It all started when…
I became an adult.
Here I am looking headlong into the face of 40 and am struck with the bold realization that the pesky winds of hurt, of trial, of disappointment have begun to blow through my heart. I know that sounds strange. Why wouldn’t problems exist in life before that? Weren’t there glitches before now? For me? really – no.
Things came easily. Sports, school, circumstances, family, friends – it all sort of hummed along. I was on teams, made varsity, was elected to student council, passed exams, took cool trips, said yes to Jesus, had a decent wardrobe, got a degree and made friends (of the true and long-term variety, even).
This smoothness early on truly isn’t something in which I take pride. Believe me, especially from this perspective – the dry winds blowing and all. To what can I credit for this easy peasy light and easy? A lot had to do with my socio-economic reality, my small city, a secure upbringing – not things I procured or whittled for myself.
In truth, the early part of life came with the transactional boxes checked – rather than an existence of substance or any awareness of a spiritual reality. So what gives? What caused this advent of a dry season or periods of drought peppering the Facebook timeline of my life?
Was it health problems?
Was it bills coming in?
Was it the beginning of marriage?
Was it baby and then another baby?
Was it aging parents?
Was it awareness of my spiritual condition?
It wasn’t any one thing. It was part turning a blind eye to God’s mercy towards me and part relying on my own natural giftings to march through life. Mixing those parts created a cocktail of “fine”-ness.
How are you today?
Blecch. Fine? Tragic is more appropriate. Dry is most accurate.
Which brings me to Drought
Somewhere along the line, things didn’t go the way of the sketched dreams in my 10th grade peechee folder with hearts full of initials and practiced married names written in pretty cursive over and over. Line the reality up to the dream and it’s better to just to say you’re “fine.” And figure out what it all means and what you lost later. Come to grips with it when you’re not putting diapers on a sweet baby, taking out the trash on Tuesdays or scanning allrecipes.com for which covered dish to make for the potluck.
It was a gradual drying, a slow parching that descended on my soul.
But here is the part about drought that Is. Not. Okay.
It’s the part where you get comfy with your dry season. You can become too cozy with it, can’t you?….preferring to stay cuddled up to a grayscale version of your days as opposed to the springtime Technicolor brilliance that is possible. In the process of making expectations realistic, of coming to terms with disappointments, of accepting a plan B.
IN THAT COZINESS WITH DROUGHT…you risk bidding True Life adieu.
doing fine begets
comfort in settling begets
plodding on begets
doubt in Hope begets
a faith crisis.
Who’s responsible for the drought, anyway? Who forgot to water this life-weary heart? How’d it get this way and why is it so hard to find the way to growth, life, health?
Brian McLaren (article here) says that there are low tides and high tides and everything in between in the faith. He says, “If I didn’t care about following Christ, I wouldn’t care so much about being honest, seeking truth, facing reality … I would be more tempted to simply go with the flow, take the easy way, maybe anesthetize my intellectual pain instead of persevering through it toward the truth.”
I’d like to spend a few posts talking through this Advent of a Dry Season.