Monday, August 06, 2007
I Would Do Anything...
Gratitude... debt... placation, sacrifice and knowledge. If Jesus lets go I'm toast anyway no matter how I try to hang onto those rocks. Trust the rope? Fat chance. Oh, I know he CAN hang on, but what if he doesn't want to any more? What if whatever tolerance he has shown until now runs out?
As you start so shall you continue. God picked me up and I knew it was my last chance. It didn't really matter. Failure with God wouldn't be any worse than the solo failure I could see ahead. I had nothing to lose. At the time I suspected that the situation might change, and as time went on change accumulated. I knew there was a good chance of using my new-found strength to run again.
By the time that happened, though, I'd gotten a good whiff of God's fragrance, the music of his voice, the kindness of his touch. I'd never run into anything like it before, never experienced anything so attractive. I'd intentionally guided my life so as to avoid these attractions and I certainly didn't think it would happen with God. He was, after all, the ultimate task-master, interested only in productivity.
Well, now I was caught. Even if God wanted only productivity I was caught. I needed... ah, what terror that caused... needed His touch. Oh, I ran but it was like a baby running from the breast. Only God Himself attracted me. I tried to kill that part of myself but He wouldn't let that happen. We argued night and day. I wore myself to nothing. The proud mountain biker capable of 40-mile transmontane rides for lunch now thought 10 miles to a local molehill was just about right. We argued about guidance and slavery and what to live for.
Perhaps you fall in love with the one you can argue with. Perhaps I fell in love with Truth as an idea and then found the idea was attached inextricably to God. Arguing with God is safe in that he has no ego involved, but it's entirely unsafe in that he is the perfectly honest presenter of Light, and what that Light shows may be ugly but is still true and no relationship can work without truth.
So the years passed. I ranged as far as I could but still remained attached, becoming ever more tired.
There are things I just don't want to know. I decided years ago that I would just live in a way that didn't require knowing about needs and relationships and such. Use intellect to figure out what needed to be done, and do it. This actually works and kept me out of trouble. Where it utterly fails is in making life worth living; logic is no comfort at 1 in the morning, a need for something other than answers knocking on the soul's door. Why am I here? What do I want? I'd look in the box of answers and find nothing fitting those.
All through this the Holy Spirit continued His work. That gentle rain gradually dissolving the cold stone, His hand holding me as pieces fell off the years-old pile.
One big argument was over guidance. How much did I trust God's guidance? Was He thinking of my needs, or was His interest just in making me an adequately performing part of the Christian mechanism? Oh, intellectually I could see that the concept made little sense. I could look at what God had done already: he sacrificed His Son to bring me to him. So, how to explain the words of others, saying they'd never heard God's voice, never caught those whispers, were always feeling alone. Here I wanted to be alone but wasn't. Then some things happened and I wanted the whole thing to be a lie. I wanted to choose what to believe, and I chose to believe that God was lying about His guidance. He'd betrayed my trust. He had guided me only into more pain, forcing my nose into the gulf between myself and being a real person. I could imagine him laughing. I knew it was a lie. After a while I got really, really scared. I could do this. I could separate myself from God by continuing to force the lie. About that time God asked for forgiveness, not because he'd been wrong but because I'd been hurt so badly and the event awakened old dogs that had long been sleeping. I preferred leaving them there.
And yet... even facing those sleeping dogs was minor compared to losing God's touch. I couldn't bear that. I was really dying and there'd be no coming back. I was even more tired. I saw where the path led and I turned around.
Which eventually led to an even bigger problem. Gratitude... connections... needs... honesty. Where are we going? Does it really matter? I'm not sure. Just let me stay with you, Jesus. Paul rejoiced in jail. He knew where reality was and counted everything else loss.
Do I really want to let go of the rock? My whole life depending upon God's grip on the rope?
The way I relate to others is to give them what they seem to want. It works for the short term or in shallow relationships. I know no other way. God presents me with honesty and of course I panic. I'm grateful just about as long as He holds the rope. There's nothing attractive in me. Why wouldn't he just give it up as a bad job and let go?
Consider history. He never left me. I walked away, trying to find answers that would fit my logic and God's way. When the time came to choose, I chose logic. Jesus probably cried at that point, but he still held on... 1983... 1984... 1986... onward... 1993... 2002... 2007. How do you please someone who resolutely refuses to give any sign of what would please him, other than simply holding his hand? That one drove me crazy. Oh, yes, there are lots of things that are said to please God but I couldn't do a damned one of them. The real surprise in my first-principles approach to following Jesus is that it's exactly what He wanted. Work out your own salvation. Grab hold of God's coattail and hang on until answers are shaken out. From my point of view the answers come grudgingly; we see what we expect to see. From God's point of view... "Well, why didn't you ask that one earlier? Like... about 1974? Didn't I sing it to you? 'Come, let us reason together.' "
So, here's a relationship I'm learning is of my essence. Oh, how that makes my soul quake. I need God and there is nothing I can do to ensure His continued love. The thread feels delicate as last year's spider web.
I don't have an answer to the question of what makes life worth living. I've hidden from it. Better no answer than a bad answer. What if I finally open that box and it's empty? Worse yet, what if the answer looks like my family? There must be something better. What changes? Viewpoint or eyes or light? Probably all. God is an optimist. He assures me that all I have to do is keep walking, holding his hand. I need him. Is need enough to build a relationship? Maybe that's where we start.
If the thread were really that delicate I wouldn't be here to go on walking. I have no idea if the fear I feel really comes through these words. I've left fingerprints in those rocks. I'd rather trust my grip because... it's mine. I can't control God. I have never lived in a way that would allow anyone else to control that much; I've always reserved the option of running. Now, that would be cutting my own throat. Trapped by need. Cornered, ready to fight the last stand... but all I can do is look up into His confident face, the rope wrapped around his fingers, and they do look strong.
I don't know how to describe how I felt (still feel) while reading this post. There's this weird achey knowing feeling inside me. That may not make sense, but I just wrote about letting go and letting go is so scary but I think its necessary, if we're holding onto something with a firm grip then we can't rest in God's arms.
I both laughed and was taken aback by this.