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Saturday, June 17, 2006

Forgiveness

The weather is still and sullen, hot. But this I don't mind. I am troubled by a dull melancholy. Perhaps it's that I cannot sleep. I daily drive myself to exhaustion, and I am weary but not tired. I should be sick, but my diet is too good. That's the key, you know. Nutrition. It's not just fuel. There are 4000 identified phytonutrients - plant chemicals - identified. Each of them is vitamin B, except we don't know what most of them do. But for the illness that they would otherwise have prevented, they're as important as vitamin B. Alas, nutrition does not mollify the soul.

I've always been a cautious fellow. A careful lad, I was. Not from fear, but because it seemed to be a responsibility, a duty. I've diagnosed myself as marginally autistic - but it's just a useful theory. The health benefits of a rational diet just play into that hardwired trait of temperament, of caution. But I'm so sick of myself I can hardly breathe. Hello darkness, my old friend.

And I cannot stop thinking about old pain. A word, a sound, a stray thought, and I'm transported back almost randomly to some petty failure I thought long dead. Only buried, it was. Alive. And grown savage in the dark. The groan of disappointment when my father saw my report card. Like I'd stabbed him in the throat. I guess he got even, though. Yeah, I won't talk about it, but he used to tell us about the family curse, handed from father to son. Thanks, dad. But it ended with me.

Rejoice, always. But how is this possible? The answer of course is that none of this is real. It is the larval stage of an eternal butterfly existence. But caterpillars matter, too. There are no butterflies yet. And I can speak from a fair degree of unwanted experience, that the Comforter that has been promised seems as slow in his coming as the one who did the promising. Yes, I understand apostasy. It's only my autism that saves me. Though He slay me, yet shall I hold fast to my righteousness. Love? That's so very much like rejoicing, don't you think?

I do remember, always, that it can get hotter. There's always more to lose. God has no problem at all taking things away. Guess He thinks it's okay, what with all the wonderful things that are going to happen, someday. Can't wait. So yes, do, do count your blessings. You could be blind. You could be paralyzed. You could be in constant physical agony, and just waiting to die from the pain. Or it could be happening to your parent, your child.

Like the Canaanite woman who begged Jesus do cure her daughter. I came to the Jews, he said. It is not right to take the bread from the children and feed it to the dogs. We rationalize this by supposing it was a test, or a living parable, that her faith might stand as an example. But the fact is that the first answer was, No, I will not cure your child, even though I could.

So that's the universe we live in. And this is the Saviour to whom we look. Sometimes he does hand us scorpions, and calls the pain a lesson. And every mouth is shut. Who can contend with God?

None of this would bother me, except I find no comfort. Where is there a Good Samaritan, if God passes on the far side of the road? How are promises anything other than wishes that we be warm, and filled? Does this Bread of Life have any nutrition that nourishes us now? - in this world?

Ah well. I'm tired. Or is it weary.

The problem is, comfort comes too often only as words. I can think of the words myself.




J

2 comments:

Brent said...

Well, well, an impossible proposition. “Come to me, but go away!” What are words but shadows of real substance? Thoughts you say? No, closer but not quite. When people have offered you words that you could have figured out yourself, they were giving you a gift much more precious than advice or opinion. They were giving you their heart. And is this not what you really want and really need? Did Father not send us His heart, the Word?

"Though He slay me, yet shall I hold fast to my righteousness." Perfect encapsulation of the whole post. Where is the "trust Him" part? Faith is the substance. What is it that you need from God? (A question for you and Father to hash out. Sometimes you need to take your Isaac and blaze the rugged course up the mountain alone.)

You’re the wordsmith, I’m the sword thruster. However, I always give my heart. I've sat on this one for a while. Not knowing what or if I should speak. Obviouly, Father is trying to tell you something, no, get you to someplace. It is more than knowledge that Father is doing here. Maybe transformation? And He always finishes what He starts. Receive His peace.

Jack H said...

What, did *I* write this? Hardly sounds like me at all, does it. I'm usually such a bright spirit. Yes I am too. Then again, poor little me, the saddest little boy in the world.

"They were giving you their heart." Yes, as best they can. But nobody can give a heart - and live. It's words and a touch, eye-contact and a long smile. And the only worth these things have is the trust that they invite. But you can drive a spider mad, by constantly destroying its web. The web becomes more and more irratic, and then the spider dies. The answer to this is the expiriments with drowning mice - just as they give up and stop swimming, rescue them. When they're recovered, put them in water again and they last much longer - it's not greater endurance, it's hope. So which is it? How many families could Job have lost, before he cursed God and died? God's mercy isn't in withholding hardship - it's in the precision of his calculations, to not give us hardship past our endurance. I find no comfort in God the mathematician - that's a great quality for the Grand Architect of the Universe, but it's a cold comfort.

Have I put God in a double-bind? *Hold me - why are you so close?* Well, God is true and I'm a liar, so the fault must lie in me. No mystery there. But this is what I mean by 'words'. When a child falls, you don't only tell him to get up. Sometimes you pick him up and hold him, and dry his tears and comfort him with something other than words.

But I'm not saying anything that everyone hasn't already felt.

I was actually surprised, when I got saved. How could I be saved? I was in my thirties already, and hardly what could be called a normal man. But I managed to humble myself enough to accept the gift. Big of me, I know. I'm just waiting for the latter rains, I suppose. Long dry spell. Feeling parched. Of course. I do recall hearing something about the God who strengthens me. Interesting promise. I wonder if it applies to me? We shall see.



J