Thursday, October 12, 2006

I'm thinking something new...

I couldn't get out of bed this morning. It was a combination of staying up too late trying to catch the late version of Project Runway (fell asleep half way in and missed the ending anyway) and just being completely overwhelmed by the enormity of the minutia.

It's been a bugger of a week. Seriously, I can't really explain it to you, but for just a lot of real reasons, things around here have been bad.

Sort of.

But then there is this thing. You've got gray. You've got hopeless. You've got blue and beaten up and depressed and discouraged. Yeah, we've got that. But there is this little trickle of something else. Something sweet. Something lighthearted. I think...

I think it's joy.

God has been whispering to me for a couple of weeks now about the place of joy and what it is and when it shows up and why. It first happened when I was driving and talking to God about things (I worship most freely in my car, by the way...the music so loud it swallows me, the scenery, the speed, the aloneness...seriously, some of the best things have happened with God and me in the car.) But anyway, I was telling Him just how sick of everything I am. It's been a solid year of getting our hopes up over every single little event...every "maybe this will happen and then everything will fall into place..." Literally a year on pins and needles. A year of waiting for the phone to ring, the knock on the door, the MOMENT when my life will just get back to normal. It's a cruel place to live...this hoping...and ultimately being devestatingly disappointed. I recall the day that came when the two weeks had passed. The end of the two weeks where I asked EVERYONE to pray that the house would sell. The two weeks ended and at midnight, like Cinderella, I just fell apart. I felt like I was falling and no one would catch me. I told Robb through sobs that I felt like God and I had broken up.

And yet here I was months later, talking to Him in the car. Asking again, "WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM ME????"

And He answered, which He's been doing sometimes lately..."I want you to be joyful inspite of it all."

I ignored Him. I was so appalled by that that I just ignored Him for a couple of weeks. I thought, "I'm miserable. I know miserable. I can do miserable. I don't know joyful and I'm not really up for trying new things right now."

But He kept at me. Kept whispering to me. It kept coming up in conversations and weird places. And then last Saturday night...at Fellowship...this EVENT took place in my life. I glossed over it in my "weekend post" because it still was too new and I didn't know what to do with it. I'm starting to understand it better now.

Sara Groves has a song that says,

Something changed inside me broke wide open all spilled out
Till I had no doubt that something changed

Never would have believed it till I felt it in my own heart
In the deepest part the healing came

And I cannot make it
And I cannot fake it
And I can't afford it
But it's mine

Something so amazing in a heart so dark and dim
When a wall falls down and the light comes in

And I cannot make it
And I cannot fake it
And I can't afford it
But it's mine


The speaker on Saturday Night talked about how the last five years of his life have been horrible. He was really open and honest and even funny. He's a clinical psychologist and a theologian and his story included cancer, car wrecks, death, loss, fear, depression, betrayal. And yet, he was still joyful.

I've never been stripped down so far as to be joyful before. I always had something...some shred to take comfort in....some crutch to hold me up. That sounds weird, but when you have everything you are not as prone to learn joy....at least I wasn't. Being bereft...staring your own brokenness and sinfulness, your own terror for your own safety and comfort, your striking resemblance to a cat who has been thrown across the room...it is very educational for your soul.

So today, I just gave up. You know how a toddler SCREAMS until they fall asleep? That's me. I might wake up again screaming, but I think I know that He is there to hold me tight and let me wail. I think I have a new theory...I think I'm just ready to admit that life here on earth sucks. That bad things will happen without rhyme or reason and that sometimes despite my best efforts to the contrary, the worst will happen. Some of that is because its just a rotten sinful world and all of it is because God allows it to happen for His own purposes, whatever they might be. I no longer expect good. I don't think I care anymore. I can't fight it. I can't fight the dirt on my floor or strep throat or broken down cars or empty bank accounts or the stinking fly that literally just drowned itself in my cup of hot coffee. It's not true that sh** happens. Sh** is the ruling order. But Joy and Love and Peace, on the other hand, they happen. Inspite of everything. They happen. Like glimpses of order amidst the chaos. Like promises. Like engagement rings and newborn babies and seeds sprouting. Joy happens. Maybe this sounds odd to you, or maybe not quite right theologically...I don't know...I haven't pinned it down yet...It's a weird perspective-change that somehow relaxes me a great deal. I suddenly feel much more optimistic because if life can be miserably hard and draining, but something good could happen at any moment, then that's worth looking forward. That is worth being optimistic about. The other way around, I was always bemoaning the fly in my ointment. Now, all I see is all flies with some occasional ointment. Get it?

So anything good that happens...like a cool fall day with bright sun, like my children laughing, like my wonderful job that amuses me endlessly, like a fresh gallon of milk, like meeting a new friend...WOW they really stand out. They really catch my attention. They are really worth celebrating...like the treasures I find at junque sales. They might be imperfect in the strictest sense of the perfection, but they are still beautiful.

We had some folks visit at Vintage who are Messianic Jews, I think. When leaving the table a few weeks ago, I said, "Goodbye" and he waived and said, "Shalom." It caught me off guard, but I also loved it. Shalom literally is "when everything is as it should be." He literally was saying, "Let everything be as it should be with you." This new perspective on joy...this glimpsing of heaven in the tiniest things...this is part of shalom.

10 comments:

Darla said...

i just read this this morning:

"it is beyond the point when you think you are done that often something strong comes out."

i think this is the very moment you are describing... i think this is hope...

i went thru this very same thing about two weeks ago... i've never had to hope in anything real... so when it comes sneaking up on us, we have no clue what it looks like or what to do with it...

and shalom... wow... i've been thinking about that this week as well... i found this i thought you would think is cool also:

"SHALOM says: completeness, wholeness, health, peace, welfare, safety soundness, tranquility, prosperity, perfectness, fullness, rest, harmony, the absence of agitation or discord.

when you speak out the word SHALOM - you are not only proclaiming peace, but all the above meanings of the word over that person.

therefore, from now on, when someone says SHALOM to you, you should receive it as a tremendous blessing."

the Lord bless you and keep you. the Lord make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you. the Lord lift up His face upon you and give you SHALOM.

love you girl...

ness said...

Micahael Card wrote that (the Aaronic Blessing) into a song. It's the lullaby we sing our children...just lately, Charleigh has been singing it back to us.

Darla said...

"just lately, Charleigh has been singing it back to us." awwww... now that just makes me want to cry... that is way sweet...

Elizabeth said...

Vanessa, thanks for sharing your heart...it really encourages me...it's like that extra bit that I need to hear to remember that I don't have to be defeated by life, or even by my own daily failure.

ness said...

hey beth...i like the new pic! You look so happy!

akr said...

Ok...first of all, I am so glad I am not the only one into project runway! And the michael card devo I get over e-mail. I subscribed to it from his website. I just went to his concert last friday and bought his new album...the hidden face of God...it's awesome and will probably resonate with where you are at. The funny thing is I have a feeling in about a month or two I will be where you are at, especially after moving and the newness wearing off.

bina said...

This is a beautiful post in so many ways. Thank you for putting it into words.

tammi said...

I find your posts so refreshing and encouragin - even amid the sh**t that seems to rule your life right now. You lift me up. Thanks for opening up the intimate details of your life and spiritual journey with...well, anyone to read. Even "blog stalkers" such as myself.

Oh, and I have to ask: Is "junqe" an antiquer's word? You know...like most stuff on the side of a road is junk to most people, until an antiquer finds it and then it becomes "junqe" or "antique" that results in large auction/ebay sales for the finder? :)
What a great skill to have...

ness said...

yes, there's a lingo:

junque: stuff most people throw away that I make money on.

vintage: anything between 99 years ago and the 1980's.

antique: I'm very strict in my use of this word...must be actually 100 years old before I'll tack it on.

Junking: shopping

and my all time favorite

Sally's or Sally's Boutique: The Salvation Army

***tammi...I'm glad my whining and complaining is meaningful. It makes it much easier to justify to my husband : )


But Seriously, I'm glad. It makes it worth it to be going through it.

tammi said...

SO glad you cleared up the "lingo" for me. Now I feel a lot smarter about what's really "antique", "vintage" and the neighbor's crappy dining room table that they're trying to sell at a yard sale.

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