Thursday, January 26, 2012

A New Moon

Haven’t written anything for awhile. Mainly because on my blog I really do want to give refreshment instead of neediness or complaining, and partially because this is a time where there is a lack of ….well, how to best put it?

There is a certain tween novel that really captures the essence of empty, passing time, with blank pages right smack in the middle of the manuscript. The words bleed off the end of one page and the reader flips to the next, expecting another sentence, as most books continue on even when a sentence or next chapter ends. So it is with blogs, news articles…until the book is over, the words continue, even if there is a passing of time in between, and the author and editor simply  hope the reader notices the passing of time between, “And we pressed on through the valley of the shadow of death,” and “The sun beamed brightly over the horizon the following morning…”

Sometimes there is a long pause between that shadow and the morning that can only be understood with a blank, empty passing of pages.

So it is with us.

Empty space.

It’s not good for the design world. Usually an artist won’t want empty, wasted space in a collage or portrait. Now, that guy who painted the really big red square, well, except for him.

Empty space doesn’t always mean God isn’t moving within and about us. And what is so frustrating about real life is that quite often there are no good words to use to make a situation better. Sometimes there is just empty space. Sometimes a person just needs a hug. Sometimes you just cry because you miss someone, or because you are afraid of losing someone, or because you’re afraid of missing out on hopeful expectations. That is one of those vague phrases like, “a bright future” or “we’ve decided to go with another option.”

This post has thus far been 320 words. How long does it take to read 320 words? It takes much longer to write 320 words, I guarantee. I almost feel like I could sit in front of this computer screen for hours more to just gain some sort of buoyancy from this leaky dinghy. Cause let’s face it, all moms are leaky dinghies. I realize that every morning at Stroller Strength when we do our cardio stop.

I was at Bible study Wednesday and Beth Moore made a point about a verse in Esther 4.
Mordecai sent back this answer: “Do not think that because you are in the king’s house you alone of all the Jews will escape. 14 For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?”

The word “you” is used 5 times. Moore brought up the point, “Do you ever have that feeling that someone is saying, ‘We have a problem and you and you and you and you and you have to fix it!’ and you just feel overwhelmed?”

Quite often during the day I feel this way. When my little girl makes some sort of mess which probably causes another mess, in which I try to quickly stop the mess, causing another mess, where I and I and I and I have to clean it all up…. There are bigger things in life where sometimes those big and empty spaces just seem to loom overhead, blocking the light from the hallway. Between a person’s last breath and the shutting of the coffin; between "You're hired!" and, "I'm afraid we are going to have to let you go," and all those other marked ends of seasons; it’s a longer journey for those of us left behind. For those who continue to bake bread or put the shoes back in the closet or wipe down the counters one more time, it’s harder to keep the routine going, because we aren’t on that new journey. We are the ones feeling the empty of the spaces, the impact of one more blank page passing, and then another.

But then again, the story will pick back up. Maybe it’s been a month, maybe a week, maybe a paragraph later.

We are not running aimlessly, like a man beating the air.
We are created to do good works.
We are learning to take those empty spaces and turn them into something even better than what they could have been. Because we don’t know the whole story, and we don’t know the story that could have been, which could have been worse than it was if we were actually the ones in charge of it to begin with.

And we don’t always have to fix something, or clean something up. Sometimes we just have to keep flipping through the blank pages until the story starts to get good again.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

We Aren't Our Brokenness

While I was dreaming about crock pots last night, my cousin David was drawing his last breaths. You see, I’ve been working on a fundraiser including a lot of crock pots, and many, many details that kept my mind whirling late into the night. At the same time my aunt posted on Facebook that Dave was having trouble sleeping and for us to pray for him to have some peace.

See, David has had brain cancer and has been battling radiation for several weeks now. This picture is from a play he was in several years back. I remember him young and strong, and I know he was and is so much more than what the cancer did to him.

The thing about being human is that it is so hard to get past what we can see and touch. We are stuck with our tangible pains, fears, and loss. We have pink coffee mugs, and thankfully a soft carpet under our feet, and a warm shower to wash the tears down the drain. But it is those hard times when you just don’t know what to say, because there ISN’T anything to say, that can actually help.

My extended family has been down various roads that led us through departures among us. I miss many of them, and wish I could have known all of them better. I was standing in my bathroom this morning attempting to get ready for the day, just allowing myself to ask God, “Why? ….but why?” And I didn’t expect answers, because let’s face it, I’m too simple to truly understand the answers. But then God brought a verse to mind. Immediately after I asked, “Why?” there was, “I have come that they may have life.” We can’t see the other side of this life, but God can, and we are promised that it is pretty awesome over there. Sometimes when God heals, he permanently heals. We are terribly broken over here, even with our creamy cheesecake, our warm sunshine, and pretty affordable contact lenses. But the thing is, over There, we don’t need contact lenses.

I read this book and while some close people to my heart think it’s no good to read, there was one part that really stuck with me. The girl in it had a literally life-altering experience because of her new husband being….not …a….warm….person….and now she was immortal. She could see better than ever before, far into the distance, able to see colors she had never seen before, understanding light and it’s dancing with shadows; she could move so fast because she didn’t have the tiredness, or weariness, or bonds of being human. She could smell better than before – scents of the smallest flower, the trees swaying in the breeze, an animal forging for dinner; she could run and did not grow tired, and could move so fast because there was no more weight holding her down. 

Sometimes I get so tired of wearing glasses or contacts. I get tired of having stuffy noses and headaches, and being incredibly tired by 4:00 in the afternoon. Sometimes I think about that section of that book and think, “Man, I hope heaven is kind of like that.” No more weariness, no more foggy contacts, no more tangles in my hair.

There is a Life better than most of us know, and we’re in training for it. We’re on this side of it, learning about the guy who we will spend the rest of it with, moving closer to – or away from – his heart, his presence. He is Life, and he has some for us. Now if only my heart and mouth could keep that in the forefront when those tears begin to well up.

There is more to the story than this side of eternity. We can only see this side, but what is coming is so much better. We aren’t only our brokenness. We are given strength, healing, peace, and provision beyond that which we can understand right now.

We celebrate a Healer who knows when we can’t stand being broken any longer, and cling to a Father who grasps us in his arms when we can’t stand on our own. He’s here on this side and the other side, so we let him carry us when we don’t have the strength.

Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.
Hebrews 10:23