Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Watching Darkness Fall (Or How to Unwind and not Unravel)

We're standing in the parking lot, both tired at the end of a long day.  It's colder than it was when I left my jacket in the car, but that's not why I wrap my arms around myself so tightly.  I rub a knot in my shoulder.  I feel like I'm about to unravel, so I keep myself wound up tight.  I feel like I'm about to lose my grip, so everything in me clutches tighter.  And there is this battle raging inside.  I want to be sensitive.  I want to love lavishly and take risks and exude grace and See everything before me - God in the moments and the faces I'm facing.  But this is the third time in four months that a significant relationship has left me gasping for air.  My world blurs wet and wild, and I am just so tired of pain!

Our words wander from there, swirling on the breeze.  My weary heart is reaching, grasping, hoping to catch something, then comes the Knowing, the Whisper - grasping is never the answer.  We talk far longer than we intended and as we part ways, her words challenge me.  "What is it that fills and refreshes your soul?  And can you go and do that?"  She's asked that question before, but I've forgotten the answer.  I am determined to find it again.  A few minutes later I climb the stairs and pull out my keys.  I stop.  I can't go in.  Not yet.  Learning my head against the wall, I gaze west. The sky is fading to black, but not without one final blaze of glory.  I had forgotten how sunsets always remind me how to breathe.  I'll just stay here for a little bit.  I think it to myself, and exhale, the weight beginning to lift.  And I've found it right here.  Feeding the soul is like opening a door.

The words come in a rush.  I whisper thanks.  I plead forgiveness.  I confess my failure and my pride.  I bow my stiff neck. I hold nothing back.  I need to feel it again.  I need to feel loved.  This is my manna.  This is my daily bread.  His whisper that I am His Beloved.  Darkness falls, and I soak in beauty.  And I realize that in all my counting of gifts, in all my hunting for grace, I had forgotten what is most important.  I had forgotten how I need to translate this language, translate what all this grace and beauty is really saying - I.  Love.  You.  It's there.  He's writing it on the sky, singing it in the breeze, all that I need.  Will I feel it?

This Love, it to pulls me deeper.  Clarity coming with the falling darkness.  Sweet paradox of Grace.  And I have been shown such grace.  He offers me His hand, and He calls me out.  I can see it now.  How He has given me a place to put the pain.  How I don't need to brush it off, or shove it down.  He's given me a place to rest.  And the reflex reaction to pain is to clench the fists and hold the breath and fight back.  And the question is:  Do I trust God enough to exhale and open the hands and be still so He can fight for me, instead of me fighting the suffering?  Do I trust God enough to stop fighting the pain?  I will never understand why it is so much easier to clench the fists than to breathe grace, and release the pain, but I finally do it.  I breathe deep and open each wound and I give. it. over.  I take the weight of it all off my own prideful shoulders, and I place it on my wounded, crucified Savior.  And I plead forgiveness.  And I wait for resurrection.

The sky is all velvet black now.  I go inside.  In the darkness, I am covered, and I can rest.

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