Friday, February 14, 2014

the land of the living

"Whoever you are, the land to which God has brought you is not like the land of Egypt from which you came out. You can no longer live here as you lived there. " - Thomas Merton, Echoing Silence

Sometimes, I wish I could go back.

Back to my old self, the self that lived in the land where if any good-loving-Christian desired any good and pure thing, it would be given to them.  The land where I believed that if I asked and I prayed until there were nothing but tears flooding the foot of the cross, God would hear me and he would respond miraculously.

Back to the land where I had dreams, the kind of dreams I couldn't imagine myself ever being without.  Dreams of a beautiful future, of motherhood, of mission and of purpose.  Dreams that God would make happen, because they were good.  Dreams of the day when the doubt and the worry would be washed from my eyes and I would know-that-I-know-that-I-know that God is good no matter what.

I believed so much in the land where I used to live -- things that are true, things that are only half-true, and things that are not at all.  I've carried them all with me for as long as I can remember, yet grief has loosened the ties that had them bound to my being.

Some must be left behind as things that were never supposed to be truths in my life anyway.  They must be abandoned in the hope that new truths will someday take their place.  Others must be re-tied and double knotted so they cannot be loosened again.  And most of them, they just need some fixin' before they can be tied on again.

You see, I was raised by my parents until I went off to the world's largest Christian university and was raised by fundamental evangelicals.  There, they taught me how to be a good Christian, how to study the Bible and why I should tell my story.  I heard a-thousand-million-times that if I ask for anything in the name of Jesus, God will grant me the desires of my heart.... and if not, I should thank Him anyway.

None of these things are bad.  I just see things differently now that I have been raised by suffering -- things like how it is humanly possible to feel gratitude amidst tragedy and how to put one foot in front of the other when you literally-cannot-see-a-gosh-darn-thing ahead.

Sometimes, I think it would be so much easier to go back -- back to the land before I knew suffering so intimately, before everything got so tainted by the harshness and matter-of-fact that life is so freaking hard.  I would go back and I would live as if life is "fair" and all good-loving-Christians are rewarded for their good deeds and things like miscarriages would never in-a-million-years happen to me.

But I can't go back.

I can't go back because suffering has changed me, and now, life is different and deeper and more complicated than I've ever known it to be.  I can no longer live and dream the way I used to because of what I now know. There is just no place in the old land for me anymore.


I can only hope that new dreams and new understanding will rise to meet me in this new land where nothing is guaranteed and good-things-prayed-for aren't always given and God doesn't owe me a thing.  I can hope, although I'm not sure I know how-to anymore.

All I really know is that there's no going back.  There's only going forward.

There's the tripping, the slipping, the stumbling and the falling --

face-first into the land to which God has brought me.

1 comment:

  1. Well Shelly, you don't sound to positive.

    What better experience is there than to be born again ?
    When a man or a woman is born again, he or she is a new creation, old things have passed away behold all things are new.
    If that doesn't put a smile on your dial, then what does ?
    Paul :-)