Grace. Woven. Crazy.

When you are sorrowful, look and see it is that for which you mourn that has been your delight. Or something like that? I don't know. Anyway, it was just a quote I read somewhere, and it talked about being sad over things which brought you joy, and cherishing the depth of happiness brought about by the things that all but destroy you.

So many years I have mourned and wept and.... the sadness. Oh the SADNESS. I don't think there are many hells more furious - more unnecessary - than those of our own making. Wallowing in guilt and finding comfort in despair. CONSTANTLY confronted by the consequences of my choices, and forced to swallow down the bile that seeped so easily from the underbelly of my conscience.

And now - to stand in witness? To spelunk the caverns of a grace too deep to fathom, buoyed by the very experiences that had once been a millstone. To look into the face of a man who knows who I am, and yet absolutely adores me. Not just in SPITE of my past, but recognizing I am who I am today because of it.  What manner of love is this?

I have been given a finite glimpse of the infinite love and grace that has covered me these many years. Throughout my hells, defeats, and triumphs, he has been the constant. I may have felt naked and alone, but he was right there weaving together a future with colorful threads of mercy and consequence, patiently untangling the knots caused by my despair and impatience.

The work is FAR from complete, but what once seemed a hopeless pile of useless scraps, is now starting to take shape.

Crazy quilt, indeed.


Death

It fascinates me.

There was an interesting passage in the book that I'm reading, and the author was conveying how our basic human understanding is based on experience. It's easy for us to accept the fact that we can live forever - because none of us who are alive have ever... died. But have any of us ever experienced "matchless grace"? Or "unconditional love"? Sure, for those of us who have been called... chosen... redeemed... we can SAY that we have experienced those things, but they are not tangible experiences. They are void of the physiological components that are necessary for human consumption. Or so we think, anyway.

I could spend an endless hour in a graveyard. Slabs of marble and granite marking the spot in which a family has chosen to bury their dead. Complex existences condensed into chiseled dates and one sentence declarations. Vibrant greens and floras thriving in spite of smelly decomposition processes happening not six feet below the surface. It's a veritable smorgasbord of ironies and contradictions. Which unabashedly draws souls that are naturally inclined toward death.

Graves simplify the mystic intrigue of death. It wraps it up in a neat wooden package - complete with dirt and grass. Honestly, I think we over simplify the process. And since our understanding is wrapped up in experience, perhaps that is why it is so hard to allow our brains to wrap itself around what our hearts already know: death is necessary to life. Nothing REALLY lives except for that it first dies. It sounds poetic. It sounds right.

I am forever stumbling over my preconceived notions on my way to arriving at a clue that points to how this whole "thing" is supposed to work. Die to self. Die. Death. Non-living. Non-breathing. Non-eating. Worm food. It's dead. DEAD. Finished. OVER. So..... if it keeps showing up at the front door, doesn't that mean that it never really died?

Scripture validates our daily struggle with our selves. It's supposed to be a daily crucifying. An active, breathing choice to "die". Right? Suicide of the flesh. How freaked out would we be if Aunty Mame called us up and wanted to go out to lunch?

"Ummm, aren't you dead?" Apparently not.

We LOVE our boxes. Our neatly compartmentalized lives and experiences. "That one goes here. That one there. And God? If you'll please come right on in and take up residence in this one. I KNOW it's small, and the paint isn't quite dry - but I built it to the specifications as have been communicated to me on every Sunday, from every pulpit, in every church I've ever been to. It's basically what we understand to be... You."

It doesn't work that way. As much as I wholeheartedly want to squeeze God into my convenient box of plaster and stale wafers, He doesn't fit. To say He is "bigger" doesn't do Him justice... but that's only because my view of "big" is limited to mountains and sky. And if God's version of "big" is... eternity? Then maybe death and dying isn't as cut and dry as we would like to believe that it is.

The FRUSTRATING thing about being so... human, is that nothing is as it was originally intended to be. So, here I am living in a redeemed version of fallen perfection, tripping through my very LIMITED idea of "how this thing works", annoyed beyond reason at having to constantly KILL things that just refuse to DIE. Because MY version of "DIE", is something that doesn't come back to life. However, God's version is far beyond what we are able to comprehend, seeing through this mirror darkly.


Sojourner

sojourn |ˈsōjərn|

    n. a temporary stay
    v. [ intrans.] stay somewhere temporarily

Sojourner-small Grief is so strange. How can a thing which causes so much pain become a reliable filter through which can be seen the reality of circumstances? In the words of David Crowder, it's a 'beautiful collision'. It's how-things-should-be colliding with how-things-really-are. It's the smallness of humanity colliding with the bigness of God. It's the joyful elation of familial bonds colliding with the sorrow of a loss that seems too deep to mend. It's that moment when you're laughing through your tears and the sound of your heart splintering is muffled by the embrace of a love that will not let you go. 

Some things just don't make sense. Sin, depravity, a fallen world with its fallen diseases, why some souls have a shorter time on earth than others, sudden loss, slow loss, cancer. It all settles like a dense fog, where perceptions of eternity are distorted and hiding in plain view. And then all at once, everything clears. There are brief glimmers of hope when we understand that we are all sojourners who are just passing through, and our stories are never cut short by death. They continue to be written.

I hope... I believe all those loose ends will be tied up for us one day when we're ushered into the presence of Holiness, and we all stand before Him in glorious completion. It will all be clear.

It will be like we never left.

"For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face.
Now I know in part, then I shall know fully,
even as I have been fully known." - 1 Cor. 13:12