Saturday, October 23, 2010

October 23rd - A Great Day

What a beautiful day. I mean it. After months and months of rushing from one task/event/commitment to another, we just slowed it down today. It's funny: when you're over-committed, it feels impossible to let go of things and slow down. Until you've finally had enough, then it's easy as pie. You just cancel things and say no.

Anyway... so today... Brody and Ty both had games. Chris and I hung out and enjoyed being together while watching our "Squirt" and "Pork Chop" play ball. No stress whatsoever. Both boys won. We came home to a relatively clean house, laundry done (Thank you Brendan!), hot dogs thawed and ready to grill. Chris and the kids, plus our friend John, played two-hand touch in the front yard. I stretched out on the porch swing and propped my feet up on the chain. The wind was blowing just enough to keep us cool and push the swing. I talked to my cousin Brad for a little bit.

After a late lunch, I took a nap while the boys watched LSU and Auburn play and the girls hung out. After a lovely nap, (my first in months) I made homemade strawberry milkshakes for supper, cause I'm cool like that.

We looked at old scrapbooks and sat in the floor laughing. We teased and hugged and talked. At one point I watched Brody go get Gracie a housecoat because he noticed she was cold.

It was so nice... no, nice is not the right word, ... it was healing. Too much responsibility can suck the life right out of a family. Every once in a while, you need to not answer the phone, turn off Facebook and just hang out. I am so glad we did.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Thinking, Blinking and Humanity

I just watched an episode of This American Life on Netflix. TAL has been a radio show on NPR for a really long time and a few years ago Showtime made it a series. Alas, it only lasted 2 seasons. But I digress...

The episode I watched is called Escape. It was about a guy named Mike who has a muscular disorder to the point that he is completely deformed. He cannot speak, swallow, move. He can click a button with his thumb to type and he can blink and move his eyebrows. He is 27 years old and living at home with his mother.

Mike has perfect mental capabilities. He writes, jokes, curses, and is sarcastic. He just wants to be happy. When asked who he would choose to be his voice, instead of the stilted computer generated one, he answered "Either Johnny Depp or Edward Norton because they are both complete badasses."

When he said it, I felt kinda sorry for him actually. He was just so pitifully not either of those guys. But then to my complete surprise, Ira Glass says that from that point on in the show, all of Mike's emails and answers would be read by... Johnny Depp. And they were. From there on out, whenever Mike spoke it was with the voice of Johnny Depp.

I was really surprised at the effect this had on me. I immediately gave Mike's intelligence more credit. He seemed more human and tangible to me. His words seemed deeper and more eloquent. I don't think it had as much to do with it being Johnny Depp's voice (although it didn't hurt... I'm just sayin') as much as it was just a "normal" voice.

I wonder if Chris' dad feels that way having to use a servox. I wonder how many people in the world feel that way.

Mike has a girlfriend. An intelligent, non-handicapped girlfriend. People think she's crazy or perverse. I cringed when they introduced her. But after a while, I realized that she sees into him. She looks beyond his appearance and into his eyes and sees something that others don't see. I wonder if I could do that.

I have no conclusion to these thoughts. I just wanted to get them out of my head and maybe send them out into the great unknown. Maybe someone else will pick up my thoughts where I left off.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Define Iconoclast

I've been reading C.S. Lewis today. Thus my superior language skills in this post.

I like the movie Then She Found Me. There is a scene when Helen Hunt's character is having a crisis of faith and her mother tells her, "Maybe God is not who you thought he was. Maybe he's difficult. Awful. Complicated."

To some that may sound sacrilegious. But to me it sounds convicting. Lewis says that God is the Great Iconoclast. He says, "My idea of God is not a divine idea. It has to be shattered time after time. He shatters it Himself." I have varying ideas of who God is or who I want him to be. (I'm working as a church planter: thus, God wants to make this whole church planting thing fun. I love my husband: God will give my husband great tenderness and affection for me at all times.)

And when God does not meet my expectations. When my husband is busy or my mother dies or there is pain in church community, my perception of who God is will be shattered.

I had a friend tell me once after a semi-traumatic event, "Maybe you just thought you were trusting God."

There are so many times that I just think that I am trusting God. Like Helen Hunt's character said, "I had faith. I thought God was good." What she really meant was that she thought God was going to do things her way. Or that the only "good" she could see in that moment was what she had the power to envision.

I don't really know if I am saying that I don't have faith or if it's that I don't put my faith in who God really is. I invent who I want Him to be. I exercise faith by clenching my eyes shut and crossing my fingers, hoping and wishing on a star. My faith is stilted. My hope is in a religious idea. I build a temple out of my circumstances.

And when things do not go the way I think they should, or there is pain that seems too much to bear, I feel the foundations of my life begin to tear and I panic. I panic thinking that God has somehow abandoned me or let me down. But the reality is that the tearing and shattering is God revealing Himself to me. I forget that God's presence is associated with fire and thunder and earthquakes.

Lewis says, "God has not been trying an experiment on my faith or love in order to find out their quality. He knew it already. It was I who didn't. ... He always knew that my temple was a house of cards. His only way of making me realize the fact was to knock it down."

Most of the time, I want an easy God. A religious figure. A relic to help me through my day. But God is a furious lover. An independent reality. A complicated Trinity. He shatters in order to shape. He is the Great Iconoclast.