Friday, August 27, 2010

On this Journey there will always be change. How will you respond?

Slipping through my fingers all the time, the days my children are growing. They sing with chubby cheeks and have infectious giggles that make my sides ache.
The seriousness of adulthood is crouching at my eldest child’s door, she’s been talking about colleges and scholarships. I can close my eyes and still feel the softness of her baby skin beneath my nose. Sometimes I can still feel her long red hair as I would braid it and watch it as it would bounce as she ran toward waves on the beaches of southern California. She worships now, with nonverbal notes, not the songs of childhood but the ones of eternity, and no, words aren’t necessary. I hear them moving through her like water and I’m in awe.
            Hallie began middle school this year, the fragile infant that I almost lost once. The way I clung to her day and night hoping for health to find her, and now that it has, she’s growing faster and stronger every day, eleven years old and strong. The changes every girl goes through beginning in her body and emotions. It’s a confusing time for us all as we help her navigate this transition. Those big brown eyes staring up at me the way they used to as I would hold her through uncertain nights so long ago. She takes her Jesus breaths now at bed time and we pray together, and I stroke those auburn locks and kiss her forehead and wish her sweet dreams.
            Scott, the rough and tumble boy that laughs so hard he can hardly breathe now a stronger young boy. Knowing when to stand up for something when he knows something’s not right. He tries every day to be strong for us all when he knows that any of us feel sick or weak. I know he’ll be a strong man of faith one day, and lead his family well. His smile is strong and sweet and I can’t help watching him walk into the school each morning and long to be with him still.
            Things are in a constant state of flux, especially when we have children. Balance is the buzzword we throw around in our culture. When I made my trek into the world of Buddhism balance was the way to enlightenment, the place where we find nirvana, the place we see all things pass and accept them fully, a state of mental clarity where we reach oneness with the universe and see the life and death of all living things and see them in their moments.  This takes much effort and the ability to suppress the innate human experience.
            When I see the life of Jesus he doesn’t run from the changes, from the dark or sad things. He is brave and vulnerable, powerful and meek. The full scope of human experience as well as divine existed in him at once, not in segregated calculated responses. I remember the email of a pastor on the subject of Coram Deo, a Latin phrase that means “before the face of God”.
The implication is that a face to face exchange necessitates relationship. A personal exchange that is both intimate and vulnerable.  Jesus came to show us the way. His lived his life before the face of the Father. He interacted with people and circumstances and responded out of a pure human experience. He desires to restore us to our intended state, through Him, to separate us from the darkness of sin and death, of disease and addiction, and show us the face of God so that we can learn to see the truth beyond our circumstances.
He speaks to us about the beginning, about the fall and the history of how things have become the way that they are, how we have become the way that we are. He speaks to us about our personal history, how He has always been with us. How the things we do can’t heal or restore us, only He can. We can’t work our way into his good graces. He tells us how the cross made a way for us to come to Him. He sings over us with promises of our eventual home beyond those things that threaten our lives and legacies. He sends the Holy Spirit to help us navigate our circumstances, and reminds us that we’re never alone.
It’s here, before the face of God, that I can curl up in my vulnerable humanity and find rest and peace. He’s there stroking my hair, singing over me, listening for my laugh and wanting to hear the fears and worries of my day so he can cleanse them from my conscience and give me the strength to begin again tomorrow with mercies made new.
Balance is an inadequate substitute.