Sunday, March 13, 2005

Spiritual Movement

Part of this was written on 3/6/2005

This post is a bit more personal and not quite as humorous but it is something I have to share.

I re-dedicated my life to Christ about a year before my mom passed away in 2000. I would not have survived without the daily prayer, Bible study, and support of my church family. While I seriously doubt I would have killed myself, I would definately be emotionally dead and you would probably not be reading such masterpieces as the Oscar Edition caption contest summary or Leftist Fashion Advice (a personal favorite).

After that, as Elena could attest to, my relationship with God has been extremely spotty. There would be intense periods of prayer and growth followed by extreme patterns of rebellion covered with a spiritual veneer to hide the pain I am not willing to share with anyone.

For the past 5 years, I've struggled to talk to God. I talk to my cat more than I talk to Him. It isn't anger or resentment. I know my mom is in Heaven. I know she no longer suffers. I have truly been blessed by what has happened in my life. I am very grateful and thankful.

It was that I could no longer hear Him - even if He was speaking clearly, I refused to listen.

The past couple of weeks have been intense for me personally. Not all of it blogworthy. One morning late last week, it was cold and rainy. I was tired and not thrilled about dragging myself into work to be fussed at for nothing. In the middle of the lawn near my building, there was a pair of crows splashing around in a puddle and cawwing up a storm. They were hopping around and poking their beaks into the ground. I guess they found a stash of bugs like Fort Knox and were warning all of their crow buddies to stay away. I stopped and watched for a moment and thought "You take care of the sparrows and the lillies of the field. They want for nothing. How much more value do I have to you than these crows? How is it that I... I who have sooo much.. can't find joy on a daily basis? Why do I deny myself joy? Here are two crows.. ugly nasty crows rejoicing on such a miserable day. Why can't I rejoice?"

That prayer was followed with others wondering about where God was.. more appropriately, where I am in relation to Him. He doesn't move - I wander all over the place.

Fast forward to Friday night. Elena and I went to dinner. You've read some of her accounts of her slow reconcilliation with her father. That night she told me about how her parents were rebuilding their relationships with each other and Elena and her sister. I told her how I truly feel at peace about the political situation at work. I outlined how I was finally getting help to finish the estates and that they were almost finished. This week, I started a new relationship with my aunt and uncle (my mom's brother). We have never been close but they kept reaching out to me and finally.. I accepted. Much to my delight. They are good people with an equally warped sense of humor. It felt so good. And we both acknowledged that all of this - it was God. It was certainly nothing of our own creation. We may have taken steps to follow up but God is at the center of it.

"It's like.. I walked through this desert. For years, it seemed as though God was not here. He was so quiet. And now.. *boom* He says "Here I am! Now do you see me? I've been here all along." Doing things only He can do.. reaching us in unexpected ways.. and helping us to reach out to others."

Then I read DC's post about praying over his girls. And for the first time in a long time, I can feel the hard shell around my heart crack... just a little and the emotions come out. Good and bad; anger and thankfulness; love and jealousy.. all emotion and states of mind that I can lay at His feet.

It hurts.. but it is so good.

added 3/13/2005

Today, I was chatting with my pastor about the events of the week. He told me to stop praying for crazy stuff in his life.. that it had just been a roller coaster for the last two weeks and that he wanted the sedate, calm Tom back. I said "Now you know.. sometimes we have to step out of our comfort zones..."

"Oh hush up."

He and I talked about the roller coasters we have been on over the last year. Loss of loved ones, illness, job stress and how it was terrible loads to bear.. and that there were times when it seemed that God was distant. Where we were angry that we couldn't see or hear Him or why was all this crap happening to us.

Tom said "Pastor Pete said it best.. if there was every anything to take away from a service.. "God can handle your anger. You can't." "

Isn't that the truth? We try to bottle up our hurt, anger, resentment.. cover it up with pride. The longer we hide behind such facades, the more damage we do. I know I can't handle my anger which is usually tied to some hurt. I have to let it out - in constructive ways. Angry prayers, crying until I'm exhausted, pushing myself hard at the gym, sharing the situation with Elena or Duke Diva (who God has truly blessed me with!) and finding real ways to take action.

For the first time in 5 years, I know joy... I have never been more at peace.. more content with what was going on in my life. I don't mean that I'm going to sit here like a bump on a log.. I've got things to do. Content doesn't mean complacent or lazy. :) It also doesn't mean that I am overly thrilled with everything either or that I will be one of those shiny happy Christians who never shows any emotion at all.

I have a new connection with God.. more mature, more reverental.. more respect and humility.. more love than ever.

What a place to be in.