows
that guide the broken and spilled pieces of who we are back to Him.

I thought that I heard him again;
calling me back toward that quiet place
and in that same sentence
He was telling me to take your hand as well,
so that we might come together. 
I could not find you, but I will continue the search.
For there is something about you holding His hand
and me holding His hand
                  and our hands together,
that was a part of that plan in the long ago.
There have been times when I couldn’t find you
             and you couldn’t find me
                            and even times when we rested alone
in uneasy places where we couldn’t find Him,
                                                                    either of us.
But His voice above that darkness too, has led me back to Him and also back to you.
And we both know that our paths
will never be so far apart that I can’t see you over there....
no matter how tall the grass grows between us.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Where Do I Live?

They left last week; the grand-babies.
Going back to live near the other grandparents.  I have told myself it is good.  We need to share.  
But, I know there will be so many moments like this one that I will miss...

We were getting ready to go for a chilly walk along the rocky coastline at Saltwater State Park.  Her arms were entwined behind her back.  She twisted at the waist, back and forth and smiled at me.
"I'm ready to go Papa."
I sized her up.  
Sox and shoes on.  
Jacket too. 
She was ready.
I looked down at her shoes again and thought back to what seemed only a few weeks ago, and said, 
"You get your shoes on the right feet all the time now don't you!?"
She nodded and smiled again, and then said, "Remember, you told me that time at the beach that the toes always point in.  So, now I got it and I won't pinch my feet anymore."
"Yep," I said with an affirmative nod.
Then, I put my hand on her shoulder, steering her toward the doorway, and we left the house.

There have been many times that the lesson didn't stick.
There were many approaches.
I've tried them all.

The hard part is that the recipe for successful teaching seldom repeats.  At least not with this one.  She will look into my eyes and I into hers and I will think there is a connection that will produce understanding...and change.
But it's not always so.  There is a flicker in the eye, followed by a head-tilt, then busy hands or feet or both and I know that my lecture fell on deaf ears.
AND I love her.
AND she loves me.
AND... she does whatever she wants.

It's easy to be an upset Papa when that happens; to be grumpy, but it's no fun.  Especially, when the sun is shining and our shoes are on and the outdoors is calling us toward adventure.  So, what do I do with the frustration that comes when my wisdom gets treated like a branch of broccoli on her dinner plate, and is pushed to the side in favor of....well...anything else?

Instead of trying to answer this question I have been drawn to another.
What does Christ do when I have responded to his wisdom in the same fashion?
I wonder how often he has used all of the methods listed above:  Gentle words, urgent words, words of warning, words of reason....and still I have chosen my own way above his.  Why?

I think it has do to with where I live...

I'm not talking about geography.  I'm talking about my heart.
There are words we use in the church, but only sometimes.
And we speak them with our head bowed usually.
They relate to our ability first to hear and second to yield to the voice of Christ in us.
They relate to our ability to "stay clay" in his hands; moldable to whatever shape he is wanting to fashion us into.
The truth is that sometimes, I struggle against, instead of yielding unto that work.  There is something in me that wants to be done with that process; wants for the work of repentance to be completed.
The actions of my will at that point are: 
The actions of my will when I'm living in repentance, are:
                                                         listening... open... responding...learning.

The Message bible translates Paul's words in Romans 12:1 like this:  So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. 

For me, this is it.  Where will I live?  I want to live in repentance.  In some ways, it requires far less and yet produces far more.  It's peace and it's power.  It's grace that sustains.  One day at a time.  One conversation at a time.
                                      So let it be done in me.  :)