Archive for October, 2012

Fight or Flight.
October 29, 2012

You know how in the cartoons, right before the fat firework rockets off the ground it shakes?
Shakes violently because something volatile is happening on the inside, something so powerful that it’ll lift it far, far into the blanket of night sky?

We’re not all that different.
Before we’re propelled out of a plateau there’s usually a catalyst.  And that catalyst more than likely isn’t a nap or a mug of warm milk or a Family Circus comic.

It’s big.
It’s loud.
It’s intense.

And we shake.

There has been a lot of tough stuff not just as of late, but as of always.  Stuff that’s left me sobbing in a bathroom stall, tearing at the walls, laying flat on the tangerine shag carpet of a church floor in the dark.  There have been moments where what’s barely being contained in my skin shakes so violently I don’t know if it’ll propel or push me to drown under the weight of it all.

We’ll strip down and sink under the sweet frothy water of a bath to get clean, but when was the last time we peeled off our layers and hopped into the washing machine? Wrapped our legs & arms around the agitator in koala bear fashion and asked a friend to shut the lid?

When was the last time we walked miles out into the thrashing foam of a storming sea and sank underneath just to get clean?

Never.

We’ll take our lavender & rose scented six inches to get the job done.  No need to get crazy.  The spin cycle would make us sick, and the ocean’s swirling whirlpool would stuff our lungs until we didn’t surface.

I’ve been hiding out the last twenty nine years.
The waves have found me.  So I haven’t gone looking for more.

And on a mundane morning last week it hit me why.

Because God wins in the end.

And in typical Brian Reagan fashion, let me put the em-phasis on the right syl-lable.
Where you might’ve interpreted “Because God wins in the end.”  what my heart has come to believe is more “Because God wins in the end.

The end.

Not in the now.
NOT TODAY.
I have been head-down to the victory of the enemy in every moment, not fighting.
Shaking with a long lit fuse, but refusing to lift off.

And when I dare to lift my chin, it’s to fight the hope that I can hope for anything.
Because since Eden, that snake has lied to us and told us God’s not God.  That He’s not the victor.  That He doesn’t win.

And since the first time I heard I wasn’t worth loving, I believed it.  And He didn’t win.
And since the first time I heard I was a ‘grand disappointment’, I believed it. And He didn’t win.
…The first time I was told my heart was a liability and not an asset.
…The first time I was told that my writing did a great disservice to Jesus.
…The first time I was told I wasn’t pretty enough for someone to want me… that I wouldn’t make a good mom which is why I wasn’t one… that I wouldn’t make a good wife which is why I wasn’t one… that my hurts weren’t real, they were just an excuse…

I believed it.
And He didn’t win.

I mean, ultimately I guess I kept my head down so that I could just get to the end.  The end where He WILL WIN!
The end where He makes everything right and finally destroys the enemy and gathers all His kids up.
The end, where “Every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord!”

And I guess till then, when I can drag out of the torrential tide or pop out of the Whirlpool, I just want to crawl into the placid warmth of my tub.
I’ll clamp my arms around my middle to stop the shaking that might get me world-changing and I’ll just wait. wait. wait.
I’ll just wait it out till the end.
I might end up shriveled like a rain-wrenched raisin, but there will hopefully be a lot less risk and a few less scars.

Last night I re-listened, but maybe this time heard the story of Ruth.
(And if all that name conjures for you is a drunken Real World-er or a baseball legend, I suggest you snag the nearest Old Testament.)

You see this woman Naomi lived in a beautiful city, Bethlehem, with her husband and her two boys… and when drought pushed them out they moved into Moab.
Where it was dark.
And sin-soaked.
Then her husband died.
Then her sons both died.
And there she was left alone and broken-hearted with her two daughters-in-law.
And Ruth, one of those daughters, didn’t leave her side.
And through the chapters she finds love and her mother-in-law finds joy again.
And Ruth gives birth to a son that was the grandpa of King David.

And in the old old pages of Ruth’s life we see God win.
God won when he used Ruth to well love the heart of her bitter mother-in-law, God won when he drew Boaz’s heart to notice her while she worked in a field as nothing all that special, God won when the man that could’ve taken her didn’t so Boaz could, God won when she conceived David’s grandad, and God won most of all when His son was born in the city that so many years before, Christ’s ancestors moved out of.
And it’s that Son, and His Spirit, and Himself that yes will eventually win it all, but HE IS WINNING IN THE NOW.

 

He wins the moment.
He wins the minute.
HE WINS EACH DAY.

He is winning when I’m being body slammed against the beach, and He’s winning even when I don’t feel the victory.  Because there is no second that slips by where the enemy doesn’t quake at the power of Christ.

So shall I sit up from under the tepid tapwater and take a breath, and then a step, and then a leap into the scary future?

YES.

Why would I let myself be convinced by the darkness to stay in the darkness?  Why would I let myself believe the loser when he tells me the winner doesn’t win?

Why would I spend 29 painful years ready to rocket and refusing to do so?

If I believed in a God who fought for me and fights for me still, would I fly?
If I believed in a God who parts seas and moves mountains and creates with words and humbly stretched on skin for us, would I fight?

If I believed in a God who wins, in a love that wins, in the good that wins… would I ignite the sky?

No more hiding.
No more keeping my eyes closed and fists clenched.
No more assuming today is decided.
No more bubble baths to hide out in when there’s a world waiting.
…A world where this very second, the enemy is being defeated!

BECAUSE HE HAS, HE IS, & HE WILL…
WIN.

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Kaleidoscope Heart.
October 2, 2012

Four rows up from me was this willowy brunette who kept shaking her long silken locks, completely unaware that I was not-so-subtly attempting to burn holes in the back of her head with my slightly-squinted snakelike stare.  And yes, I was an eensy bit comforted at the thought of what she must spend on conditioner every month, but beyond that, I hated her.  Because beyond her greenbean-esque torso and the aforementioned locks of fairy tale proportions, halfway through the church service (…yes all of this hate was happening at church, I know, I know!) halfway through the church service she was handed a comfy grey sweater by her sitting-so-close-boyfriend to slip over her cold shoulders.

I mean, the nerve! Right? I mean, here she is, while I’m trying to leave my junk at the altar and really learn something new about the Lord or the world, or okay, I don’t really remember all of what I was supposed to be stuffing away in my insides to make me more like Jesus, but here she was swishing her perfect hair and letting her boyfriend be all sweet and considerate right in front of me. Well, fifteen feet-ish right in front of me. There she was warm in that cotton-wool blend, being loved, and she probably remembers every word whichever pastor spoke had to say and she probably didn’t even need to bring her Bible because she’s got at least all of the New Testament memorized.

Her and her damn shiny hair.

And it’s not just her that’s done me wrong these last few days, it’s hand-in-hand neighbors, stroller-pushers, fancily-attired diners paired off like they’re on a candle-lit Noah’s Ark… two by two by two by two.
Oh, and the radio.  Damn the radio.  Where are the upbeat songs about salad? or soft baby bunnies? or Switzerland?
Be it twangy or folksy or rap-infused, seems to be three and half minutes of love or sex or worse… both, on a never-ending loop.
…and really all I could use right now is a song about nothing but sunshine and tiny animals and nothing.

Because, and the cat’s already been loosed out of the internet-bag by some well-meaning well wishers… I got my heart broke.

And I’m not okay, and it’s not okay, and broken hope is never okay.
And I’m not alone, and I’m not unique, and ultimately it will be okay.
Okay?

Somewhere inside something so special, the pressure to love was too much for one of us.

And here I am hurt, and broken, and exhausted.
And I’m not alone, and I’m not unique, and ultimately it will be okay.

 

All I’ve ever wanted to do was love BIG. love LOUD. love like CRAZY.
(whispers… and all I’ve ever wanted was to be loved BIG. be loved LOUD. be loved like crazy.)
So when the love you want isn’t there, and it’s not there because of the way you love, because the way you love is too much…
It crushes you.

So you wheel out a barrow of tape & glue & thread, and you get busy pulling out the words of best friends, and the prayers of ones who’ve walked farther through darker darkness, and the hope wrapped up in other people’s dried bouquets and freezer burnt wedding cake and matching gold bands, and you kind of mash up this blanket to wrap up in, or hide under.

We broke up on my birthday.  The day I’d weeks before squeezed my eyes shut tight and thanked God for.  Suddenly the big 2-9 wasn’t so scary, because the leap into the chapter I’ve always shuddered at wasn’t being written alone anymore.  There he was to shop the farmer’s market with and softly kiss (and not-so-softly kiss) and dream with and laugh with and maybe-one-day-when-I-was-enough love with.

But I, true to form, leapt when I should’ve tip-toed.

So after a conversation dissolving in choked back tears on my end and silence on his, with a big, fat, thick cloud of ache sitting squarely on my shoulders, and chest, and back, I got in the shower to scrub all the red out of my face.  Dried off, buttoned-up, and on the road home for a fancy dinner to celebrate a new year of my life.

 
Happy Birthday.

 
And there that fat cloud sat, pressing in and pressing on… a fog the serrated cake knife couldn’t have sawed through.

And I’m not alone, and I’m not unique, and ultimately it will be okay.

The next day, with eyes almost sealed shut, I woke up to sunshine… and another party on the docket.
All I wanted was to stay under the covers with the lights off and water what was rotting.

Albeit cracked, but curled & cuffed, I sat for hours under rustling leaves with loves all around me … there was sugar in our tummies and even sweeter giggles in the air, flowers & thoughtful gifts & penned cards I read later, alone, that called out the hurt, but stayed thankful for the life. My life.

And life is for the living, not the rotting.

Before our perfect picnic, I wasted a few frozen minutes wandering aimlessly through a gift store nearby, thumbing through the love-laden cards I’d already sent him and the ones I never will.  I rounded the corner to a shelf of oddities and jammed a prismatic kid’s kaleidoscope firmly against my right eye.

I stood, very much an adult, with a child’s toy smushed into my face, facing the sun.

And as I stood toward their glass doors, the bits of glitter and shards of sparkle gently, slowly, passed over the lens.
Explosions of color and shape and pattern lazily formed and fell away and regrouped anew… new colors, new shapes, new patterns.

Tiny bits.

Where would the glory be in one full marble passing by the eye-piece?

…one intact blue marble rolling around sure wouldn’t create a handheld fireworks show. Would it?

Stained glass without pieces is just, well, a window.
A mosaic with one tile is more the bathroom floor than a work of art.

Well. Whaddya know?
In a corner gift shop on what should have been a day full of everything that makes the heart full, my heart was broken.
Into tiny bits.

Tiny bits and pieces, and nothing anywhere near whole.

And I’m not alone, and I’m not unique, and ultimately it will be okay.

But while I’m not alone… maybe those little sharp shards are unique… unique to me & my story, just like yours are to you & your story.

What if ‘whole’ wasn’t the point? If ‘happy’ wasn’t the glorious little light show?

Maybe all of our broken parts, and hurts big and small, all of our fallen-apart-hopes, and pains keep gently & slowly passing over the lens of how God sees our life.

Still beautiful.
More beautiful.

When the sun shines through us and the world spins us around, there we are, a handheld fireworks show, much more full & spectacular to behold because we’re in a million pieces, we are each a million different stories, maybe we’re not meant to be whole.

 

 

 

Maybe not whole, but being held together.
Being held together, and maybe becoming something beautiful.

You are not alone. You are unique. And ultimately… it will be okay.