I drove to the lake today because it is SPRING, at last. A part of me felt relieved when I got there. In my spiritual hibernation, when days were short and everything was cold, when I ran from the Living Lord, because everything felt cold, the possibility of a day at the lake seemed like a world away.
I drove to the lake and it was a sing song morning. The trees were growing green, the water was turning turquoise, the geese were zooming across the surface, splashing and honking out ugly hallelujahs.
I think, in this past season of sulking, winter wasn’t the only spell on my soul. For awhile now, I’ve been tuned into every twitch, every moment that makes me run from church, and I’ve grabbed onto them, held them close in defense of my desertion.
And there has been a lot of rickshaw religion, a lot of sermons and subculture summons that have left me feeling bloody and bruised and bitter. But, the problem is, their imperfections have been like dust in my eyes. They’ve been like a thick fog, a rising wall between God and I. And whether or not it’s my fault or theirs doesn’t matter anymore. The veil has sewn itself back together. God and I are not one.
This morning I read from Brennan Manning. He wrote about his meteoric rise to the pulpit, how he became intoxicated with applause and praise. How when it all fell apart, he needed to replace it with something, anything, so he uncorked the bottle and stayed drunk for a long time.
When he hit bottom, hard, he swallowed his ego and pride and one last sip, and then checked into Hazelden Rehab Facility.
As the alcoholic fog lifted, I knew there was only one place to go. I sank down into the center of my soul, grew still, and listened to the Rabbi’s heartbeat.
What is the purpose of this disclosure? For anyone caught up in the oppression of thinking that God works only through saints, it offers a word of encouragement. For those who have fulfilled Jesus’ prophetic word to Peter, “Before the cock crows you will have disowned me three times,” it offers a word of liberation. For those trapped in cynicism, indifference, or despair, it offers a word of hope.
“Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8). The way he related to Peter is the way He relates us. The recovery of passion starts with reappraising the value of the treasure, continues with letting the Great Rabbi hold us against His heart, and comes to fruition in a personal transformation of which we will not even be aware,” – Brennan Manning, The Rabbi’s Heartbeat
I folded up my book and looked back at the lake. Watched the birds catching their breath. Listened to the swishing and crackling of spring swimming and shooting back to life. I realized that seasons all fall under the same Sun and Sky and Moon. That how we feel, what we’re told and how we react doesn’t change a damn thing about Jesus. He is a rock, a stream of love that will never ever go dry.
And even if I can’t move much. Even if my prayer that morning lasted less than a minute. There is a comfort I can take that my fleeing didn’t change his affection towards me. That my momentary fire, dowsed as I drove back home, is the exact opposite of his yearning for me. That he is always there, close as my breath, stubbornly chasing me down in love.
I’m not ready to reclaim this faith yet because the dust, the fog, still hurts my eyes. But I’m getting there, with every slow visitation, He’s wooing me. And it may look different in a million ways than it did before, but that love, that most-important-thing-above-all, is gripped and rooted through and through in my heart.
Little by little, I am feeling it.