Thursday, October 2, 2014

Climbing Jacob's Ladder

"The track passes between the buildings and soon you come to Jacobs Ladder indicated by a National Trust Sign. It derived its name from one Jacob Marshall who farmed in Edale in the 1700s and cut steps in the hillside to make it easier to climb. The steps are now “manicured” stone ones. Climb these."

When the experienced say, "go this way," I've learned to listen, mostly because I'm kinda old and really tired of all the late hours and wasted time I've spent thrashing it out for myself. That doesn't mean it's the easy way, but it's the way that'll get me there for certain. My time keeps getting shorter, I want to get there before my time is gone.

"There’s a line from an old spiritual which says, Sometimes I up, sometimes I’m down, sometimes I’m almost on the ground…..but see what the end shall be.  And this is what the Lord is doing here: he is showing us what the end shall be. There is a cross to get through, but there is glory on the other side.

The text (Matthew 17) says – Jesus took Peter, James, and John and led them up a high mountain apart by themselves.  Now we often pass over this fact, that they had to climb that mountain. And the climb was no easy task. Any one who has been to the sight of Tabor knows what high mountain it is. The climb was almost 2000 feet, high and steep. It may have taken the better part of a day and probably had its dangers. Once at the top it is like looking from an airplane window out on the Jezreel Valley."

I thought I'd throw in a shot of Mt Tabor in spring, just to show it ain't all tears and woe.

I broke my leg six weeks ago. Enforced bed rest and confinement at home has let my ADD brain follow it's complicated process thru to completion on a number of things. I haven't been off from work for this length of time in about 35 years, and although the leg issues have taken up quite a bit of my attention, it is a blessing to finish up question after question that usually gets lost in the busyness that is normal work and home daily life. If ever you've seen a piled up, cluttered desk top, then you know what the inside of my head feels like. I put something down to come back to it, then I can't see it when I come back, so I don't finish dealing with it, I just go with whatever shows up next. The mess just never ends. 

In any case,  I've settled into a routine where I dig into the resources until I hit that "oh, my God" moment of identification and have to stop until I've reviewed all the memories, experienced all the emotions again in the light of the truth, and talked to my self and talked to God about it several times. It takes all that before I can settle down and place that element back into history, making it the past again. I'd like to put some sort of geo-fencing on the types and behaviours for the future, something that would light up in my mental Google glasses and trigger Siri to say, "Warning! Do you want to go down this road again?" 

This morning I came across some vintage Pia Mellody here and here. In the first, she mentions briefly the difficulty codependents have in knowing who they are. We are so attuned to taking care of others and conforming to someone else's needs and expectations that we just draw a blank when someone asks, "What do you want? What are you passionate about?" It's true, and I can't explain to you how it's true. So much of what is on my list of things to do are what I should do, not what makes me happy. Her solution for discovering what makes us happy, and by inference who we are, is so simple and easy and obvious - to people who grew up experiencing it, not so much to some of the rest of us.

Her great idea? Try things you are drawn to, see if you actually like it, and if you don't, do something else. I don't want to go into the details or history of how that didn't happen in our house growing up, but hearing her say that somehow frees something in me to not worry about choosing the perfect, acceptable outcome from the very beginning. I can try one thing, and if I don't like it all that much, I can do something else. 

Sounds too simple and how can anyone be that dumb, eh, smartypants?

Here's a long quote from someone who didn't understand codependents until she learned it from the inside. 

"I saw people who were hostile; they had felt so much hurt that hostility was their only defense against being crushed again. They were that angry because anyone who had tolerated what they had would be that angry.
   They were controlling because everything around and inside them was out of control. Always, the dam of their lives and the lives of those around them threatened to burst and spew harmful consequences on everyone. And nobody but them seemed to notice or care.
   I saw people who manipulated because manipulation appeared to be the only way to get anything done. I worked with people who were indirect because the systems they lived in seemed incapable of tolerating honesty.
   I worked with people who thought they were going crazy because they had believed so many lies they didn't know what reality was.
   I saw people who had gotten so absorbed in other people's problems they didn't have time to identify or solve their own. These were people who had cared so deeply, and often destructively, about other people that they had forgotten how to care about themselves. The codependents felt responsible for so much because the people around them felt responsible for so little; they were just taking up the slack.
   I saw hurting, confused people who needed comfort, understanding, and information. ... I saw victims struggling desperately to gain some kind of power over their perpetrators. They learned from me, and I learned from them.
   Soon, I began to subscribe to some new beliefs about codependency. Codependents aren't crazier or sicker than alcoholics. But, they hurt as much or more. They haven't cornered the market on agony, but they have gone through their pain without the anesthetizing effects of alcohol or other drugs, or the other high states achieved by people with compulsive disorders. And the pain that comes from loving someone who's in trouble can be profound.
   "The chemically dependent partner numbs the feelings and the non-abuser is doubled over in pain - relieved only by anger and occasional fantasies, " wrote Janet Geringer Woititz in an article from the book Co-Dependency, An Emerging Issue.
   Codependents are that way sober because they went through what they did sober.
   No wonder codependents are so crazy. Who wouldn't be, after living with the people they've lived with?"

I've been walking, well, hobbling for a whole week now, still flat footed, still fighting sensitivity, heat, and constant agitation along the bone where I'm the proud new owner of a steel plate and nine screws. I wanted to be walking laps by now, but it's either wait for my leg to tell me what it's ready for or try to force it and be forced back into bed rest until the pain retreats. It's like that healing a wounded soul as well. I can tell a little difference day by day, I get a little stronger and my expectations change. I may always walk having been wounded, but I'm getting better all the time.

 Romans 8:12-14 So don’t you see that we don’t owe this old do-it-yourself life one red cent. There’s nothing in it for us, nothing at all. The best thing to do is give it a decent burial and get on with your new life. God’s Spirit beckons. There are things to do and places to go!
15-17 This resurrection life you received from God is not a timid, grave-tending life. It’s adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike “What’s next, Papa?” God’s Spirit touches our spirits and confirms who we really are.
We know who he is, and we know who we are: Father and children. And we know we are going to get what’s coming to us—an unbelievable inheritance! We go through exactly what Christ goes through. If we go through the hard times with him, then we’re certainly going to go through the good times with him!

18-21 That’s why I don’t think there’s any comparison between the present hard times and the coming good times. The created world itself can hardly wait for what’s coming next. Everything in creation is being more or less held back. God reins it in until both creation and all the creatures are ready and can be released at the same moment into the glorious times ahead. Meanwhile, the joyful anticipation deepens.

22-25 All around us we observe a pregnant creation. The difficult times of pain throughout the world are simply birth pangs. But it’s not only around us; it’s within us. The Spirit of God is arousing us within. We’re also feeling the birth pangs. These sterile and barren bodies of ours are yearning for full deliverance. That is why waiting does not diminish us, any more than waiting diminishes a pregnant mother. We are enlarged in the waiting. We, of course, don’t see what is enlarging us. But the longer we wait, the larger we become, and the more joyful our expectancy.

26-28 Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.

29-30 God knew what he was doing from the very beginning. He decided from the outset to shape the lives of those who love him along the same lines as the life of his Son. The Son stands first in the line of humanity he restored. We see the original and intended shape of our lives there in him. After God made that decision of what his children should be like, he followed it up by calling people by name. After he called them by name, he set them on a solid basis with himself. And then, after getting them established, he stayed with them to the end, gloriously completing what he had begun.

31-39 So, what do you think? With God on our side like this, how can we lose? If God didn’t hesitate to put everything on the line for us, embracing our condition and exposing himself to the worst by sending his own Son, is there anything else he wouldn’t gladly and freely do for us? And who would dare tangle with God by messing with one of God’s chosen? Who would dare even to point a finger? The One who died for us—who was raised to life for us!—is in the presence of God at this very moment sticking up for us. Do you think anyone is going to be able to drive a wedge between us and Christ’s love for us? There is no way! Not trouble, not hard times, not hatred, not hunger, not homelessness, not bullying threats, not backstabbing, not even the worst sins listed in Scripture:

They kill us in cold blood because they hate you.

We’re sitting ducks; they pick us off one by one.

None of this fazes us because Jesus loves us. I’m absolutely convinced that nothing—nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable—absolutely nothing can get between us and God’s love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Came across your blog this morning, & fully appreciate all of it.
My sympathies on the passing of your Mother & all that goes with that. Also hope your leg is healing quickly although time to rest and focus yes-- so important!
Much appreciation for your writings.
Happy 2015!