Really, Really, Really, Ridiculously Good Gifts

You know those people in your life who are ridiculously good at things?  There are the friends who are super good at writing, the friends who are incredibly smart, the ones who have no problem making friends, the ones who can create anything given the right medium, (and yeah, the ones who are really really really ridiculously good looking).

Well, I have a friend who is awesome at giving.  He is like the Picasso of gifts: Amazingly prolific and one of the greats.  When I say he is a prolific giver, I truly mean it.  I borrowed a movie of his (Jurassic Park) and not only did he drive 20 minutes to bring it to me, he also brought me a cable that would ensure a clearer picture on my TV and a sub-woofer that promised to rattle the martini glasses atop the shelf across the room ( for those of you who question his motives, be assured.  I have discussed with him at length the three years he spent in a monastery as I prepare to set forth on my own adventure of understanding God’s will for my life–there is, shall we say, an understanding of fraternity between us). In this way he reminds me of  the Lord.  BUT he is a human, and as such utterly lacking on his own, save from God’s grace.

It says in the Bible “If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” And “He who did not spare his own son, but gave him up for us all, will he not also along with him graciously give us all things.”

God is the inventor of gifts.  Just take a look around! Creation itself is a gift to all.  And he doesn’t stop there!  He has given us “every good and perfect thing.”  He created us to receive his gifts, His love–which by the way is perfect and amazing and risky.

*time for a minor tangent*

He loved us so much that he not only gave up his only begotten son as a sacrifice for our dinginess, but so much so he couldn’t stand a sham.  No, he values real love so much that he gave us the capacity for choice, risking our turning away.  This is why he leaves the 99 and goes after the 1.  Our authentic love was–and is–bought at a deadly price, and he will go to great lengths for our love.  And what’s more, we don’t deserve this love, it’s a free gift of life, and love and eternity, and happiness, and warmth and goodness, when we deserve hell (and a few taxes too, I suppose).

Who can out give God? Whatever we give to him, he returns to us 100 fold.

And I want to give him everything.  Or at least,I want to want to give him everything. I can be quite passionate about giving God my all, until he actually asks it of me.

‘Oh, so, like, giving you everything means actually waking up at 6 every morning to pray?  It means, like, moving away from the comforts of my home…it means…putting my desires on the alter and, like…killing them…?’

I want to respond to God’s invitation with generosity, like my friend.  When he asks to borrow the Jurassic Park DVD of my life, I want to say: “Yes, and oh also, here this cable and also, here’s this speaker, and, I’ll bring it to you so you don’t have to come to me.”  I don’t want to just stop at enough–my (futile, meager, minuscule) attempt to out-give he who gives abundantly.

A closing thought….What do you think it would look like if we were able to give God one thing in a completely pure and perfect way?  Or if we even tried…

I think I want to sell everything I own.

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The Desert: A Place of Life

My mind has been swirling of late with unrest. So much so that an old filling recently fell out due to grinding of the teeth.  So, it was no surprise to me that after only a few hours of restless sleep, I awoke.  I felt the Lord inviting me to come away from it all and simply be with him.  He lead me to a scripture in Hosea that has been quite meaningful to me.

In this scripture Hosea speaks of a seemingly unloving, punishing God: “I will wall up her way with thorn bushes, she will seek after her lovers but they will not be found by her.”  Eventually, when Gomer realizes that things were much better with her first husband, she returns to him.  There, he leads her out into the desert to “speak lovingly to her.”

This is where I am right now.  I am Gomer, utterly bereft.  And yet I am filled.

I have written before of a feeling I quite often experience; an aura of emptiness, of lack, of ‘without.’  The difference now is that I have hope.  I can see what God is doing in me: purifying me for the mission, seeking my truest heart for himself alone.

I am Gomer brought back.  I am in the desert, but it is a place of life for me.  I am beckoned to behold him, called to cast all away for him, invited into intimacy with the inventor of Love.

And his love burns.

The more I behold him the less I can suffer my old self, and I am ever more aware of the deepness of my lack, of my sin.  This is what has been troubling me of late.  I want to give all to the Lord.  I want to hold nothing back.  Yet how aware I am of my ineptitude.  In a way, I am truly unable to do anything to redress the situation on my own.  I need God’s grace to give anything to him.

He beckons: “come away into the desert with me” but he doesn’t leave me there as carrion for the crows.  No, he makes it a place of life for me.  The Valley of Achor, a door of hope.

Thoughts From a Few Branches

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Sorry to those of you who have read this before.  Below is a post from my Tumblr blog (which I now use primarily as my “inspiration blog” to post things I stumble or tumble upon that make me want to make art) that I wrote several months ago.  I am working on an entry, but oh man does it take energy to sift through the sands of my mind…so I’ll post that one just as soon as I’m able.  But for now:

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Never paint with oils on foam board...I don't care how much cheaper it is than canvas...

When I look up into the sky and see the negative space between the branches of the trees making shapes like Africa—Africa is right outside my window—I think about the time in third grade when there was a solar eclipse.

We made these little boxes to put over our heads so that we could ‘watch’ the Moon pass between the Sun and the Earth without burning our eyes.

All day this amazing thing was happening.

All day we were warned “Don’t look!” and putting boxes over our heads.

I was tempted to glance for a second up into the sky

1. Because I was told not to

and

2. Because if I did go blind, maybe my parents would feel sorry for me and I’d go to a special school for those with ‘special’ needs, and I’d meet and fall in love with a boy who had cancer or juvenile diabetes or something tragic like that and I’d paint him a beautiful picture, and even though I was blind it would be the best work I’d ever done, then he’d die and all I’d have left to remind me of our love would be this painting that I couldn’t see and it would be all romantic and angsty like a Lurlene McDaniel novel

So, I did it.  I peered up to the sky for a brief moment.  I don’t remember it being all that magnificent, but I did do it.

I looked, and I still have this image in my head of a dark circle that looks like a cookie that someone took a bite out of being illuminated from behind like a medieval painting of a saint turned sideways .

I was too scared to look much longer (I didn’t actually want to go blind, I guess), but after that I began to notice something even more amazing happening all around me on the ground!

When I looked at the negative space in the shadows of the trees, instead of the usual organic-leafy shadows that trees tend to leave, there were half moon shadows.

I looked up (in the safety of the shade of the tree) to make sure the leaves hadn’t suddenly sprouted partially eaten snicker-doodles, and back down again, wondering at the awe of creation.

I Don’t Want to Blog…

I don’t want to blog!

(Bear with me):

I have recently done some soul searching and have made a great discovery! It is egregiously wrong for me to call my self “rebellious.” Ok, so maybe it’s not so egregious, if it was indeed so glaringly obvious I wouldn’t have made the mistake in the first place. I’ll say it was archaic of me. By this I mean that this was the outdated* word my parents labeled me with when I wouldn’t acquiesce to their prescribed norms.** I want to interject here that I am in no way PB (parent-bitter, not peanut butter, you nutter). I adore my parental units. To the max. I love ’em! They are awesome and holy, super strong, and wise, not to mention they make for great storage.***  I could go on and on.****

I had to interject with that because I do realize that a lot of my musings can come across in a blame-my-parents-for-my-problems sort of way, and (especially since my parents are probably among my readers) I want to be clear that that’s not what I’m doing. I am trying to get at the root of me. Of my life. Of who I am – with true authenticity (am I sounding Egocentric yet? Um, I prefer the word self-actualized…yeah…) Life is what it is. Unpleasant things need to be faced! Head on! It can’t all be beautiful and blasé.

This brings me back to my point. I am not rebellious, rather, I absolutely thirst for authenticity. I strive for it. I yearn and ache for it. I am wounded for it. It is surprising, that beauty and/or love are not my chief goal, but essentially, I desire authenticity. Yes, I crave beauty. Yes, I am totally and completely ravenous for love. But primarily these are bunk if not for their veracity.

Why the long and winding rant? (Thanks for bearing with me). Because…I don’t want to blog…I don’t want to blog because everyone and their little brother’s best friend’s pet turtle has a blog. And one of the main rules of authenticity is: if everyone else is doing it, DON’T. Ok, so this is actually not true. The not-fully-developed seekerofauthenticity often makes this juvenile mistake, and I find myself doing it all the time. If everyone else is doing it, I. Will. Not. Do. It. Thus, the hesitation to blog.

And yet, here I am!  See!  I’m growing so much already!  I hope you enjoy whatever you call what happens here!

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*Outdated because everyone was ‘rebelling’ in the time of my parents….this was the go-to phrase for anything and everything that swam upstream. “Check out that rebellious salmon…”

**Am I the only one who absolutely cringes when I read the title to WOC’s Basics and Norms document? EVERYTHING inside of me wants to reject whatever is contained on those pages just because of the title! That’s when mature Bekah taps id Bekah on the shoulder and cuts in: “Um, let me take this one, booshka, *adoringly patronizing wink.*

***LOL! See what I did there, I made a joke! I…shup.

****Seriously.