10.22.2011

Listen

I don't suppose many of my more recent posts have been very encouraging. Maybe this one will change that.

I'm home for a couple days, which is always strange. I had planned on getting in some real "me" time, you know, where you sit in front of the fire and do nothing for at least half an hour. That never really happened because I had to do errands all day.

But finally tonight, I read a little of Through Painted Deserts and I creeped some people's blogs. Deserts is certainly not one of Miller's most profound works, but he's honest, and that counts. The blogs are what gets to me, though.

Sometimes, I'll think about who might have an interesting blog and I'll go look at their Facebook and see if they have one posted. Then I'll go read it. I know that sounds dumb, but don't hate until you try it. It pretty much blows my mind what some people say. It beats watching a tacky movie, that's for sure.

Anyway, I was creeping some girl's blog, and it really just touches you deep inside what people say on these things. I think she writes on this blog specifically hoping that someone will read what she has said and then just hold her for a moment and say "you aren't alone in any of this." I probably would speak some encouragement into her life, but I don't know her well enough, so loving her when I see her will have to do.

To be honest, I think sharing the human condition is one of the purest ways you can serve someone. That's why listening is so important, and that's why I think this girl's blog is so important. I also think that's a lot of why Jesus hung out with all the people who were bogged down in the human condition. He really didn't want to talk to the guys who were already fine anyway. It must have meant a whole lot to all these people to have someone who was willing to deal with the brokenness of life at its core and not walk out the door.

I can't speak for everyone else, but I spend a lot of time making sure I look okay so that when people ask me "how are you?" I can tell them fine and not have to deal with a second battery of questions. But I can tell I feel safe with someone when I let the acting drop for a moment and tell such a person I'm not fine.

I'm not completely sure why, but when I listen to others' and share my own life's failings, I feel very much less alone. God may or may not have wired me like this on purpose. But I'm going to try to be gentle and listen.

10.14.2011

Blessings

How much do I really give?

I am not very good at moderation. But, I really doubt God wants moderation.

A young woman spoke in chapel yesterday. She lives in Africa with 12 orphans, giving them a house and a home. The most interesting part in her story was how she got to where she is now. She has no "road to Damascus" story.

She went for a week. Then the minister there asked for maybe a summer or a year. So she went for a year. Then she saw the needs of these little ones, so she began taking care of them. Now she has adopted twelve and placed hundreds.

She had no leap of faith (that is not to say that her faith or works are not extraordinary), but rather God asked her for a little, and then a little more, and his requests became increasing in magnitude until she was no longer herself but Jesus. Although I must admit it is a little frightening because my faith is so weak, it is encouraging that I only double my talents once at a time. Perhaps God apportions just enough grace so I am able to submit to his requests when they are asked of me. I pray that it is so.

I wonder sometimes how Job looked at all of his stuff when he got it back the second time. I think sometimes that his milk might have tasted sour or he looked at his daughters with a tired bitterness. Or, maybe the opposite is true: he dove into his blessings, understanding he should enjoy what has been given to him but that these things too will pass.

When I was an infant, I thought that we are to try and collect all of life's blessings from God's stream of abundance. But then I realized along with Job that the water becomes stagnant and it rots if you try to hold on to it.

So when I was a little older, I thought that we should simply swim in these blessings, letting the flow of possessions run over our hands and pass through them. I enjoy them now, but I understood to let them go. I would picture walking along, simply letting the water go between my fingers. It is the hopeful view of the late Job. But then I realized that other people's rivers of blessings are not as excessive as mine.

So today I think that we are to use our hands and bodies and push our rivers over as much of the earth as possible. If I am given much, what I have is to be apportioned deep and wide. If my blessings are but a trickle of a stream, then I am to place my thumb in the groove and spread the water a quarter-inch to the two people on my right and left.

I think that one of these days God will ask of me something, and I will say yes. And maybe I'll find after a while he asks for my life, and I really won't mind giving that away either.