I haven't really written in a couple months. I've told the story to a few close friends, but I haven't really known how to tell it here. I wish I could say that coming back felt like meeting an old and dear friend -- the kind that you can just pick back up where you last left off and feel like no time has passed at all. But really, this doesn't feel much like that. I'm not the same person I was before October happened. Truthfully, I'm still trying to process the fact that October happened.
"I feel like I've gone through some strange metamorphosis." I say it out loud to someone, almost without meaning to.
Most days, I want life with God to be more like a sprint and less like a marathon. I want to be holy now, want this whole purification thing to take no more time than instant macaroni or a Poptart. But being made well doesn't happen overnight -- at least not in my experience thus far. Love moves slow, because love understands worth.
"I try to remember," I say to a friend as we sip our holiday coffee, "that I have an enemy -- and it isn't the people who hurt me." Sure, it may seem that way in the heat of the moment, when feelings are fresh and the sting of grief leaves me stunned -- when I watch as the trauma brings any semblance of normalcy to a screeching, burning halt. Lashing out and spewing every last ugly thought is what feels good and right, and I am tempted. Except I cannot escape this thought: when Jesus died, I died. Now, every hurt or triumph I encounter in this life must be viewed through a new lens: the lens of the cross.
"Not that that makes this any less painful," I continue. "I'm not naive enough to think that any of what happened is okay."
The pain demands to be felt.
"I'm just learning to trust that he is making me okay."
When our hard won community withered, when I reached the end of my rope and the bottom fell out like a hidden trap door underneath me -- grace caught me. He allowed the air to remain in me.
I look at the new chapter that is 2017, and my heart is deeply ready.
Not that we know where we're going or how we're going to get there, because we don't. But we trust that he goes before us.
"I go knowing that I am cherished and cared for and deeply beloved."
I believe that now in a way that I hadn't dared to believe it before. And believing it has changed me -- rescued and ransomed pieces of my soul that I had rather let lay in the grave.
Nouwen writes that as Christ's living body on earth, we are taken, blessed, broken, and given to the world -- just as he was taken, blessed, broken, and given for us.
The past two months have broken me.
What offers me the most comfort these days is how Jesus looked at brokenness as being such an integral part of living that he was willing to forsake glory to experience it with us. He chose it for my sake. I'm grateful for the grace upon grace of it all. In awe of the abundance.
But he gives more.
I find myself wanting to live out of that more, to live as though Christ in me, the hope of glory, can never run out. To live like he is close, that he wants to be close, and that his love for me goes on and on.
To shut the door to a life of scarcity and being scared.
Because I don’t want to get to the end of my life and realize that I was a grace and glory hoarder. When you catch a glimpse of the way of the beloved, you want everyone you know to come with you. Therein lies the secret of the givenness.
I’m not the same person I was a few months ago, I tell her. She is patient and kind and offers the kind of soul deep hospitality that my heart has been longing for.
I walk with a limp now, a soul war torn from these battles in the wilderness. But you don’t get to the abundance any other way. There are no shortcuts to holiness, no formula that makes sanctification more palatable or predictable.
But he makes the scars beautiful. He makes beautiful things from us.