"Once you found a girl and called her Dulcinea. When you spoke the word an angel seemed to whisper, ‘Dulcinea.’"
This metaphor is one of the most direct and beautiful in all of theatre. The way the Lord pursues and transforms, and sees someone beautiful, where the world and the girl see only a common whore …this show…
Expectation is a hard thing to escape. It seems to be a part of the human experience no matter how much we fight against it. It isn’t hope, because it’s based on a belief of an understandable and predictable reality. And it isn’t dread, because it isn’t necessarily shrouded in fear. It is maybe the thought that one can be maybe even just the slightest bit in control. It is the giant source of disappointment, and one of the hardest parts of the human experience, at least to me.
I used to hope and maybe expect, that when these times would come in my life that I would take them with grace and humility, trusting immediately that God had it covered and taking joy in the struggle. I have turned out to not be the person that I thought I would be, that I hoped I would be, that I expected I would be. Turns out that my first reaction is not to lift my eyes upward in trust but to look outward in pride, inward for protection, and upward in anger.
No, I can’t come to grips with this. I cannot understand who it is that I do not recognize: the woman I thought I’d be or the woman I appear to be now.
This is Friday. This is not the day of the wilderness. Nor is it the day when light breaks forth. This is the day when everything crashes to the ground in a giant unreachable mess. This is the day that feels like it is owned by darkness. I must say that out of all three of these days I am most familiar with wilderness. I can’t say I’ve grown to love it, but I am more familiar with it. Friday though…. how do you grow familiar with a day that breaks you? And it has, thoroughly and inescapably broken me. I see before me the things and events and people who have hurt me and I feel it. But more powerful than these memories, I see me, almost as a second person reflected in a mirror, a person I do not recognize and someone I never wanted to be. I see a person who still does not know how to not be in control gracefully. Someone who has tried to steal control, and who has steared herself into a lonely pit. I see a person who is utterly broken and refuses to be healed.
Friday hurts. Friday finds me sitting here among the shattered remains of everything I thought I knew. Friday finds me looking at a picture of You hanging in the middle of shattered dreams and expectations. Friday finds me standing on a lonely hill and asking You why. Friday finds me looking to my side in anguish and asking You, for one more chance. Friday looks like watching the unthinkable happen. It looks like being slapped in the face. It looks like being betrayed with a kiss. It looks like nails that pierce, hammers that won’t stop pushing, relief that won’t come, jeers that won’t stop, and rejection that confirms fears. Friday looks like looking in the mirror and seeing the mocker. The soldier who wasn’t brave enough to say no. The friend who wasn’t brave enough to say he loves You. The mother who was helpless to reach her child. The leader trying to wash his hands of guilt. The friend who wishes she could have stayed awake to hold Your hand and pray with You. Friday looks like everything we close our eyes to and everything we’re too afraid to willingly relate to. Friday is out of our control.
Friday is a scary place to be, but I wonder if it is just as scary and equally dangerous to pass over. If my expectation were not shattered on Friday I may not know that I need Him on Saturday, and I may not accept Him on Sunday. If my expectations are still whole on Sunday, they compete with His truth for my attention and love. His will always be harder to trust. But it will always be truth. It will never be broken. It will never die or lose the fight, because it was won on Friday.
Jesus didn’t skip over Friday, but made sure we knew it was important to be broken before we could be fixed. That it was ok to not recognize who you are in the dark. That it was going to be ok when you were out of control and your expectations were destroyed. Jesus showed us that it was ok to hurt; that He understood what it felt like to be treated wrongly. That Fridays happen and we can’t run from them. And He showed us that just as He was called “Emmanuel- God with us” at the beginning, He is still “Emmanuel- God with us” on Friday, when we think it is the end.
Stolen from a friend ;]
Something I wrote when I was another person, in another occupation. However, I still see me in there -
“A major source of our stress is that we have invested our emotions in the outcome (whether someone buys from us, say), rather than in the input (the excellence of our work). The irony in this is that we have zero control over our outcomes (such as whether someone comes in the shop or buys something), while we have total control over our inputs (the excellence of our work or who we offer it to).
The craftsman knows that the work is valuable in and of itself. Imagine the craftsman who builds a cabinet, not knowing who will buy it but taking pride in the tight joints, the smoothness of the grain, the way the drawers glide and the doors swing freely. He knows that the work is worthwhile, and gets his satisfaction in the work. If you have had any custom cabinetry made of late, you know that craftsmen who have this attitude are handsomely rewarded, as well.
By focusing purely on the result (closing the sale, say), you are putting out the equivalent of pressboard furniture while ignoring the input (producing excellent work). Indeed, there are only two inputs that can have any effect on your long-term success:
· To do excellent work
· Offer that work to as many people as possible.
To focus on anything else is to focus on things that do not matter, and to beat yourself up for anything other than ignoring those two things is, to use the technical term, just plain nuts. Those two things are the only things we can do to improve our business, and the wonderful thing is, we have TOTAL control over them both.
If those two things are taken care of, you might or might not get a certain outcome, but you will deserve to, and what is more, you will have maintained your sense of worth. Further, success will inevitably follow, for when have you ever heard of someone who a) did excellent work and b) offered it to as many people as possible, and yet did not succeed? It does not happen, and what is more, I submit that over the long term, it cannot happen.”
I’ve heard before that anticipation is better than the actual thing. Whatever it is. Thinking it through I feel like that has been true in my life, not with everything but with a lot of things. Like Christmas Eve, the anticipation of Christmas morning a day filled with family and giving and receiving. A day on the brink of something I look forward to all year. A day of possibilities and no confirmations.
It got me thinking though, why this is the case for so many things? and I unearthed something inside me I didn’t expect.
For me personally, I think that there is no risk or vulnerability in anticipation. But there is in living. Anticipating something is completely, 100% up to me and my brain and what I think is great and what I want to happen, controlled by me. But life isn’t like that. It involves miscommunications, disappointments, vulnerabilities and things that make me out of control. It involves fear. In anticipation we can let ourselves “experience” something the way we would want it to be if we were completely in control of it. But, along with it being safe and self-centered (not as a bad thing necessarily, just literally centered around the self) it is empty.
I think we can let ourselves feel full joy of anticipation but not necessarily full joy of experience. We always have to be on our guard in real experience, for me to get in the way, for you to get in the way, for some random whatever to get in the way, it’s life right? But the problem in this is that we never let ourselves really feel true joy. Joy that takes place in the midst of our insecurities and in the middle of our unknowns. We’re too busy enforcing walls to guard our lack of control that we don’t get to experience the joys outside of those walls. The bad stuff that happens, we get that, not fully still, because there are walls, but it’s almost easier to experience both when you can try to be strong enough to take both.
Just a thought, or a couple. I want to try to let myself experience joy outside of anticipation and maybe even pain outside of expectation. Maybe I’d be able to see who’s really back there behind all those walls…
Doors can’t distinguish between pain and beauty. Close the doors to one you close the door to both. Open them to one…
This was one of the questions in my Bible study today, and it hit me pretty forcefully:
"How would your life change if humility were your dominant characteristic?"
Wow. I don’t think I have ever thought about this before. I have processed through humility and worked with fighting pride before but this just struck me differently. More than that, my answer struck a cord in me I wasn’t expecting.
I don’t consider myself a super prideful person. Over the last couple years I have dealt with it more than usual but I felt, like it was more area specific in my life. But tell me why my answer came suddenly and without counter thought: "I would love people more. And I would act on that love more, instead of just thinking through it and weighing it with my desire to do it."
Wow. Just wow.
I have been examining my life as of lately and my actions more than my intent in any given situation, and I have been very disappointed in finding my intent very high and my action very low. But because my intent is so high, I somehow feel like I have more of a right to judge my fellow man’s actions…and find them wanting on their actions and assume that their intent was low as well. Hypocritical? Absolutely. Shameful? You bet. But true? Sadly yes.
I make this confession because I want it to end. I want to be a person of action, not of intent. Intent means crap, intent doesn’t save anyone or anything but my ego.
When I read through the Bible this issue comes up a ton of action verses impact, and if you notice, the ‘heroes’ of the Bible are all people of action, albeit terrified action (which I’m convinced is some of the purest and most sincere forms of it whilst following Christ), but still action. People of intent are in there too but we might not notice them as much: The man who approached Jesus and told Him that he wanted to follow Him but wait until he could bury his father, and when Jesus said no, follow Me now, he couldn’t give it up. Or the rich man who asked how He could follow Jesus and when told that he needed to sell all of his riches and securities first could not do it. These were men of intent. Everything in their hearts wanted Jesus, but they would not let go of that one thing holding them back. I don’t want to be like that. I have that thing. We all have that thing. Question is, will I let it keep me from following my Savior?
I have been asking God how I can love Him, and how to love His people and what does that mean, and how do I even start? and does it come from me? and if not than how do I find it in Him strong enough for it to motivate me? Out of love and not out of a sense of moral obligation. This may be a big part of my answer, and I needed to hear it.
My older brother received a call at two pm on a Thursday,
That his roommate from college
And best friend from high school;
Overdosed and died,
Last Wednesday night.
My brother is 25 years old.
He missed three days of work, sat at home in the dark,
And cried for the first time in six months.
This is not poetry.
My father is very, very sick.
He sleeps for seven hours,
To build up a half hour of strength,
Just so he can pick me up from school.
He hasn’t been well in over a year.
He prays every night, “Thank you God, for making this happen to me, and not my children.”
I am swallowed in fear,
That soon enough, he will go to bed,
And never wake up.
This is not poetry.
There are thousands of people,
just to have one more day,
In hopes that it will get better.
You people glorify sadness,
and long for your death,
because apparently life,
is just too much of a burden.
Wake up, your ignorance is sickening.
Your life is thousands of times more beautiful,
Than your death will be.