Tuesday, January 04, 2005
Falling Through the Floors
How could I bother God with my stupid weaknesses? This couldn't possibly be real.
Of course, that idea is largely self-serving because it gives me an excuse to go on not trusting. God himself has given me more than enough indication that he does care about my life.
The problem is that this learning takes time. There's no magic wand. I can't just sleep through the transformation process. I guess it's like sand sculpture in that the only way to learn how to follow Jesus is to live each day.
And get the floor removed. Some of these hurts have roots far back in the past. I built floors over the pits--depression, meaninglessness, not being wanted--and over the years reinforced the floors. What I see as essential to living, God sees as an impediment to the kind of life he wants me to live.
So I was lying in bed, unable to sleep. I hurt all over. The day's sculpture, the first of the year, had turned out very well and the day had been a delight but my knees hurt, my back hurt, my head ached and I just couldn't sleep. This is common, especially after good sculptures. Something in me gets fired up and won't calm down.
But the truth is that the floor is very thin. Under me is life-long depression and I know only to stay the hell away from it. The edge is slippery and I don't want to fall in for fear that I'll never get out again. Better to fake life than to fall in. I was too tired that night to keep these thoughts at bay and I could feel the floor crumbling underneath my tired feet.
I'd done the equivalent of a drug: simply reduced my awareness. Reduced awareness is another of my living techniques God doesn't care much for because I am also less aware of him.
So what do you do when all exits are impossible? Can't go back, can't go forward because it can't be true, and I don't want to fall. It can't be true that the God of the Universe is interested in my stupid little problems because no one ever talks about this stuff. They talk about big things, big dreams, but I'm just trying to get through the day.
Well, what if it is true? What if God does care? That question leads my untrusting mind to an assumption: it's a lie. A set-up, something to get me to trust so that when the floor disappears anyone watching can laugh. It has happened.
It hasn't happened with God. Never has he done anything like that to me; he has been utterly steadfast and unswerving in taking care of me. How long does it take to learn trust? A long time. There's a lot of desert out there to replant.
So... that night, after the sculpture... I just let go. Let the floor disappear. I'm just plain tired. Why fight to maintain it? Doing so takes too much energy that I could use for something else. Either God would catch me or he'd laugh and that would be the end. Do something. Don't just burn up endless processor cycles dithering.
I let go and I didn't even drop. God's hand was there. The abyss was underneath, black as ever, but I didn't fall in.
What does it really take to make life worth living? I never have really looked forward to the beginning of a day; to me it's pretty much a job to do. Some days are more enjoyable than others, those being the ones whose distractions are better. I've never been able to look life square in the face and say "I want to be here."
I was thinking about this today, and fell through another floor. Softly. There are good reasons why I don't care about life; I was forced to overcome shyness and various other things. No one wanted to hear my point of view. They just wanted my behavior to fit in with their worldview. God has peeled off the old props and principles and left me pretty much naked. Well, as naked as I can handle right now, with more to come.
How does a shy man survive in today's in-your-face world? Lots of mountain bike time. And relying on other people's blindness. And various other kludged-up ways of life that historically I've trusted more than God.
I don't like walking along the edge of that abyss but it seems that only by doing so can I fill it in with something better. Or something. I don't really know. This is right on the growing edge of what I can do, and I don't know how it will turn out. I just hope I don't lose my nerve and run for the hills.
David had the right of it, it seems. Go crying to God when the world is too much. He has never thrown me out, nor said that I was being silly. He has held me, he has explained things to me, and he'd be quite willing to slow down if I weren't so scared that doing so would really mean going backward. God won't let me feet slip, he won't let me fall. All he really wants me to do is hold onto his hand and follow.
Our culture reveres the self-directed man who follows no one. I've done my share of that, thinking that trails and marked paths were for the incompetent. God uses no trails. Every person he takes in hand is an individual. He does ask me to follow rather than walk on my own, but what is walking on my own other than following the principles and pain I was taught? Only by following God can I find something truly different, and that's what I need very much. Something different. The same old stuff never has worked very well.
So, we go back to the root and this time let it grow as intended. I wonder what will come up.