Friday, June 20, 2014

Oh, Joy, the Crumbling Continuum

I've been wondering why I am enchanted with words. They wrap around my brain like an eagerly anticipated gift and I'm a gap-toothed child with frosting smudged across her face reaching up with open arms. They never leave, even though they do lie quiet in times of stress or run in the opposite direction when I am trying to squeeze them from a place too tight for flow.

I welcome this acrostic addiction with an appetite for more. I invite flowery, fickle and downright bad ideas to run amok through the elongated gates and trails of my mind. I find joy in the plunky metamorphosis of letters turning into silky ribbons of delicious thought emerging chapter titles, songs and bite-sized breaks of blue through the clouds.

And I am thankful. I am thankful that I have this love to share with my children. I am thankful that when the world feels unsafe and unkind I can escape into the mind of C.S. Lewis or Anne Lammott or Brennan Manning and Jen Hatmaker– those who have lived life with their ear to the door of God's heart hoping to hear a symbiotic morse code that will spell out the exact answer we seek. And they do.

I've found that while God does often speak in cryptic collections of stories and ideas–he doesn't leave us to fumble the puzzle back together on our own. When we are hurting, lost or desperately seeking His face he isn't so mysterious. (Matthew 7:7). He's actually quite plain. Blunt. Transparent.

I am between the spaces right now; where the sunset over a tranquil lake transports me to a hotel room in my soul that I've never checked into. And yet, it is as if that is the only place in the whole world that could possibly be home. I don't think of heaven often, but when I do it is sparked by random moments of beauty. When dew slips from petals into a pool of rainwater. In the squinty corners of my children's eyes when giggle fits ensue. Those are times where I can't contain the joy I feel and I instinctively put my hand over my heart. It's what C.S. Lewis called the "pang" of joy. And it is worth more than comfort. It is a preview of something we were created to live in continuously.

Comfort has been the god that often snatches the position of most importance when I don't tend to the wilds of my want. I have been taking inventory around my home of the "comforts" I was afforded when I had an income. There's several pair of shoes that are colorful and yet, they seem crass. As if they represent me flipping over a table in the temple or me handing over my birthright for a meager bowl of watery soup. OK, so that may seem a little strong. But it is excess. And excess isn't eternal. It's moth food.

I have a few more dresses than I used to. A few more beauty products. A few more clothes for my kids which have now been washed, shrunken and demoted to consignment quality. Innumerable Starbucks cups found their way into the trash along with their bought-status green straws. But most boldly and evidently, as I look around and take inventory of this blank space I find myself in, I notice a skin that has been shed. I notice that what I was once wearing has now been cast in the dirty clothes. It was a uniform of I-can-do-it-all-myself–as if a title of nothingness could trick my heart into believing that I was anything more than naked and ashamed.

I feel so free from that skin, which now I can properly identify as a suit of armor. I catch moments of dusty sun now. I revel in the sound of birds out my window. I itch to bring beauty in.

And that's where I feel reintroduced to the place of purpose that God carved into me with a chisel and a gouge. That place of tenderness and trepidation. The place where I am able to notice God. To give him credit. To cite the source.

And that's why the words have been assaulting me with the most welcomed show of gunfire. I've been cracked open wide. Without our fissures and faults, there would be no way for Him to encourage us to "let it crumble". There would be no crag for him to establish his greatness among our garbage. Be thankful for your bruises–the places that if pressed upon would burst us to bits.

They are the marks by which we feel for our way and open into a bright meadow that is decorated with  quiet and clarity. It is only in times like these that I am able to wipe the steamy film from the mirror to see myself through the streaks of condensation. (1 Corinthians 13:12) For now we only see as a reflection in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

You are already fully known by your Creator. These humans we share our lives with; they can only know us in part as we can only know ourselves and others. That's the journey. Realizing that this isn't about getting to know ourselves or hoping that someday someone will "get us". This life, this discovery–I believe–is about allowing ourselves to accept that will only be ever truly known, cherished, accepted and trademarked as beautiful by the hands of God. The ones that knit us together in love. (Col. 2:2)

We're in this together,

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