Monday, February 7, 2011

Once more to the altar

It has been a while since I posted. A lot has occured in the last couple of months. everything from my divorce being finalized to having surgery on my wrist from a work injury. Christmas came and went, followed closely by New Year's. Then my birthday just this past weekend. All of these occassions brought mixed feelings. I had people with which to share each one. Yet one person was conspicously absent. Nothing about the last few years has gone the way I imagined it would. Often, that was a good thing. Afterall, creation should be proof enough to me that God has a much more impressive imagination than I do. I came to Cambridge with one object in view - to become nurse. A year and half later found me marrying my best friend. Another year found us welcoming a beautiful little girl into this world. The dreams I had back then about my best friend and other half betraying me haunted the edges of my conscience. Still, I was sure I could create a safe bubble if I just did things right. I could hold it all together alone. In the end, my plan failed. I had left God and others out of it.

As Job shows us, tragedy will always breed questions and doubt about why certain events must occur. We may ask who the charletan behind the curtain is and why he refuses to show his face to answer our pointed questions. In the end, though, even understanding why wouldn't fill the hole or arrest the unbearable ache in places of our soul we had no previous knowledge of. I agree whole heartedly with Pastor Greg Boyd, we are in a war zone. What's more, we are in the enemy's territory. "[T]hings seens and unseen" have free wills all their own. So, the universe doesn't revolve around me or my plans. But equally true is the fact that God's character does not change and He is aching for us to turn to Him for help, comfort, and love. This doesn't come in the form of an easy button. Often it requires us to let go of things, people, and places.

When I was nine or tenyears old, I had a tea cup. It was the last of a set that my aunt or mom had. There was a little green turtle with a brown shell painted on it in the style popular during the sixties. I loved that cup. One day I was throwing something away when I discovered my beloved cup discarded among the potato peelings and coffee grounds. I snatched it up. The handle had apparently broken off. I scrounded through the peelings frantically. Soon I had both pieces rinsed and carefully placed on the shelving in my room. It stayed for a couple days patiently waiting to be glued. My step dad wasn't so patient. Ireturned home from school on the third day to find it gone and the garbage empty. I yelled and cried all that evening much to my parents' dismay. Neither of them could understand my oddly deep connection to the tea cup. I am sure I did then either. All I knew was that my world seemed all that more uncertain.

The Bible and various histories of the vast number of cultures on this planet are littered with symbols, ceremonies, and rights of passage. I loved symbols. We moved a lot. My family was broken. However, there were certain things that I could always take with me. That tea cup reminded me of waffles at my aunts house in the days before my dad left. Berry picking adventures before my cousin was too cool for me. And jokes and laughter before cynisim tainted my joy. Here's the thing about that cup, I had assigned that to it. The cup in and of itself was just a cup. I still have those memories.

Since all of this awful season began, I have struggled with this letting go thing. Intitally, I felt disillusioned. I threw a statuette of a mom, dad and a baby. Afterall, now I knew it had all been a lie. I ripped a picture of him and me on our wedding day intro tiny pieces, furious at my nieveity and the trusting smile I wore. Later I moved into a stage where I held onto certain things and him. The rings, the vows, the dress, the pictures all were supposed to mean something. We had been put together by God. Let no man put asunder. Those words rang in my ears in the quiet of the night. All of those things meant nothing in andof themselves. And where they eclipsed God They needed to be pruned. Some where along the line I have been able to let go of some things. His promises and our vows still haunt my sleep.

I may have mentioned it before, but the book 'Is That You, God?' has had a profound effect on this issue in my heart. A certain dream of the founder of YWAM had to be set aside because it had eclipsed Jesus. The author says he had to lay that dream on the altar. I felt stirrings when I read that. It is astruggle, but I keep putting our marriage and him on the altar. They were both God's to begin with. I don't have any idea what is around the bend, but I know whose standing beside me, sometimes even carrying me.

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