A Cloudy Day

I had to leave. I felt so alone in that crowded home. No one knew the ache in my heart. No one even asked.

“I have to go,” I told them, not mentioning where. That wasn’t necessary information. If they knew I was going for a walk, someone might offer to come with, and I wanted to be alone to talk to Jesus.

It was a cloudy day. Raining just barely. A fresh mist falling from the sky. Everything looked so beautifully green. I walked, embracing the rain, giving no thought to my lack of umbrella and, therefore, damp appearance.

And I cried. How could there be so much beauty in the world, when there is so much pain? And my thoughts drew to the ground, beneath the dirt. The seeds had to die for life to give birth. It’s the way things work. People too. I know this is an old truth, but I have to re-learn it every season. These work together – beauty and pain. One does not diminish the other.

“It makes me sad that you are sad,” were the tender words of my emotionally intelligent 7 year old nephew. And in that hurting together, there is the strength of bittersweet beauty that sends our roots deeper.

I walked back to the house to use the bathroom, and say my final goodbyes. I was going to leave, anyway, but then my friend started to play his guitar, and I stayed. We sang our praises to Jesus our King, and my spirit soared above the trees I wished I could climb. ‘Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus. ❤

Like Those Who Built Cathedrals

We went around answering the question, “How would you like to be remembered after you die?” As someone who loved well, someone who risked all, someone who lived unafraid… And my answer surprised them.

I want to live a fearless life filled with love and risk-taking, yes. But I do not long for the memory of me to be glorified or praised. In my death, I do not desire to have your view of me elevated.

I love the story of the people who built those massive gorgeous cathedrals. The ones who never saw the completion of their work in their lifetime, who never received accolades or their names in history books. I want to devote my life to something bigger than me; that I care about more than my reputation.

Unless I am mistakenly assumed to be dead, I won’t be reading my eulogy. And the praise of man won’t mean a thing to me while I am kneeling before the throne of God in Heaven, basking in His beauty.

At my funeral, people can say whatever they want, wear what color they want, and grieve however best serves them. My eulogy can be as simple or complex as the person writing it wants it to be. In the end, what matters is not what people remember about me, but that God gets the glory in my life and death.

The world may never mention my name again, but if people are changed by the love of God through me, that is enough. I need no credit. All I have done or will do that is good, is not of my strength but His.

I want to lay some bricks in the cathedral of His glory, where people may walk in and be in awe, but not in awe of me.

I remember a small part in The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis in which he describes a woman given honor, unbearable beauty, and a grand procession in Heaven…

“Is it? … is it?” I whispered to my guide.
“Not at all,” said he. “It’s someone ye’ll never have heard of…

“She seems to be … well, a person of particular importance?”
“Aye. She is one of the great ones. Ye have heard that fame in this country and fame on Earth are two quite different things.”

I want to be like this woman. You might think I am contradicting myself now. Do I want the glory or not? Yes and No. Yes, eternally, in Heaven with Jesus. Not here.

Phil 3:12-14

12 Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. 13 Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

Other related links to check out:

As a footnote, I just found out the this quote “Well Behaved Women Rarely Make History” wasn’t intended to be used as it is these days. Read more from DesiringGod.org

Also, this poem by C.T. Studd with the ever-applicable lines “Only one life, twill soon be past, Only what’s done for Christ will last.” Read the rest of the poem here.

 

Iconoclastic: reflections on A Grief Observed

I had to look that word up. C.S. Lewis does that to me – makes me look up words. And it’s a good one. Iconoclastic. It means “attacking or ignoring cherished beliefs and long-held traditions, etc.,as being based on error, superstition, or lack of creativity…”

In A Grief Observed, Lewis dives into the necessity of shattering our false ideas about God.

“My idea of God is not a divine idea. It has to be shattered time after time. He shatters it Himself. He is the great iconoclast. Could we not almost say that this shattering is one of the marks of His presence?”

And, of course, the main subject of the book is Lewis’ grieving the death of his wife. Therefore the following relates to the image and ‘cherished beliefs’ we have of people being shattered, particularly of loved ones. He wrestles with the fear of loving the memory of her rather than her herself. He loved her iconoclastic reality.

“All reality is iconoclastic. The earthly beloved, even in this life, incessantly triumphs over your mere idea of her. And you want her to; you want her with all her resistances, all her faults, all her unexpectedness.”

Can I swoon for a second? I want a love like that. Love that cherishes the reality of who you are and not the mere idea of you. To have the freedom to contradict the idea of yourself, and still be loved, and loved even more for being real. ❤ How many of us have lost love for not being “what I thought you were” ? Surely then, we were in love with an idea rather than a person.

If indeed we love people and God rather than our ideas of them, it is a relief when our ideas are shattered. What a relief to be shown where we are wrong! Oh, God, I didn’t know! And now “I have come to misunderstand a little less completely,” (Lewis) What a blessing it is to get that much closer to You by destroying my false ideas about You!

“And all this time I may, once more, be building with cards. And if I am He will once more knock the building flat. He will knock it down as often as proves necessary.”

And at the possibility of being even better understood by his wife after her death, he did not shrink back – confident in her love. 

“For this is one of the miracles of love; it gives – to both, but perhaps especially to the woman – a power of seeing through its own enchantments and yet not being disenchanted.”

And this intimate knowledge and love is what our Savior Jesus Christ possesses for us.

“His love and His knowledge are not distinct from one another, nor from Him.”