First Monday. We’re alive. I’m writing and you’re reading. Grace has lifted us once again. How shall we respond?
I write. It’s a compulsion. Sometimes words illumine a way out of a thought jungle. Worry; the great canopy of blocking the light of day. Vines, creepy-crawlies, and unknown sounds and furies. I gotta admit, and I have, that the older I get, the more I am prone to worry. Anxiety strangles the heart, mine at least.
The heart is the matter. What’s the matter with my heart? That question’s been dogging me for quite some time now. So, on the first Monday of this decade I broke out my bible app and entered ‘heart’ in the search box. The verses pertaining to the heart are many, and the conclusion is God cares about hearts. More than ‘likes’ on social media. More than the 24 hour news cycle. More than information and opinions and bowl games. If you have a bible app, look for yourself.
Listen to these verses with your heart…
“Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the centerof your life.”
Philippians 4:6 and 7 The Message.
What is the center of our humanness? Our hearts of course! God’s desire is for our hearts to be wide open with Him. This doesn’t come naturally to me. Often I get flamboozled into thinking I can’t trust God with my heart. The realization hits only after I’ve stonewalled God, and am deep into self-protection mode. Think of the reasoning in that! I need to protect myself from God? If there’s a need for protection then I might as well join AA (Atheists Anonymous). I’ve said before ‘If God isn’t good, what good is God?’
Make no mistake, if the verse says fret not, God knows our tendencies. God knows where our hiding places are and He is perfect at hide and seek. Once God even sent Jesus to look for us.
This I pray:
That our hearts will be flung open to the goodness of God. That like water to wine, worry will turn into praise because of Jesus, our only hope. Amen
Right before I leave for work I pop a question. It is always the same one with the same response. It is not that my wife can’t live without me. She is strong. She will survive. I can hear her singing Gloria Gainer song in my head right now. She sings along every time Gloria belts it out. The reality is she has allowed me much freedom over the years. I can be pretty independent and she knows it all too well. I roam and she trusts.
Monday morning different words came out of me. They weren’t formed in a question. They were a response to a question she didn’t ask. She probably would ask it eventually, but my answer couldn’t wait.
“No, I am not going to be okay without you.”
She smiled. We made eye contact as we always do and “I love you” was swapped as we always do. *kiss
I walked out and got in the driver’s seat and a voice filled the dashboard.
“Are you going to be okay without me?”
Neil Diamond nudged me and whispered something about being a solitary man.
“I am an island…I have my books and poetry to protect me…” Geez Simon and GarFUNKel, I would rather find a bridge over troubled water. It is tempting to hide behind someone’s thoughts instead of walking through them.
“Psssst, are you going to be okay without me?”
Give me a minute. Did you mean, like, I need to come to the garden alone all the time to catch the dew on the roses? Do you want every word that proceeds out of my mouth to be laced with religious overpinnings?
“Shhhh, are you going to be okay without me?”
No, I’ve tried before. It’s okay for a while, but then I can’t receive the beauty around me or hug my kids authentically or lay next to my wife in peace. I can’t hand out hope or smiles after a while. You are love and without you this bruised, groaning world makes little sense and eventually sucks the life and meaning out of me.
“I know. Did you know that I am not going to be okay without you? I want to bring my creation close. I want to ease its groaning. That includes you. I gave freedom in the beginning knowing there was a chance of people running away with it. Silly ole humans, do they really think they can out run my love? My Jesus came to snap people out of it; that blank stare of independence clutching freedom like a teddy bear.”
The bear is a bit tattered isn’t it?
“Listen, freedom is a wild concept. True freedom doesn’t necessarily expand, at least not in the way some understand it. Independence is good, but interdependence is better. Not co-dependence. Interdependence.
True freedom is not freedom from dependency
freedom in dependency.”
The original intent was to allow us to reciprocate your love, right? Not just to you, but especially with each other. I think I get it. I hope I grow in freedom to love better. To be dependent on and be dependable; that is love in action isn’t it?
“Yes, now go ask your wife a question and go to work. Feel free to live and love. I am here, all the time. I am love.”
Are you free to love? Love God? Love people?