Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Cracked For Good

I've been mulling over what a brain stretching, faith filled tension has existed since I stumbled onto the blogsphere. In my little corner of the world it's pretty easy to simply stay in a cocoon and not go out of my mental comfort zone unless I choose to. I can hang with people of the same mindset or simply stay snug in my own, thank you very much.

Reading your blogs has stretched me in uncomfortable ways. I've been intent on being right for as long as I can remember. The answer to feeling safe in this life could be found in being right. Having teenagers cracked that assumption in half but I was seriously still trying to keep it intact. Thanks to all you folks out there, the assumption is cracked for good. It's still not very comfortable and I don't always embrace it, but it sure makes me think. If nothing else I have gone from God fits in this box to God doesn't fit in a box box. :)

Reading your blogs has forced me to see that being right at all costs might feel safe but it's an ugly place to live. Being right has often meant to trample on someone else's story in order to feel good about my own. I don't mean it's wrong to have a set of beliefs that I don't apologize for, but I have come to see that I need to hold those beliefs in an open palm up to the Light.

As I have journeyed along a fairly crooked path I have tried to distance myself from where I have been, after I've left it. It was too confusing to embrace the good things about a spot on my journey when I was moving on. It felt like I was both right and wrong and when you are set on being right that doesn't work very well. Black and white thinking resists the shades of grey that real life exposes.

For the record my path has taken these twists and turns in the past 25 years: atheist, highschool; acknowledge there is a God while a newlywed; non Christian yet an elder in a church; near death experience, realize there is no pretending to be a Christian; newly Christian, newly sober, AA and Al-Anon involved; newly Christian, evangelical fundamentalist hard core; charismatic dabbler. Homeschooling mother submerged in its culture; head covering, dresses only conservative Christian; home churched; return to institutional evangelical fundamentalism minus head covering and dresses; presently Catholic. Dizzy yet? You put your own spin on what being any of the above means and there you have it so far. I could write a whole series of posts on any of those places on the journey and how God kept showing up in spite of myself. Wherever I have been on the journey I have often felt the (insecure)need to feel as if I am at the head of the pack.

Have you ever rounded a corner and ran smack dab into someone? I would have been fine except I kept running smack dab into Jesus in the lives of people whose journeys I would have previously dismissed. He kept showing up in places I was sure he wasn't. And I don't mean places you might think. I mean in the lives of people whose spiritual path was different from my own or whose spiritual path has them in places I used to be. People I would normally feel threatened by. And when I find His story in the lives of those I want to distance myself from it gets uncomfortable living in my skin.

I have lost count of the number of times I have read someone's blog and sputtered because where I would have once dismissed them and their journey, I saw God. What was God doing there? Dismissing them would mean dismissing their story and ultimately dismissing God. And oh, I know the sparks that fly when anyone wants to dismiss my story. I can't have it both ways. So often I have read something on a blog and found it didn't fit my preconceived ideas yet it contained that indelible ring of truth which meant I had to make room for it instead of tossing it out for comfort's sake. "Just how small is your God anyway?" pushes against my edges continually.

It's been hard to honour Jesus when I find him in places I was too prejudiced to think He could be. I recognize Him there but I still struggle with feeling I have to let go of what I believe to make room for your beliefs. I realize I've labeled people and their traditions, as good or bad, acceptable or unacceptable. In having to face all this I find that seeing Christ in everyone means that the next time I round a corner and run smack dab into Jesus that instead of saying "It can't be You." I simply acknowledge, "Oh, it is You."

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