"One felt as if there was an enormous well behind them, filled up with ages of memory and long, slow, steady thinking; but their surface was sparkling with the present: like sun shimmering on the outer leaves of a vast tree, or on the ripples of a very deep lake." – The Two Towers, III, 4 (Lord of the Rings series) J.R. Tolkien
I am envious of those who can walk through this world and seem to glide; effortlessly reaching those common milestones that speak of a 'good' life, either born from one's own fruitful imagination or honestly gained through the blessings and grace of God. One is fragile, easily broken on the mantle of this humanity and the other, eternally supplied and connected unbreakable by the might of this world. I am envious of those who 'just get it' and have found the realization of the fruitlessness of their own means surrendering it all to the vastness and mighty hand of God to provide, provision and direct their steps into the causes and purposes of the Kingdom building that He would have them do.
"I'm so tired of being here, suppressed by all my childish fears….." (Evanescence-My Immortal)
There is a place that no longer holds comfort for me, that no longer effuses in my being a sense of reconnection and refreshment. It once was a pleasant place, where I would wander gardens of effortless beauty and grace. It was a place where things would be clear, where the confusion of this world would fall like drops of rain into the landscape to feed the spongy grass carpet. The familiar feeling of 'arriving' has been replaced by a desperate need to 'depart.'
The surety of my footing is replaced by the fearful tremble of a foot possibly misplaced, the effortless joy that bounded in the chest like a beating heart has been stilled….even shocking it only causes a few meager beats before it stills once more. This is not me…..this is not whom I had been progressing towards in the realization of who God made me to be; yet this place is as familiar as an old worn cloak draped on the shoulders in the rainy days of my past. And that is where the fear comes from…..that it is not a matter of a departure of the comfort, grace and joy that has been a part of my life this six years and so……rather the sudden realization that I have been alone all this time.
It is not a matter of no longer believing in God; there is too much evidence, too much Truth that defies the centuries of effort to erase it and discredit it from the annuals of humanity. It is not a matter of no longer desiring the labeling of 'one of those' that often accompanies those of the faith who move in circles that defy the logic of the brokenness of this life and the evil that haunts our waking dreams. It is simply a matter of being tired; of being wearied deep inside my soul.
Maybe its also the realization that the purpose that I 'thought' God had called me to so many years ago was nothing more than a moment of fantasy…..for myself and not God. Something that I must have concocted in the recesses of my darkness to prove the fallibility of mankind involved in the efforts of God….the destructive and demovtivational methods that man co-opts God's plans and destroys the beauty of believing, the excitement of discipleship and the obedient pleasure of being a follower. Once again I am dismayed by the foolishness of man's church and the purposeless fellowship of gathering in a room of others on a given day of the week to sing songs you don't even think of during the week…..to a God you don't think of the rest of the week…..for reasons that are self-serving as any agenda we have during that week.
It is not the fellowships that I belong to that have developed this feeling; well beyond that, those fellowships have created within me the confusion, the tiring debilitating toss of a mind in the throes of a battle too familiar and too wounding to be resolved. It is not the loss of a part of me that was as necessary as my right hand, as familiar as my steps once were and as desired as the breath I breathe in and out with life-sustaining effortlessness. It is not the continued lack of a job, the disconnection from family…..there is no identifiable source of this problem, yet a problem it would seem to be because I am plopped down in the middle of the path and the motivation of my limbs to regain their vertical position has eked upon the ground to be quickly soaked up by the parched soil.
I am tired…..
I walk into the shadows of what once was and what once could've been; sorrowed by the diseased blight that haunts its once graceful beauty. I walk in the shadow of the light, where once peace and love resided with effortless power to bless and glide those upon the path with grace and joy but now lies abandoned by those who once partook of its thirst-quenching liquid. I have journeyed so long in this life…it would seem….that surely I should be near the end of it now….and yet, the horizon lays forever in the distance….an endless travel on this endless journey.
"… we shouldn't be here at all, if we'd known more about it before we started. But I suppose it's often that way. The brave things in the old tales and songs, Mr. Frodo: adventures, as I used to call them. I used to think that they were things the wonderful folk of the stories went out and looked for, because they wanted them, because they were exciting and life was a bit dull, a kind of a sport, as you might say. But that's not the way of it with the tales that really mattered, or the ones that stay in the mind. Folk seem to have been just landed in them, usually—their paths were laid that way, as you put it. But I expect they had lots of chances, like us, of turning back, and they didn't. And if they had, we shouldn't know, because they'd have been forgotten. We hear about those as just went on—and not all to a good end. You know, coming home, and finding things all right, though not quite the same—like old Mr. Bilbo. But those aren't always the best tales to hear, though they may be the best tales to get landed in! I wonder what sort of a tale we've fallen into? … Beren now, he never thought he was going to get that Silmaril from the Iron Crown in Thangorodrim, and yet he did, and that was a worse place and a blacker danger than ours. But that's a long tale, of course, and goes on past the happiness and into grief and beyond it—and the Silmaril went on and came to Eärendil. And why, sir, I never thought of that before! We've got—you've got some of the light of it in that star-glass that the Lady gave you! Why, to think of it, we're in the same tale still! It's going on. Don't the great tales never end? – Sam Wise, The Two Towers, IV, 8
Where once I thought of the epic tales that would be told, the graceful triumph of God's hand in this place, and the joyful overcoming that would inhabit even here….where once all those feelings wrapped themselves around me like a cozy blanket in the chilly air of the night; I lay shivering in the cold again, the warmth of those foolish dreams robbed of their vitality by the very reality of the situation. Whereas God once used broken people, battered and maimed, to do His will and build His kingdom, He no longer has that need and very possibly the very desire to do so now. The faith has matured beyond its Creator it would seem…..but not all of the faithful have.
Maybe the 'great tale' of God has moved beyond my understanding; yet I still believe. Maybe His decision to use me as a instrument of His kingdom was nothing more than gas bubbling in my stomach begging release; yet I still am consumed by its flame. Maybe He has moved from the broken to the fixable, the weak to those who desire to be strong; yet I trust in His purpose, even here. The maddening contradictions, it would seem, have driven me mad, where the landscape of this place where once I lay hidden to be refreshed and replenished by His love and mercy is dissolved into its real form…..grass too harsh to be comfortable, skies too cloudy to be bright and flowers too mundane to be beautiful anymore.
I do not know….
But even here, I will lift my voice….as broken and hoarse as it may be…..in worship to Him.
Even here, I will crawl along the ground towards the horizon, to honor and obey Him.
Even here…..I proclaim His goodness and love.
Even in the shadow of what once was so familiar and beautiful….