Operation: Get Over Myself
Alone, we are damned. On the same note, once I matured enough to start processing life I learned that people can be impossible. Especially the ones I love the most. They go against my plans and force me to refine myself because of their unusual habits, strange smells and unfortunate addictions. And that is what relationship is; getting over yourself and maybe counting to 10 very slowly, deep breaths — because we just cannot believe that she did that,again.
My birthday was just about 2 weeks ago and the dawn of a new year always leaves me writhing with questions. So, it was probably a bad time for me to decide to start reading Job, which offered me a cargo of questions about the character of God and why He has chosen to do the things that He does. Why must we all cycle through seasons of loss, heartbreak, tiptoeing towards the end of life as we know it — only to triumphantly come out the other end, a little pulverized but a little wiser? Do I serve a God that is super into lesson planning, and historically using pain as a way to get those lessons across?
In no way am I walking through tragedy lately, just a bit of refinement which is more uncomfortable than an ill-timed political joke. But, my heart does feel tied to a handful of people that are truly facing their worst nightmares — and what do we make of that? To look at someone you love who has just become so battered and say, “Well, there is probably a lesson in here somewhere.” is brutal and does not promote hope. I would say, “Screw the lesson, I want my mom back.” or “Why would God teach me a lesson by allowing my brother to go into a coma?” Instead, lets go with, “How can I help?” and then a huge hug.
Life will offer many painful days patched up by magically clarifying moments that could have only been orchestrated by a really good God. So, thats what life is — patch — patch — patch. Looking less like a set of 5 trillion count microfiber sheets and more like a moment of sloppy quilting inspiration. But, really, which one is more interesting to look at?
Within my own painful days I am learning a lesson or five. I am still not sure if the pain makes an appearance solely to teach a lesson, but I would be unwise not to juice those lessons either way. In the refinement, we apply those lessons. Or, in my case, very stubbornly put off applying the life-lessons. And then relent.
I find that God has a history of using people to refine me and make me a little bit better. Either that, or I’ll grow a bitter old spinster.
For all of the questions that I have about people and about God, I know one thing to be true: only together are we going to make it through seemingly unsurvivable pain. Together and against all odds with our clashing personalities, we walk away from the end of the world and towards a new life that we will eventually grow into. That togetherness starts with allowing myself to be interrupted by the people around me. As Anne Lamott says,
“When we start to see a damaged person as one of God’s regular old customers, instead of a lost cause, it takes the pressure off everybody. We can loosen our death grip on that person, which usually results in progress for everyone, also known in certain circles as grace.”
Anne Lamott is so good she honestly makes me want to plagiarize.
I hope that this steeps into your heart and permeates the way that you live: that we may allow people, with all of their oddities, to interrupt our lives. That we may join in togetherness that does not look perfect, and that we will cast aside the hopes of looking perfect within it.
That we may trust God, even in His mysterious ways, just as a child would trust, and not one ounce more complicated.