Saturday, December 08, 2007

thinking about the need

lately i have been very emotional, thinking about the reason we need Christmas.
i'm glad to be feeling, because i was starting to worry about grinchiness. This year i'm a complete flop at getting ready for "Christmas" the way it is gotten ready for in North America.
I am so loathe to be at rat in the race this year. . . i've made some reluctant forays into the retail maze. . . blech. . i don't even like the 'cheese' at the end, it stinks.

Yes, the world's a mess, we all know it and Christmas has this way of sensitizing people to need, which seems extremely appropriate, given that dire need is exactly what Christmas is about.
but its not even about taking such a large view to highlight the problem and need for a lasting solution, the need is seen within

in me, it shows up every day.
i can't be good
i can't stay good
i try, i can't sustain
its not in me
i have lots of illusions of goodness in what i do and say and think. . .
but what's that taintedness at the bottom?

me, me, me, me. . . how is this affecting me? how do i feel ? what's in it for me? how can i be happy? what about me?

Of course this is paring it down to the core, but isn't that the only thing to do when trying to get to the truth?

i'm not saying i'm a spoiled brat 24/7, but i often am on the inside, in my heart, in my thinking. i feel very J&Hyde most days. If i was to remove all the social filtering i've learned through the decades, i doubt that anyone would want to have anything to do with my black-hearted self. I'm not saying all this to seem particularly insightful or bracingly candid. i'm just saying it like it is.

the true me is not a good me. this world is populated with billions of "me's" and there is not a single good one. all dark of heart. . with variations of shading . . but dark, without exception. every 'me' hides, every 'me' is selfish, every 'me' is identically damaged, every 'me' is in dire need of resuscitation.

when i was 30 i got to my breaking point. i realized finally that i hadn't learned from what i'd experienced. I couldn't make sense of a lot of it.
i felt bleak inside.
i gave myself over to this 'why bother' attitude.
why bother trying? why not just be . . . . only human, independent, proud, blatant, nasty as i wanna be - when i wanna be, angry without temperance, faithless, cynical, jaded
"Christmas" felt as hollow as a glass ornament and so did i.

now in my mid 40s and several Christmases later, i have been allowed a decade and a half of some more things i'm positive you wouldn't want to experience. i sure didn't want to. It wasn't all angst and gloom, there were amazing things as well in this time - but it seems to have been in the shadows that i've experienced the most change and growth, as painful as it might have been . Joy and rain, sunshine and pain.

i've learned some things that radically changed my heart.
i 've learned that sometimes what seems the worst can actually turn out to be for the best.
i 've learned to be grateful, i'm still learning this way of living.
i've learned to live from all parts of myself - body, mind, spirit and i've still got a long way to go with this, but i'm practicing.
i've learned to exercise -- even haltingly and losing ground sometimes - faith. .
elusive, mysterious, even for some, mockable faith.
not faith in myself because i am by nature faithless,
not in other humans, because they're in the same boat with the faithless nature thing,
but in Him. . in the one full of faith -- Christ, the one who saw our need and came down here with a heart for meeting it. I really believe that this is how it was and is and this is what really happened.
I have to tell you. . .
He is the reason i no longer feel hollow
He is the light in my eyes and in my smile
He is the one who sparks my heart to care
He is the one who 'speaks' into my spirit and brings it increasingly to life
He is the one who gives me the ability to be good, though that ability is all his and never has originated within myself
He is the one who sees my 'rotten core' and doesn't pull away in disgust. .
no one else has such love capacity
no one else has such love purity. . there's not even a sliver of darkness, not a pinpoint
How can i not respond to love like this? sometimes i get so emotional thinking about the only love in my life that has the power to redeem my darkness and i can never, with my words, thank him enough, but i use words and i thank him with my life.
He isn't 'seeable' to my eyes, but He is felt by me and while for the longest time i ignored his love, i always knew it was there, even as i piled offensive things up and up on top of it,
his stubborn love was not smothered by my attempts to bury it.
until the day i stopped piling. . . i can't forget this day, soaked in despair, crisis was a normal state. . and i remember lying on the bed, crying. .busy with the crying and the feelings of why i was crying and being wrapped up in my weeping. . which of course ran its course and after a while settled and i became quiet. Then came the moment when i 'heard' these words deep within myself, in the silence . . . . ..............."i love you, Kathy"

they weren't my own words in my mind, because i did feel like saying such a thing to myself. They were unmistakable. My heart knew it was him. I was 'resuscitated' by four beautiful words. I was still in the crisis, but i was remarkably changed right there in the mess of it. . i no longer felt alone, i never was, but now i didn't feel that way and i was different after that.
I looked the same in the mirror, but i was not me any more. . i was me plus him forever.
Not 'stereotypically Christian' if that phrase brings overtly fanatic or negative thoughts to mind.
The degree to which the difference is obvious is the degree to which i surrender my heart daily.
I have to tell you its not easy. Surrender is not easy. Some days you might see me and dare me to prove there even is a difference. . and those would always be the days i'm unsurrendered and i can feel the difference.
But easy isn't promised.
I have to tell you i make mistakes.
But i am completely encircled by Christmas every day of my life,
not baby in a manger, that was only the wrapping of the gift, which opened into life for the spiritually dead, which means the whole lot of us.
I am encircled by light, when i was dark
I am encircled by good, when i was bad
I gave up my illusions of independence to be dependent on him for life with meaning.
What a gift. .
i'm so emotional.


Jonny & Julie Pollock said...

What a refreshing view of you life - a normal Christian. Praise God for your honesty - it speaks more about God than a bajillion sermons, as we are human, and yet have a promise and a hope of something real and eternal!

God Bless you! J&J

electroluminescence said...

your words always pierce my heart.
you have a beautiful heart, soul, & mind!!!

i'm praying for you, my dear friend.

kathryn said...

J&J. . thank you for writing. . i always love to hear from you.

Cee. . i feel your prayers. . xo

Tee said...

"i don't even like the 'cheese' at the end, it stinks."

So many good quotes in this post. This is one of my favorites ever. I feel like I need to re-read it a few times to fully absorb it. I have been trying really hard lately to mature spiritually. Just when I feel I have deepened my relationship with God, I'll catch myself and realize I haven't changed much.

Your words resonate with me. I hope I can take something away from reading them. I don't think I'll have an "a-ha!" moment any time soon, but your post has helped me on the path I'm taking. Thank you.


kathryn said...

spiritual maturity. . wow that takes a lifetime and then some, Tee. I love that you have the desire to mature. I do too. i hope your 'a ha' moment is a great catalyst for the growth you long for. . i think we all need 'a ha' moments repeatedly. . cuz how soon we forget

love, from me