Sunday, November 12, 2006


The Promise of Gentle

So, I lay my tired body down in bed, pulled the covers over, and waited. My memory was still amid my friends in Kadish. I'd really done it this time, stepping way beyond my normal bounds, and that always results in the fall of a hammer.

Who would it be? Parents? They're gone. God? He's the most to be feared, of course. My friends had already shown their approval so I wouldn't get anything more from them. I've never been able to take a step like that without getting stomped.

God very gently suggested that the judgment wasn't from him. He reminded me of Jesus. Where's the logic in God, who gave up his Son for me, judging me for being forward with some friends? No, he said, there's no one here but you and me, and I'm not judging. He left the rest of the equation to me.

I live in reaction to those around me. I walk the interstices between others, not wanting to compete for the good things. I prefer to be invisible as I go on about my life. As God has shown his kindness to me, which encourages me to make more daring moves, I've responded by becoming even more rule bound. This has nothing to do with God. He offers freedom. I build stronger fences around myself to contain myself within familiar boundaries.

How would the world respond to a happy Larry? We found out something of that this morning when I went to breakfast with Debbie and Nate. You see, God actually got his point across last night. The judgment comes from me. It may be intended for self-protection but it's still choking the life out of my... life. God and I deflected it last night as I thought about my four-hour extravaganza of self-disclosure. He asked, "What was bad about that?" He pointed out that nothing bad happened. Everyone there enjoyed it. I violated my own rules, but why were the rules set up as they were? Seems rather counter-productive, yes?

Well, yes, but what about self-control? I guess I can add that to the list of things I don't know anything about. My idea of self-control is, if your heart offends you, encase it in concrete.

I'm afraid of what might happen if I just turn loose of my control. The world is pretty hard on happy people. Still, there's some way God has of salving wounds that just works. Somehow. He even salves the self-inflicted slashes. And, really, when was the last time I got hurt? Yes, it does happen, but I'm responding as if as soon as I open the door there's a pack of pit bulls out there looking for blood.

It's just that so few people seem to understand any of this. I've never been to a church that is very interested in seeing people as anything other than tools in God's hands. God doesn't seem to be interested in this. If he wanted tools he could have done a lot better. He wants something else. I'm not sure what it is but it has to be better than my assumptions. I'd like to have some company on this path but there just don't seem to be very many. Maybe that's the nature of life. Maybe it's a favor from God, because the ideas are originally His and only by paying attention to Him will I learn my way out of the deadly self-control maze.

At least I slept pretty well last night. The day came up clean and blue. I took out the RollsRolls skateboard and headed south. It took about 45 minutes of flatland pushing to get to Debbie and Nate's house. We drove to Dinah's from there and I was cutting capers in the waiting area, in response to some silly song Nate was singing. They make songs up on the spot. Through some spirited horse trading Debbie got some of my apple pancake, Nate got Debbie's scramble and I got some of Nate's chicken. Then we went back and played some Bocce on a ground so lumpy that you never really knew where the ball would go. Besides which, their pug felt it was his duty to intercept the balls. He was declared to be a natural hazard. I've been trying to tell them that for years, but Pug-O-Deb's-Heart can do no wrong. We had fun.

I'm glad.....
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