Friday, March 7, 2014

Our Amazing Capacity For Missing The Point

It pretty much got real up in here tonight. When everything had wound down, the events of a busy day that was supposed to be a Sabbath drizzled to a stop and I had a moment to stand in the kitchen and catch my breath - that's when I felt it.

Like an addict, I yearned for it.

Like an addict, for a brief fleeting moment I wondered if I could just have a taste...just one tiny look. If I reactivated and just slipped in for a quick look, who would know?

Practicing our 'fake smiles'
When that thought slipped through my mind, I knew that this was a good decision.

Hello, my name is Beth, and I have a Facebook problem.


In other news, this girl came home tonight and brought light and joy with her on a gloomy, rainy day. In just four months she'll be a married woman; but this evening she walked into the house and into her mama's arms and I held her tight. Extra long. I inhaled the familiar smell of her, my baby girl, my little redhead. I'm glad she's home for a few days.

There is much going on in our community; devastating diagnoses, struggling kids, addictions, family estrangements, suffering marriages, death far too soon. I have sought all week to simply be present as much as possible, for it is in these difficult moments that I find I want to revert to my old ways of trying to force and fix things. It's the control freak in me. It's the fear of intimacy in me; for if I can wave a magic wand and fix you, then I don't have to go to those deeper wells of pain and sorrow, and neither do you, and then we can make everything all better. And I can be a Fix It Hero.

Ironically, the title of today's Lenten Devotional is "Our Amazing Capacity for Missing the Point". It is so easy, so tempting to gravitate toward the attitudes and actions that make us feel better about ourselves, to shore up existing dysfunction in ourselves - even while we serve others. To miss the point of opening ourselves completely.

I have to fight against this; it does not come naturally to me, to serve with humility and openness and complete disregard for whether or not I am doing the right thing. It's so easy to make it all about me.

What I've learned is this: It's not that I'm a uniquely selfish person. I am a human being, and when you get right down to it, we're all selfish. So here's the thing; in dying to our selves, we can learn to live with humility and openness and presence. We can really help one another, and we can do without the pat on the back from ourselves or anyone else. There's a deep resonance in me; I know that I know that I know that this is the miracle of Christ in me. This is the deep hunger, fed. This is the yearning, satisfied. For if I believe that the light of Christ is somehow in me; if I embrace the concept of letting go and trusting God, then there is no effort needed on my part to fix anything at all. If I truly believe, then all I have to do is get there and sit down. There's no spiritual scorecard, nobody checking off whether or not I said or did enough of the right things, pointed somebody in the right direction or quoted enough scripture.

Half the time I think it's just showing up and shutting up. Being willing to listen. Pushing down the surge of ideas and plans and platitudes that would "fix" a situation that, in truth, can't be fixed.

Most of our stuff can't be fixed; it can just be lived, ridden out like a fierce hurricane or a bloated wave. We flex our muscles and flail in the chaos, and then we fall, and then we pick ourselves up and see the grace of another day.

And we keep going, and we hold one another up and pull and push and tug and keep moving, together.

And if you doubt that, ask this guy. He gets it.


Brandee Shafer said...

Raising my hand. This was for me, just for me. Love you so.

Lori said...

I love Richard Rohr... and gollll-ly Beth... did you think you were the Lone Ranger on this one? Seriously? Don't we all do this? At one point or another... in our lives. Until we realize, one day, that we have been given something so huge, that we cannot possibly even touch it.. that's that moment we automatically speak... Papa please take this, I can't handle it. And he does, he did, and there is no more required on our part. There's a comfort zone.. knowing that all will be well... it truly goes beyond trust. I'm digressing. Sorry.