Friday, May 11, 2007
The Real Chase
Couple that with my own techniques for self-protection and you get a situation in which it's surprising God can make himself heard at all. I'm still surprised by God's reality.
The whole thing is so subtle, but like the movement of continents eventually things happen. Do I trust God? How much?
It was easy at first. I had no hope, facing a singularity beyond which there was no life. So, give everything to God and see what happens. I expected death, having been prepared for that for most of my life; it's with real surprise that I find myself on the high side of 55 and going on. God would simply take me apart and put me together his way, the way the Marines advertise. Bash 'em to pieces and then rebuild in just the shape you want. Brainwashing.
It all fit very well with my ways of surviving. Layers on layers, with what was important to me on the inside where no one could see it unless I expressed it in some highly elliptical way. Sand sculpture is an example. In plain view, but incomprehensible to almost everyone, so it's completely safe. I wouldn't get laughed at.
I learned from my brother that hard walls don't work. That just makes everyone else want to knock them down. He got into fights. I used soft boundaries that would gradually deflect people. They were forever on the outside, finding themselves out there again after trying to find me. They'd wander for a time amid the mirrors and illusions and then end up where they began.
As has been said, the problem with putting on a brown monkey suit is that eventually a pink monkey starts thinking like a brown one. Walls reflect inward. I became something I wasn't designed to be.
Familial attitude. Laughing at those who "were trying to find themselves." Why, here I am. I'm me. That's all. The real joke turns out to have been on me because I was no more myself than a parody in a movie. Occasional telegraph messages came through from reality but I'd ignore them. Sometimes I tried to change but found that resistance to change is very strong when backed by survival. So, I just gave it up and waited for the end.
Human life turns out to be quite robust. The mind may quit but the soul apparently continues to seek reality. At least mine did. Perhaps it was really Reality seeking, and holding, me.
Yes, I know how it sounds. God talks to me. We converse late at night, or at other times. He does things to protect me, and always has. I don't much care what it looks like. What is life worth? It's worth taking some heat for wild ideas, especially when the wild ideas make life better.
A future? What a wild concept. Instead of waiting for death, I should be waiting for life? This idea is a real threat, and I have a headache at the moment because of it. The changes I tried to make on my own are now happening because the Holy Spirit doesn't quit and I've given him entry to where my deepest assumptions live. Can I trust God? I look back over my life and see His hand. I also see times when I went against his subtle guidance... but he made it work out anyway. No matter where I go, there He is.
Last night I just about panicked. I could see chunks of the stainless steel armor falling away. How do I live without it? I'd be like a snail reft from its shell. I started to ask "What am I going to do..." but the question instantly turned into "What are we going to do about this?" I've never been a "we" kind of person; if I can't solve a problem by myself I let it go. There was Jesus, holding me... His love continuing to dissolve the bolts holding the armor on but making it all right anyway. I have no idea how this works, but I can see what he has done in the past. I've not been steamrollered. I'm still here, despite clumsiness and incompetence and ham-handed attempts at guidance that just leads to another cliff.
To be around Jesus is to be whispered to in a most insistent way. His voice stands out. I bleat in panic and the Shepherd calls my real name and I resonate. I can't resist.
If God called me to some far corner of the world, would I go? Probably not. Mainly because if the whole world went off a cliff I wouldn't care very much; I see the human race as billions of parasites destroying a world that used to be beautiful. And yet God loves the whole bunch of us, even me, who loves no one. I'm disobedient in that. The soil is very, very rocky. God knows how to change soil and it's not with a hammer. He spreads his soul-scent around, drizzles love, and waits for the change. I think we're about at the lichen stage now, which is much more than I expected.
Who really expects God to take a hand, directly, in growing a soul? Especially one as devoid of value as I am? Yet Jesus doesn't count the cost, nor the years. He sits, waits, as I orbit closer. His face, his scent, his hands... I can't resist. My soul knows where life is, and it's the utter ruin of everything I've believed. Well, believed rationally, anyway. Pull the anchor and set sail for someplace in between rationality and spirit. A leg in each world, walking, listening. Hoping? Maybe. Hoping for what? A life that I will enjoy?
Now, that's an act of real trust. Do I think that God's desires and mine might actually coincide? That he might want me to look forward to following him? Usually I walk the path, head down, taking the bitter medicine because I know it's essential. I'll die without it, but it's impossible to enjoy it. No problem, because life isn't for enjoyment anyway. My ancestors were, after all, Puritans. But... what if? What if, as Jesus changes my soul, my perceptions and desires change also? Might it be that what He's really uncovering is Reality, underneath all those coats of whitewash? Perhaps there's a real treasure inside. Well, I already know that God thinks I'm a treasure but it's hard to buy into the idea.
Belief is hard but guides reality. Think you're a piece of shit, well then, life will stink. Yet that state is safe. No pedestals to fall off of, no light to call attention. No target. But it's a package deal: along with the hysteria of change comes Jesus' hand. If I can learn, as John did, to lie back against Jesus' breast and relax the walk might be easier. But what if Jesus backs away? Thump. Head on the cold ground. He didn't back away from the Cross so he's not going to back away from me... but still I think "What if?" Besides... rubbing up against Jesus just means I become more like him. That love thing again. Do I want love? I think it goes with the rest: "Come and see," Jesus said. He points. The new land awaits. I look at the ground but can't resist taking another step.