It can be written in the very stones of our live. Every action, every breath we take, creates a chain reaction that leads from one thing to another, the flow constantly moving. Over time the flow becomes a current, and eventually, a way of life. So what happens when that flow leads us down a path of personal destruction? What happens when the flow pulls us away from those we care about, those who love us, with whom we share this crazy thing called life? How do we continue to fight upstream? Or do we? Do we just ease our way into the current, and surrender to the cold dark underneath?
There is a movie, called “Ink” which does a really wonderful job exploring these questions. Questions, that to some extent, have been on my mind lately.
So what happens when our guilt and shame and fears overcome us? How do we find the Peace that Christ brings? In the middle of the Advent season, I had to make a decision… one that I did not particularly like. One that I had spent some time avoiding making. I knew, as soon as I started another relationship, that there was a good chance it might not last. I was on a journey, the likes of which I’d never been on before, and I wasn’t 100% convinced that trying to lose myself in this relationship would be a good thing. But I wasn’t convinced it would be a bad thing either.
There were many good things that came out of these past few months. I have enjoyed getting to know someone better than I had in the previous 8 years we’d known each other. But in the end the differences were too much. And my journey wasn’t done yet. But I had added to my shame… to my guilt… and to my anger. I wasn’t sure exactly where to go or what to do, but I knew I didn’t want things to stay where they were. Then, by virtue of a friend, the words about returning to the desert were shared with me. And I was faced with a choice… How do I change the flow of the things in my life?
I didn’t have a car wreck, but as I was doing my best to avoid making the decision, it was to some degree made TO me. I wasn’t ready for the decision, but then I got a call, and the conversation turned to what had been bothering me and things were able to be said and shared that shifted the flow. Does that mean that the decision I made was the right one? I don’t know. I know it was the necessary one, for me to get back on the path I needed to be on. But if I’d never gotten off of it, I’d never had to make the decision in the first place. So does that mean that this had to happen to get me to where I am? I have trouble with pre-destination. I don’t believe in it. And I don’t believe that everything happens for a reason. I think there are connections and chain reactions to our lives beyond what we see and understand and I know God moves in our lives day in and day out. But why this? Is it because this is the only choice I left myself? The only way I left myself to seek forgiveness?
We have angels watching over us. They can’t make the decisions for us. They can’t carry the load, relieve the guilt or stop the fear. They come in many shapes and sizes, from our friends, family and total strangers, to things of fire, eyes and wings that need to remind us to “Fear not” in order to hear their message. But at the end of the day, they CAN support us, guide us, and offer helping hands to lead us to where the point of decision is made. The decision is always about sacrifice…and forgiveness. To quote from an Advent article I was sent, that asks us the question, if we are serious about repentance –
“What then shall we do?
So John goes on to describe repentance in very concrete terms. He challenges
them with the idea that repentance is more than just feeling badly about our sins in a
private sort of way. He says there are fruits associated with repentance that should be
evident in the rough and tumble of real life. If we have two coats (a sign of affluence and
material wealth), repentance involves sharing what we have. If we deal with other
people’s money and finances, we need to become more honest and fair. If we are a
soldier fighting for peace or a public servant representing the government, we are to use
our position for the good of others rather than using it to gain more for ourselves.”
The decision is about letting God have a hand in our lives. We still have to face our nightmares, our fears, our self-doubt, our guilt and our shame. But we are NOT alone, even though we face it in many ways, in many forms, in many places. We do it for many reasons….but the best one is always for love.
I don’t know if I’ll have the strength for the fight…
I’m scared to try…
But I know what will happen if I don’t…
and so…I try to find the beat… 1…2…3…4…
…take the first step
…reach out a hand
…say I’m sorry
…accept the accountability, and responsibility
…keep Hope alive…keep Love alive…
Miracles happen… isn’t that what this whole season is still about? You are loved. I am loved. We are loved. It’s never too late.