[This post is straight from yesterday's Raw entry. A friend wrote to say it touched her and I should post it on my real blog].
I haven’t written here in a few days. I think I do that sometimes when stuff is going on in my life that isn’t Raw sharable. You know, family stuff or personal matters that don’t need to be shared online. Which, I suppose, is the big difference between Raw and my journal.
This morning Jesus was talking about end times, which is one of my least favorite sections. I’m sorry, God. It just is. But once again, I loved this part of a poem by Hafiz called “Wanting our life to make sense.”
All day long you do this, and then even in your
sleep. . . pan for gold.
We are looking to find something to celebrate
with great enthusiasm,
wanting all our battles and toil and our life to
So, so true. And I am one of those gold-panners, sifting every experience, every thing I read, what other say… for that nugget of truth that might buy me some wisdom or help me on my way somehow.
But of course, at the same time, I am not content just to pile up the nuggets somewhere in my head or heart, I want them all to fit together like an expensive lego structure so that it will all make sense–something about the symmetry and timing and truth of my life will add up to Meaning with a capital M.
Why is it some of us are so bent on Meaning and other people are content just to live and be and accept what comes or else label it good or bad, but have no need to think much beyond that? Why do some of us hanker for mystery only to stomp our feet when it doesn’t pan out in a way that helps us?
This poem piece dovetailed really well with what I read in Frederick Buechner’s reflections today too. He was talking about a prof he once had, James Mullenberg, but I was interested in the ideas:
“‘Every morning when you wake up,’ he used to say, ‘before you reaffirm your faith in the majesty of a loving God, before you say I believe for another day, read the Daily News with its record of the latest crimes and tragedies of mankind and then see if you can honestly say it again.’
“He was a fool in the sense that he didn’t or wouldn’t or couldn’t resolve, intellectualize, evade, the tensions of his faith but lived those tensions out, torn almost in two by them at times. His faith was not a seamless garment but a ragged garment with the seams showing, the tears showing, a garment that he clutched about him like a man in a storm.”
I love this. And I so relate to that feeling of wearing a faith that has so many holes and is so poorly made that it feels at times embarrassing. And yet, you couldn’t rip it off my body or take it away from me for the world. It is all I have to clothe me some days, this tattered silly faith in a God who won’t make the world make sense or give it concrete, permanent Meaning, but who insists that I love it and him anyway.
I’m very aware of things not making sense today, of the injustices of the world, of the unfairness of things—all my blessings and all those blessings that people I love don’t have. And the blessings aren’t transferable. They aren’t material, but relational and spiritual and circumstantial. Which is part of the problem with being rich with the kind of gold that isn’t salable—you can’t give it to others even when you want to. It belongs to you in a way that allows you to bless others from some of the profit, but it can’t be handed over.
Here, take this. Let’s trade lives and I will live yours for a while and you can live mine and I’ll suffer for your problems and you can have mine—which are so much less of a burden than yours! If only we really could bring each other relief that way, when someone is having a hard life we could say, “I’ll trade you for a week!”
But our life is the one thing we can’t really and truly ever give away. We can “lose” it and sacrifice for others or and lay it down in service, but we can’t exchange souls like a house swap.
I read a beautiful blog this morning about being grateful for little things like birds, and it reminded me that I have dropped my gratitudes list on the blog. I need to just take it down. Maybe lists just aren’t my style, maybe gratitude happens here in Raw more naturally.
Today I am grateful for this: My husband’s smile and how when I stood at the bathroom door this morning talking to him about a favor I need him to do—mail some books to an author—he suddenly turned and kissed me with shaving cream all over his face—and now mine.
A shaving cream kiss. This is a big thing. This is a gold nugget. This makes sense.