Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Saying a Lot When I Don't Know What to Say

The photos don't have anything to do with the post.  I just like them.  They're taken in Botswana.

There's so much going on in my head that if anything makes it to the page in coherent fashion it will be some class of miracle.

I've been having a lot of conversations with God lately.  Or rather, the same conversation, repeatedly.  I say, "Ok, God, what next?"  And God says, "Eh, just wait."  Nothing urgent.  Be patient.

I hate being patient.

I read a lot of blogs while I'm waiting.  My friend Kristi, who was in my writer's group years ago, wrote a post whose pain haunts my dreams.  Kristi and her husband adopted a son from Lesotho last year.  As their little boy learned English, he told them over and over about his best friend from the orphanage, the one who shared his sleeping mat, who didn't have his own mommy and daddy yet.  Kristi began to believe God was calling them to adopt the friend.  She prayed.  She contacted the orphanage.

On Christmas day, their son's friend died.

It's hard to imagine a world where six-year-olds die in Third-World orphanages.  Kristi is left with a load of grief and guilt--should she have reached a decision sooner?  Or was this child never supposed to be hers?

Meanwhile, Steph over at the Yarn Harlot is wrestling with guilt.  She has so much, others so little, that she hesitates to admit she's going on a vacation she paid for with money she earned.  She points out that others who work much harder than she does don't get paid as much.  True.  Should she feel guilty?

Sarah Bessey confesses to being shamed in church because she wasn't a virgin on her wedding day; it's well known that Jesus can forgive every sin except that one. 

And--I can't remember who posted this, because I found it through a long circuitous route--a young African-American preacher talks about someone signing off as "Jesus" sending him hate-filled, racist emails, over and over, until he finally prayed to the real Jesus to get rid of the emailing Jesus, only to hear the real Jesus say, "This is how you treat the gays in your community."  The shock hit his heart; his planned sermon on homosexuality made an abrupt U-turn.  He opened it with the words, "I'm sorry."

Another poster points out that justice and mercy are not physical things, ie., they don't exist.

Except that they do.  Like love, like God, they exist in the spaces in between us sorry mortals.

Are we called to be shame-ridden, hidden, guilt-stricken, empty?

Or are we called to something better?

"Love your neighbor as yourself."  Mark 12:31, but it's all over the Bible really, including the Old Testament. 

Which means--this is the tricky part--not only are we supposed to love all those "other" people--the ones who look different from us, or sound different, or believe different, love different, heaven forbid worship different--all those people who are Not Like Us--and yet we're supposed to love ourselves, too.

“There is someone that I love even though I don’t approve of what he does. There is someone I accept though some of his thoughts and actions revolt me. There is someone I forgive though he hurts the people I love the most. That person is……me.”  C.S. Lewis.

It's no wonder my head feels like it's going to burst.  This is an awful lot to think about on a cloudy winter day.