Thursday, December 05, 2013


Toward Freedom XV

In Dependence

I was lying in bed yesterday morning, managing to keep up with heat loss through the blanket whose electricity had been cut off since the day before. Maybe this state accentuated my fragility. No matter how chilly I felt, I'd be more so if I got up; I couldn't even make a hot breakfast because the gas stove requires electricity to spark itself to life. So, I lay there, thinking.
    I had this image of God holding me. It's something of a sore point with me. Why do I need comfort?
    In my mind, God's objective has been to get me working well enough that he can then release me and get on about his more important business. His work in the last few years has been to convince me that everything he does gets the same attention. More than that, he has never given any indication that I'm supposed to be independent of him.
    His view of dependency is unique. He holds me, he keeps the sharp shards of my shattered soul from abrading each other, yet he encourages me to go on and experiment in ways that will call down the wrath of my internal judges.
    Nothing another person does hurts me as much as what I do to myself. Making a mistake is one thing, and over in a short time. The self-judgment goes on forever, remembered mistake heaped onto the newer ones until I see no point in even trying again.
    This makes any real relationship impossible. The tide window for sand sculpture is still open, so yesterday I headed for the beach, I'd intended to take more equipment, but the electricity was still out, so I couldn't open the garage. As I walked I thought about inviting the Holy Spirit, but spent more time dodging the issue than actually speaking with him. I think I still believe it's impossible that God could care about this, and that I have to sneak the whole process past him.
    The sand was good, and the tide soon dropped far enough for me to get at it. I built a good pile and picked up my carving tools. I was still arguing about inviting God.
    Who controls this, anyway? Despite the fact that, during the making of the previous sculpture, God had not made any attempt to take over the process, this time something like open warfare broke out, with my arm and hand the contention zone. Normally I carve. This time I was hacking away at the sand. You move forward with God, and attempts to move backward get ugly.
    The argument was aided by the nature of this type of sculpture. Because the tide window opens later as the week progresses, I started this one closer to sunset. When you're out of light, you're done. There is time pressure. It was also cold. Only by some reasonably brisk movement could I stay warm. So, I caved in to time and cold, and worked very fast. How many seconds would it have cost me to stop and reconsider the sculpture, with the Holy Spirit slowing and stabilizing my flyaway mind? As it was, I got the sculpture done with at least an hour to spare, and I could have spent that hour making it a better sculpture... had I allowed God to hold me.
    He always holds me. Whether I'm aware of that is what makes a difference in living. I'm afraid that his close holding will make me more subject to being influenced by other people, but I'm very, very tired of walking the knife-edge between enough sense of his holding to stay alive, and so much that I become his puppet.
    The Holy Spirit was able to get one clear thought through to me as I worked on the sculpture: Friendship goes beyond being invited on the good days to do something specific and well defined. Real friendship is for everything and every time, even when I feel on the verge of disintegration. It takes time, and experience, to learn, and the process is stopped cold by self-judgment. Boundaries can be explored only by those confident enough that they'll be able to cope with what happens.
    I don't have much confidence. That's why my independence is so dependent on God's holding me. If he weren't holding me I would destroy myself.
2013 December 5

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