Friday, February 10, 2006
I woke up this morning wondering if life with God is really better than life without him. It's one of those questions that Good Christians Never Ask, and the right answer is supposed to be unquestioned. Well, why?
The melody of "29 Ways to Leave Your Lover" ran through my mind. I think I've tried more than 29 ways to leave God, but none of them has worked. I suppose this is because God is singing "29 Ways to Make it to My Baby's Door."
I bought my first motorcycle from a confirmed gearhead. His house was decorated in Advanced Mechanical, with motorcycle parts on every horizontal surface. He told me that what you do with a new motorcycle is roll the thing down a mountainside. As it tumbles all the frippery gets thrown off, silly doo-dads the manufacturer thought were necessary. What's left at the bottom is a much-lightened bike, ready to ride away.
So, I wonder if it's possible to follow Jesus without falling off a mountain sometimes. This is what leads me to question living his way. The process of losing ideas, concepts, engrams, patterns, habits, is just plain hard and painful. I've seen lots of wrecks among Christians and some of them don't bother getting up to try again.
The only reason I get up to try again is that I have no choice. I know what the road behind me is like. Perhaps, some day, the road ahead will get better.
That's the rational part. The irrational part is a feeling. I know that feeling and experience are in bad odor among modern followers of Jesus, but this is my life, not someone else's. If I weren't a pragmatist I never would have succeeded in making an arch out of sand. Somehow, failing with Jesus and watching the pieces of old life fall off, feels right. It's hard to describe the feeling, perhaps because in my rationally driven life I have too little experience with emotion to know the names.
I fear the wreck. I fear not being able to go on. I've always been able to crack the whip and force some more movement, and I figured the day I lost that ability would be the day I give up and the men in the white coats come to take me away as they did a neighbor some years back. Well, now it seems the whip is one of the things I lost in the latest tumble from a cliff. While I've been working on other things the ability to drive myself onward seems to have gone missing. The white-coat boys aren't here yet and perhaps I'm entering a new world. I don't know what real motivation is. Perhaps the only way to learn it is to do it.
I should be panicked. This is, however, just the latest in a long string of improbable graces. 29 ways to leave, 29 ways for God to pursue, and the major difference is that he never quits.