Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Wandering in Fog

Wondering in Fog

(Pre-cursor: This is an older journal entry, approx. 2 1/2 mnths. old.)

I awoke in the woods. Deep brush and thick pine trees suffocated any existing light. A wet, cold, and heavy fog sat casually below the tree tops; a semi0clausterphobic feeling set in. I searched diligently for the light, a way out; I saw no break in the fog, no bright-shining-sun, no exit.

My mind wanders. My heart beats rapidly. How did I get here? I search my immensely-scattered memory for an explanation and all I can remember is that I was chasing someone….something…..for some reason?

The faintest picture fills my mind, its clarity is minimal. I’m fighting to find its purpose, its meaning.

God chased me. He caught me. We all know the game, “Tag.” Apparently I’d been chasing Him when something happened, something put me out, something must have happened. Why else would I wake up dazed in the woods?

When He pursued me He was very intentional. I think He took it easy on me. He allowed me to run a bit, get muddy, and feel as if I “tricked” Him. When loneliness set in like the morning dew He came, tapped me, and gave me a reason to move, to run, a reason to live.

I realized at that point in time that the thrill of life came with the pursuit of Him. He was never out of my reach, I knew that if I touched Him that the chase would be over, and I dreaded that. I didn’t want to wait anymore; I liked it when He was right there in front of me, whenever I needed Him.

The woods were ever-changing. Some days the sky was bright and blue and clear and the beams of light shun through each opening; lighting up the rugged terrain. These days I found it very easy, nothing was hidden, I could follow Him anywhere, their was no where He could go that I couldn’t find Him. Then their were the other times. The rain started early and the sun seemed to never come, the fog was a screen, I could still chase Him, I know He was there, but regardless, I felt alone. He constantly assured me He’d never leave me, He said He was right there, but I couldn’t see Him, the rain, the snow and sleet, the hail, so much noise, crashing lightning and rolling thunder, the deafening ability of nature. Where was His voice? The immensely thick clouds. Where was His hand?

A day would have been okay I guess? A week would have been disheartening and difficult, but bearable. However, six months? I’m still here in the woods, the conditions seemingly unchanged. Yet, for some unexplainable reason things are different. Something has changed drastically. The stumps are still in their broke and moss filled places. The creeks still fun faithfully. The birds still whistle and sing. I am missing something? Six months of this, can I be honest enough here? I faintly remember a voice. The touch of a hand triggers the deepest parts of my being.

I fear the worst. In all of life’s possibilities the most rehabilitating of all feelings begins to creep into my already damp and damaged heart. I think I’m alone?

That once closeness I felt is gone like the sun is, and is as far away as that once mentioned clear blue sky. I sit here, anxiously, semi-non-expectant of a return. The taste I craved has left; I now wonder if I’d ever really tasted anything that sweet before. I wonder if I’d even know if I heard His voice again. Would I know it was Him? Will I ever beat this loneliness? Is this how life was supposed to be lived; actively waiting. Alone?

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Stubborn Serenity

If the facial expression doesn't say it all, what does?

I took a breath this morning, first time in weeks. Walking out of that Orthopedic Surgeon office gave me a renewed sense of worth, value, and peace. As the automatic door closed slowly behind me, I stepped out into the brisk Eugene air; allowing my eyes to slowly shift upward and gaze at the partially cloud-covered morning sun. I noticed something different about the sky this morning; it’s not so big when you feel like you’re in it. I literally felt lifted into them this morning; the closeness of the clouds was manipulated by the morning dew rising from the clean-cut grass encompassing the out skirts of the ice-glazed parking lot. The drive back home was serene; little distracted me from my out-there-attitude; the faint sound of worship music touched my ears and left a resonating sound of joy that remained their until our trip concluded.

Chaos. Uncertainity. Confusion. Pain. Removal. Did I mention Pain? All these words are appropriate word displays of where my life has been, 'as of lately.' The accident isn't new news to anyone; most of my immediate family and close friends are fairly well informed. My body has been in significant aching since a minor-fender bender back in mid' November. I’ve attempted to remain optimistic; despite what I feel inside.

I read the problem of pain, and didn't see a solution. I read the Word, and didn't find an answer. I asked some friends for input, it was good, but lacked the response I desired. I realized that the antidote to my problem rested not in the words of friends, family, or strangers but in God's still silent voice, which speaks most clearly when the other voices are tuned out.

Tuning out. What a process? It’s easier said then done; getting others to shut up. I don't mean this in an insulting way. Not 'shut up' in the sense I don't want to hear them 'speak'. But more so in the idea that God told me to merely ignore the majority of what others have been telling me. Ignore the doctor’s pessimism. Ignore people's consistent negativity towards my recent 'performance.' I'm not saying that God came in a cloud, or in a fire-filled-shrub, He simply spoke to my heart (not audibly). He just showed me the discomfort, worry, stress, fear, and anxiety that come from taking in so much of what the world's saying because I react accordingly; panic-stricken and verucht (German word for 'crazy'). Regardless of the manner in which the world treats me, I continuously find myself crawling vigorously towards it, longing for an answer, longing for more...

To ease a bit of the pain that I’ve been in lately, I began reading a book by Ravi Zacharias called, "Can Man Live Without God?" It’s an honorable question. The idea of being fear-plagued and uber-concerned with the current circumstances; yet responding ignorantly by avoiding the heart issue behind it shows both immaturity and lack of sufficient spiritual foundation. I want to see what God wants me to see during this hectic time of life. In this book by Zacharias, he mentions a particular story about Stalin, I will share it with you word-for-word and instead of adding application, and I will allow you to make the connection between this segment and the previous paragraph.

"...It was narrated, in one occasion, Stalin called for a live chicken and proceeded to se it to make an unforgettable point before some of his henchmen. Forcefully clutching the chicken in one hand, with the other he began to systematically pluck out its feathers. As the chicken struggled in vain to escape, he continued with the painful denuding until the bird was completely stripped. "Now you watch," Stalin said as he placed the chicken on the floor and walked away with some bread crumbs in his hand. Incredibly, the fear-crazed chicken hobbled toward him and clung to the legs of his trousers. Stalin threw a handful of grain to the bird, and as it began to follow him around the room, he turned to his dumfounded colleagues and said quietly, "This is the way to rule the people. Did you see how that chicken followed me for food, even though I had caused it such torture? People are like that chicken. If you inflict inordinate pain on them they will follow you for food the rest of their lives..."
("Can Man Live Without God, Pg. 26-27)

I don’t know what this is supposed to mean, but what I do know is this…I have felt like that Chicken before. I have felt that I had no other option but to turn to the place in which I know I can receive a filling; the world. However, I do believe that this physical ailment is making me more and more dependant upon the Father and is teaching me (slowly but surely) how to become a true-partaker of the grace and mercy of God. A physical pain is so unique because with it, we will react so unpredictably. Sometimes I’ll be angry, sometimes I’ll be sad, and other times I will be just really tired. The pain has its way with me like a month old Christmas present; abusive and destructive. But, I am beginning to realize that it would be better for that chicken to move on, go heal, go find ‘another’ source of replenishment. I don’t want to continue running back to worldly satisfaction and gratification every time my life gets tough. I would really like to just be, gosh, I don’t know, faithful? Yeah, that’s it; faithful. That one thing, “When the going gets tough….the tough get going.” I like that idea, I want to be strengthened by persecution, not dismantled and left in dismay by life’s often times disastrous ways.

Oh man. I am on a journey. I don’t want to seem hard on myself, but it’s obvious that I am. I just know how much God has done in my life and I feel like such trials often times leave me in shambles....

God. Rebuild your temple in my life, fix the broken, restore the rubble, wash thoroughly those areas that are in dire need of cleansing, and restore to me the joy of your salvation…

Thanks for reading, it may have been scatterbrained, but it’s definitely where I’m at right now.