Wednesday, April 8, 2015

A Journey

Let me take you on a journey, of the mind. If you don’t mind, that is.

First, a Fact: The entirety of my conscious life has been filled with vivid imaginings. I've dreamed of walking on clouds, sword fighting in libraries, and dodging along a cliff-side overlooking the sea. I've imagined reasoning with enemies, striving with friends, and dancing with my wife. If I were to paint you a picture, it might overwhelm: hence, I think, the reason I can't paint.

I've seen the impossible, the improbable, and the frightening. I have rejoiced at the glorious, the beautiful, the sublime. I could conjure images of twisted, gangly black beasts leaping from the shadows and imagine rappelling out one of the grand library's windows.

I used to take such great comfort from my daydreams. Now...

Secondly, a Question: How many of us care to admit the depths of the pain we may find ourselves going through? How many of us have let or will let our children see us cry? Children...

I told myself once that my daydreams were not a way of escaping reality but of dealing with it, of processing it. I believed that thought as a profound revelation. I was lying. See, life is full of pains. It is a bitter truth and one that some (including me) can sometimes too easily focus too much on. In that focusing we feel the need to run, to dim our eyes to reality and imagine our way out.

(Side note: daydreams never, ever trumped reality for me. You see that in Hollywood movies and it’s completely ridiculous. I could never disengage from real life. Daydreams happened in the gaps between, giving me what I supposed was a much needed breath to help me deal with life.)

Third, a Vision: Imagine for a moment dust, everywhere. There is a roaring sound, gripping, tearing at your hearing. There are white bones of structures sticking up out of the debris. For miles and miles you can see because there is nothing there to see; nothing except the billowing, pluming cloud that looks like cotton candy and smells of acidic end. Everything is unrecognizable and dust, and death.

I won’t dwell on that, because it’s only part of the journey. It’s only the halfway mark. Sure, I had some hard days and nights. I’ll never be the same, really, but I don’t really want to be. And I didn’t share it for pity or help. Frankly, I shared it for the conclusion.

For home is made all the sweeter by the journey, and Easter Sunday made brighter for the darkness of the Friday before.

Fourth, a Hate and a Hope: I cannot share my journey without these two, my constant companions. The dust in my mind settled and my bitterness realized. I have hated not life, but my life, for all the time I have spent trying to escape it, trying to make it better. Now my daydreams lay in a wreck around my feet. Now I couldn’t escape.

If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.” – Luke 14:26

All I could see through all that dust was a sliver of silver light: A silver-lining for the mushroom cloud. “Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen…” – Luke 24:5-6

My hope that has steadfastly followed me for years and years now; held me in the palm of his hand. Let me share Him with you:

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be propitiation for our sins.” – 1 John 4:7-10

Fifth and Final, an Answer and an End: I prayed just recently that God would rekindle my first love; remind me of my hope. You may have noticed that I’ve mentioned the 1 John verses before. That’s because they mean a lot to me since loving people is what I find most difficult in life, but when God helps me love is when I know I am most alive.

See, I love and live (they are really inseparable concepts) through the Son who grants them both to me. The world often confuses what love is because they know not God. If you don’t know God you can’t know real love. Loving other people and caring for them above and beyond myself is what was my first love. It is what He brought back to mind for me recently.

So the answer is yes, I want to share my pain with my children and others, but only under one condition: That in doing so I can help and care for them, showing them the love of Christ. More then that, though, I want to share in other people’s pain, in order to better care for and love them.

In the end it is how I find life tolerable, even joyful. Yes, believe it or not, it is a joy to lose yourself in love for others. Ask God to let you try it sometime. If you’re courageous enough, that is...