Friday, January 14, 2005
Between Salt and Fire
As bad as Sodom was, I'm still attracted. I cast many long looks over my shoulder.
My back is bent already, well fitted to resuming the burden of boredom I bore for years. Slavery is easy. Let others name me, identify me, put me in a niche. That way I'll be ignored, left alone. What goes on under the surface they don't know about, and what they don't know won't hurt me. I learned early. Let others do the directing. My basic choice is to stay out of it.
Head for the mountains. Flowers, sky, quiet, away. Let me go, O God, I can't do what you want.
Love? That's what you want? It's not what I want. It's inconvenient, painful, dirty. The pillar of fire leads into dark and dingy places too similar to my own heart and I just don't need the reminder. I'd rather fly. In the clear, bright air, far from human problems and complexity.
Nothing really has changed. God knew me when he picked me up. He knew it would come to this, when the exit from oblivion looks worse than the highway over the edge.
Is it all a lie? I've been fooling myself? Or am I one of those fair-weather followers who bail at the first sign of trouble? Can't be that; I've already been through some difficulty. And I know I've been touched by God. It's just that right now I'm trying to dodge his touch, but no submarine goes deep enough to evade his sonar.
He knows where I am. He knows what I'm doing. Why doesn't he just off me on the spot? I'm no good to him or anyone else. I see the path he has marked out and want nothing to do with it. Far to difficult.
I can no longer trick myself by just looking at my toes as I shuffle along behind Jesus. I am a very good extrapolator, it being an essential survival tool. I ignored the signs for a time but now it's too clear to ignore.
Loving people? Ye gods, it's all I can do just to be in the same room with them. It's an act of will, folks, and I live for the time when I'm out and free.
Except in certain rare instances. Being with Nathan and Debbie is always fun. They're delightful people and we share lots of ideas. I guess you'd say that they're easy for me to love, if this is indeed love. I like being with them. Is that love? Lu is also wonderful to be with. Good listener and tells good stories. A few others. They're worth spending time with.
The rest... range from null to torture. Endless monologue, or chatter about sports, blah, blah, blah. Tedious. And many worse than that. Jesus had no trouble with them; he could talk to anyone. I can't. They fail the return-on-investment principle. Which means I'm a real scumbag; if God looked at people from the profit and loss standpoint the whole planet would have been offed years ago. God loves me, I like a few and can't tolerate the rest. Makes for some tension, oh yes.
God pours his life into me, for some reason, and it just stops there. Soaks into the dusty dead ground and goes nowhere. Eventually I think it would saturate me and overflow, but I don't really want that to happen. I'd rather shut off the waterfall of his love, that being the kind of simple and direct solution I'm so good at doing.
Where do we go from here? Distraction, naturally. I'm good at that, too. I'd rather not think about it, but I've said it myself. A Christian who voluntarily cuts himself off from God is a real desert: salt, fire and no potential for change.
It comes back to who's in control - me or God? If I control all my relationships and interactions - "input" - it's like just eating the nice tasting things. God, with His way of arranging things, can give me some fresh brussels sprouts of relationships, even though I can't see the point to some interactions. Maybe the other person does see some point - and maybe that's what I should be looking at.
Thanks for being honest - and getting me thinking!