Tuesday, March 04, 2014
Toward Freedom XXIX
I learned how to hold on. I did not learn how to change gracefully. As change was always something imposed from outside, I pictured myself as the one obdurate tower set amidst the wolves and waves of demands that I join them. That way lies self-righteousness, but that way also lies survival.
So, what happens when the unchanged one meets the Creator? Love. An invitation to the future, hand held in hand. Who could believe something like that? I was a lot more familiar with promises than performance.
How is God different from any other profligate promising dictator? Seen through the small window of survival, one eye looking out suspiciously, everything looks the same, especially in monochrome. Discrimination goes by the boards. Survival demands simplicity: paint everything black. And yet... even that tiny window allows a tendril of truth inside.
God has never acted like a dictator to me. I read stories like that of Ananias, "invited" to go look for the man he considered a truly mortal enemy, and wonder how that works. Where did Ananias start? I don't know.
Change is necessary for life. If the seed stays a seed, you get no zucchini. No one dictates to the seed, either; you plant it, and sunlight does the rest. People are more complex, and I look for the hidden fist behind the illuminating invitation. In the ten years since God picked me up again he has given me no hint of a fist.
Love is an invitation written in a language I can barely read. I have to learn each letter, sound things out, test and prove. Whatever happens, I'm unsure that the future will be any better than today, so I hold on to what I have. Yet this works against God's touch.
I'm wary of touch, anyway. It's often a lie cloaked in duty. I want it, oh, yes. God's finger on the desert soul, bringing, on those rare times when I allow it, a gentle rain that feels so good in a way too deep for words. I spend my days as a rock, determined to be unswallowable. Take that, world! You will not get me! God gets painted with the same black brush.
Is he really like that? I don't think so. It takes so damned long to become convinced that his hand in the future is there only to bring life. His hand is there to make the journey endurable; take the iron lid of judgment off and new life takes off in new directions. Change, leading to an unforeseeable future, which is danger in the moment and forever. Panic! Don't allow that! Yet, God whispers, and hints of that life-giving rain come through along with the subtle rainbow of colors. Life must be felt and figured. I'm far better at figuring. God doesn't quit. Love wants the best.