Friday, April 26, 2013

New Signposts

Honesty is terrifying. 
Why be vulnerable, why take off the mask?
On my list of things that scare.

Covering up.  Pretending.  A being polite; seeing the ugly but not daring to speak.

And the ugly?  Railing against God and wondering the whys.  Expecting more and longing for too much.  Never enough.  Always falling short.

Isn't grace just a nice word for covering up things we would rather not see?

Even on a really good day, is there not at least one deeply disappointing thing? 
And others ask, "Really?"  Such ingratitude. 

Honest, heart-wrenching regret.

Railing gets me nowhere.  Masks fail to impress.  Striving falls short.  Always.

So, why be honest?  Why the risk?

Wouldn't that just be beyond the pale - embarrassment, shame; scandal even.

But I am finding nothing else works.

Two roads.  Despair or grace. 

I choose grace.  

Though, having to admit, sometimes painful.  Even now.  In my brokenness.  Not to rule my world, not to have things as I wish.  Scrambling constantly after happy.  Pulling strings, hitting the right notes, reading the books and engaging the friends.  I see myself in the honesty.  But I stay on the road.

And through the journey, every day; new mercies and hope for a broken heart.

Aaaah.  The striving is diminished and in it's place; rest. 

The opportunity to be real and vulnerable and honest.  Only achieved through unconditional love by the Giver of grace.  Accepting His gift.  Nothing to do but accept. And I have to be reminded every day.  To stay on the road.

The signposts point to intimacy with God.

The answer. 

That's why the worship.

Empty to full.  Darkness to light. 

Freeing and powerful.  The bending of the knee in gratitude.

And then, slowly, over time it occurs to me.  To take off the mask.  To offer to others what I have received.  To be honest.  Risking rejection.  Authenticity; the only path to genuine bonding.

The honesty not quite so scary. 

Freedom to offer vulnerability in relationship because it heals and overcomes the striving and the perfectionism and the not measuring up.  Because we can't. That's why the grace and that's why the worship. 

Not only to be honest in relationship with others but also with ourselves; okay to have feelings and needs and to be imperfect, to be free to be spontaneous, to make responsible choices; all ingredients of any good relationship.  Freedom to fulfill our longings in fully loving and being loved, to pursue whimsy and in helping others get beyond their brokenness.  Staying on the road.  With God.

Masks hinder. 
Taking it off my fear list.  More afraid now of wearing it.

Looking for the signposts for whimsy and freedom, celebration and honesty, broken parts getting healed; all funny little names but worth the ride.

Monday, April 22, 2013

A turning of the latch

I have an affinity for gates.

Tolkien writes, "Still round the corner there may wait, a new road or a secret gate."

And I am intrigued.  The mystery.  What lies beyond?   

Beyond the gate in the book, The Secret Garden, for the children; a creeping awareness that perhaps one should not be there so with stealth and a bit of fear exploring the magnificent beauty that captivates. Risking danger of discovery.

Or through the wardrobe in The Chronicles Of Narnia, where, in a big, old, rambling English house providing shelter for four children during WWII, Lucy, the youngest, pushes aside the old coats and furs to enter an amazing world ruled by the white witch where for over 100 years; deep winter. 

I look at the gate. A symbol for entering a garden, a place unknown; a new world.

Embracing a new country as did Peter and Susan and Edmund and Lucy.  Taking a risk to walk through that wardrobe or through the gate. Perhaps even a new way of thinking and living and being.

I have been living in winter too long.  I am taking a risk. I tug at the gate to enter.

And this is what I am discovering.

The telling that I struggle too.  Expectations put on us by ourselves, by others; the difficulty of life rocking our world.  And the constant striving.  Attempting to make a world that is beautiful and meaningful but somehow always beyond the grasp.  The letting go.

The taking off of the mask.  Becoming real and vulnerable and transparent.  Telling you things that scare me because maybe they scare you too. 

Daring to enter a world where God is.  To come to understand that what may not be politically correct may be a beautiful place to live because the key to the gate is humility.  And by understanding my striving accomplishes nothing except pride or failure or perhaps both.

To celebrate brokenness.  Because it leads to the gate where God is.

And there I can become the person God intended.  The masks have to go.  The striving unnecessary.  For pride shuts grace down and grace is my emotional home.  The vulnerability, the opportunity to be real, the authenticity; boldly trusting in how God sees us, deeply pleasing if we are in relationship with Him.  A place of rest.

And so I never tire of returning home with my gate welcoming; the handle screeching a little as I turn it but always finding grace.  Always grace with a God who is so much bigger and better than anything I could have imagined.  And it is through the pain that I made the discovery.  It is worth the search, the turning of a latch.

J.R.R. Tolkien, renown for his storytelling, understood this truth; redemptive living.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Come in.


Go ahead.  Open the gate; it sticks sometimes but don't let that stop you, please come on in.  You are welcome here . . . unless, of course, you feel you have to whisper and pretend to be something you're not . . . then you may be uncomfortable.  But you are still most welcome.

Think of this as a place to relax, put your feet up, get comfy.  Breathe.  Take off that mask. Let down your guard.  Aaaah.  Doesn't that feel better?

I like to think of it as the house described in  Fellowship Of The Ring.  Remember Bilbo's description?  It was a place of safety for Frodo; "a perfect house, whether you like food or sleep or storytelling or singing, or just sitting and thinking best, or a pleasant mixture of them all."

Not perfect in the sense of perfect!  Perfect in the sense of safety, a calm in the storm, a place of quiet; acceptance and having someone love on you a little bit.  A plate of cookies.  Cool sheets.

Scribbling beautiful grace is about life.  Not perfection.  Not what isn't but what is.  Despite the pain and the challenges, the good and the bad; there is grace all around us - if we have eyes to see.  I come terribly flawed but am privileged to live in grace.  I know life isn't about me but about celebrating the beauty and loving the Beautiful.  Share this journey with me.  I would be delighted.

Come in.