I don’t actually know if this post is going to come together well or not.
When you blog as much as I do, this type of thinking is fairly common, but I want to be honest—there are times when I know my words are firing on all four cylinders before I even begin to type them, and there are other times when I know I am not going to post whatever incoherent disaster makes its way from my fingertips to my computer screen. This morning, I just have no idea.
I ran across a quote the other day that echoed a little bit too loudly.
“To heal a wound, you need to stop touching it.” –Steve Maraboli
Closure does not come easily to me. It never has, and I think this is intricately tied to the reality that closure means something has ended, and I don’t love it when things end. This is true of both seemingly insignificant things (I hate it when I come to the final page of an excellent book) and of life altering events (death, loss of friendship, vocational transition, etc).
I have recently had several conversations about the importance of understanding whether we are running away from something or toward something when entering into a transitional time that necessarily creates a new beginning at the expense (end) of something else. Truthfully, I think it can be hard to discern. But I do know this: I will hold on longer than just about anyone, in just about any situation, in order to make sure I am not running away. I’m not a quitter—even to a fault, sometimes to my own detriment.
But there may come a time at which it is most appropriate to stop touching a wound, because although scars are difficult reminders of suffering; they also prevent us from bleeding out.
Psalm 119:111-112, “Your statutes are my heritage forever; they are the joy of my heart. My heart is set on keeping your decrees to the very end” (NIV).
This Scripture is speaking to me, but here comes the part where I’m having trouble finding adequate words. My heart is set. Oh, how my stubborn heart is set. And please do not mistake stubborn for hardened, here. Persistence can be a very good quality when properly utilized. But I would be lying if I didn’t admit that I am struggling just a little bit as I juxtapose words like ‘heritage’ and ‘joy’ with words like ‘end’ and ‘go.’ It’s actually been a very complicated week for me, the highs have matched the lows, and my heart has felt everything from being so full I thought it might burst… to being so injured I knew it had… to whatever one might feel in the entire range of things between those extremes. But at the end of every day, it’s still been beating in my chest, so there’s that…
Suffering can be exhausting to navigate. I have long since kicked the notion of a controlling God who orchestrates and manages pain in order to grow us or move us along or get God’s way in some convoluted, manipulative manner; but that didn’t stop me from getting very angry with God last Monday night—raw, ugly, angry. I think this is one reason why it is essential to understand what we believe about God. If we do, then even when we have a horrible Monday night; we can follow it with a pretty great Tuesday.
I’m not sure how long I’ve been sitting here. It’s longer than I should have been, but of course you… the reader… ordinarily have no way of knowing this, because you only see a finished product, time-stamped whenever I want it to be. It’s interesting (and maybe even entertaining), because I started this post in hopes of offering some encouragement for moving forward in hope, but then I kept clicking through to old posts and effectually created an environment in which I did exactly what I set out not to do. I might be sitting here with my own hand in my side, perpetuating woundedness. I would kind of like to throw up, and I don’t mean the figurative spewing of words and emotions. I actually feel like the fried chicken and mashed potatoes purchased on a whim, last night, after a very trying day, might materialize as vomit at any moment.
Platitudes and posts about windows and doors will do that to me every single time, and there have been so many of these. It think it’s all just coming to a head. But there’s something else tucked away in the daily office, and it resonates, too (thank goodness):
Romans 15:20-21, “It has always been my ambition to preach the gospel where Christ was not known, so that I would not be building on someone else’s foundation. Rather, as it is written: ‘Those who were not told about him will see, and those who have not heard will understand’” (NIV).
I’m pretty sure the temptation to build on someone else’s foundation is natural, but I’m (almost) equally sure that doing something new is good, too. I’ve always been fairly decent at thinking outside the box… and deconstructing boxes… and building original ones. There is probably a certain sense of creativity that comes from being an only child and making my own fun, even alone, from the moment my imagination began to develop. Not long ago someone asked me if I am a self-starter, and the answer is clearly, “yes.” I self-start fast and furious, and it’s hard to slow me down. I’m enough. Sometimes I’m even too much. Yet there is still something scary about looking at a blank canvas and beginning to paint.
As it turns out, though, my #LessFearIn2016 motto seems to have evolved into #LessFearForever, so it’s all good. I’m not sure I eat fear for breakfast, yet. And I just realized I haven’t even had my coffee, today. But I’m confident that I just traded baby steps for a giant leap of something, and I sure hope it’s faith…