Sunday, July 24, 2016

The distance from here to there

It's the time of year when my old memory FB posts are coming around to the place where I finally became overwhelmed with the care Maggie needed and made the moves to get her into assisted living - and out of my house. Sparing all the details, one came up today where I was making tours and squeezing in everything that had to get done. Not trying to, but actually doing it all.

Unless you've had to do something like it, not sort of like it, but Really Just like it, I don't think you can actually understand what all I was doing meant, what all it required from me, and what the effort was doing to me. Maggie had never taken care of her own mother, and she had callously left a kind and generous friend behind when that friend had needed her to step up and just be around as a safety measure for her. I've heard it said that bullies are also cowards. In any case, I'm sure Maggie had never had a clue how much effort it took to tend to her and she never returned the favor, either in kind or with joy and laughter in better times.

What I had written four years ago was full of enough details and comments that, for a moment, I remembered the day, the hot sun, the trouble at work, the finances, the contracts, the negotiations with Maggie, the repeated moves, the late nights, the way I had begun to twitch violently when I lay down to sleep from the anxiety, the pressure of care that had no hope of ending... and for several minutes, how it all felt wrapped around me again, like a shroud tightened with bindings. My heart changed its beat, the air in my lungs became pressured with the weight of what I had carried then, and my emotions began to calculate unseen threats the same way you count thugs in a beat down.

I became so alarmed I had to consciously move my mind into awareness of where I stood, how my surroundings and circumstances were completely different now, and nothing of what was happening then was going on now. I'm probably writing this now to make sure I'm not in a nightmare, this sunny, safe place here is real, and that dark place is so far behind me that it can't be traveled to again.

About five or six years ago, I had a season where the Lord would give me the first song of the morning as His gift and word to me. Sometimes, not all the time, but sometimes, as I lay in the bed waiting for the alarm clock radio to start playing, He would tell me to listen, this song was His word to me. One of those songs was Little Big Town's first big hit, Bring It On Home. You can imagine how much that meant at the time and how much I've treasured it since.  

This week, I've cued in on a couple more of their songs. The first one (which I won't name here) because it speaks to my addiction, but the second one has grown on me over the week as I learned the words. It's a song about real, committed love, although it never uses the word.

"It's a get thru what you got to, 'cause it can't stay the same." 
I've had this conversation a number of times in the last few years with God, each time knowing we were both committed to getting thru what we had both committed to going thru, but, I've always thrown the "it can't stay the same" back at Him hard and angry, because it can't, and only He can fix it. As it turns out, a huge part of the same that has to change is my addiction, and until this year I didn't even know I had one. Who knew knowing you're an addict is Good News? Even at this late date, dealing with an addiction is still better late than never. 

"It's a knowing that you love me more than anything." 
I know that He loves me more than He loves the whole of creation. I know that He loves me more than He loves himself. I know that He loves me more than He loves being perfect and right and having everything pristine and innocent. I know it. It's the only way I can remain with Him. 

God isn't proud, did you know that? 

No matter how low I go, no matter how wounded I am, no matter what kind of noxious, disgusting mess I'm living in, He's already committed himself to be here with me in this mess I'm in. When I ask for His help, it's not coming from afar off outside this universe, He's here eye to eye with me, knee or neck deep in whatever I'm in - and He's not ashamed to be here with me. That's what the incarnation is all about, God expressing his own Self right here where we are - in rangy flesh that has to be bathed and fed and take a shit and get tired and get frustrated and get angry and get scared and need care and need and need and need

I've been thinking about that for awhile now. It takes awhile to get our heads out of our own pride that would have God afar off and pristine, so we could lay claim to ascending to His heights. But He is isn't afar off, He is near, standing in the muck of my life right along with me, fighting with me in the blood and the mire better than any soldier, driving away more dangers than I ever knew came down the pike, and doing it all with a grin and a sparkle in His eyes that says, "Hang on and watch this!" 

I've also heard it said never to share a foxhole with someone braver than yourself.
Too late.
He's done jumped down here in it with me and He ain't leaving.

He stayed thru Maggie. He's doing something about this addiction and, because of that, I believe He's doing something about all the rest of "it can't stay the same." He is so present with me that when I look at the evening news, I'm not all that upset over it. I'm fantastically incredulous at it, to be sure, I'm just not upset about it. He said it was going to be this way and that He would be here with me all the way thru it, and when it was finished, everyone would see Him the way he really is.

Be an early adopter, learn from Him one on one now. It's always more expensive when it goes mainstream.

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