Friday, 27 April 2012

poured out wine and broken bread

It wasn't like I went off to war, but it's like I came back to one.

I think I understand a little better now. Like a washed-out soldier coming back home, I understand the brevity of our belonging in this world, now more than ever. It might sound inane to draw a parallel between a missionary and a marine, but the battle is the same that nothing feels the same anymore. From feeling like a million dollars to being in a million pieces. From moments when all is firm as gold, to moments when life is fleeting like grass. From deep-breaths that are full of dreams, to sighs that filled with surrender. From blessings guised as success, to counting it all as lost. I'm not talking about a noble-fight against injustice or poverty someplace 18-hours away, but the very war within the 18-inches from the head to the heart.

Something about sitting here 30,000 ft above the ground, flying back from the memorial service of a loved one, makes you wonder about life, death, family and legacy. It's a gripping truth to be reminded how fragile our existence really is, and how much of our lives is really under our control. Caged in earthen vessels, slaves to the second-hand, we live as apparitions of the almanac but truth is that we have very little to do with how the big picture unfolds. We aren't the colors on the canvas, and we have no supremacy even over the stroke of the brush. Although there is a deep importance in living intentionally by choice, as opposed to living at the hand of chance- we are not the Painter, but just the picture-frames as sung by the song-writer. The big picture is bigger than us, and all thing seen and unseen find it's rightful place in the Sovereign.



Yet, as a humanity all our futile attempts to find eternal youth, reminds us of the imminent grave that we daily draw closer towards. Like Bob Dylan said we are either being busy born, or busy dying. Sure, we can change the color of our greying hair, conceal the lines on our aging face, and even control the rhythm of our hearts- but in all our feats and in all our strengths, we can't do a single thing about when our number comes up. We can cash in on the force of the wind, but we can't tell it to come or go. We can paint lights in the sky, but we can't draw lines in the sand that confines the ocean. We can walk on the moon, but we can't walk on water. But what I'm most at war with isn't about when we die. You see, the real fight isn't about death. It's about birth. It isn't even really about when we die; it's about where we're born. And even in believing the proverbial truth that where we are born shouldn't determine whether we live or die, I somehow know that truth is yet to be true. Because I was brought into a world of faith, family, favor and waffles. But the tension is the polarity between the world I am in now to the world I belong. To the world where children don't have hands that would hold them through the hard times, or food that would fill them on cold nights. That's the wrestle and the dance; the fight between where I am and where I want to be.

I'd much rather be serving, than waiting or resting or wrestling the angel. It takes much more faith to be here in the waiting, than it took to be in the living amidst the sick and the poor. Yet, I'm trusting a higher purpose through my sense of purposelessness. When my silence is a scream, my tears are prayers to sing, and my words are incomplete, I'm trusting in the big picture that is bigger than me. Sometimes the question is just as important as the answer. That even though I can't know what the future holds, to trust in the One who holds it all. I'm believing in provision that augments the vision, for doors to be carved out of walls. And I'm dreaming even when my dreams feel so far, like a dreamer. I want to lose myself to find what cannot be lost. To be broken like bread and poured out like wine. To exchange my crowns for the cross. Because if it weren't for the higher purpose and higher way, I would be on the next flight out to the sub-Saharan bushes to feed the hungry and father the fatherless. I wasn't the one who was born there, but I sure want to die there. I don't want to live a life that is safe, but one that is spent. A life that is sacrifice, and one that is service. The impetus of a life for the least of these, lived by the words "He isn't safe but He is good".

A day will come when I'll be reunited with all the loved ones I've lost along the way, but until then I'm between worlds. We are between worlds. Until then, we are being painted into a masterpiece. Between the tension and the release, between the breath and the sigh, between the birth and the death.

3 comments:

  1. Thank you for writing this. I spent most of last year in Uganda and have yet to blog since I have gotten home. SO many of your words echo my own heart. I am in the place of wrestling in the waiting and finding it takes much more faith here than there. Thank you for your words. Blessings as you wait and figure out losing yourself here and there. It is such a challenge living between all these worlds.

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  2. Wow, this post is...exactly perfect.
    "When my silence is a scream, my tears are prayers to sing, and my words are incomplete, I'm trusting in the big picture that is bigger than me. Sometimes the question is just as important as the answer."
    and
    "We are between worlds. Until then, we are being painted into a masterpiece. Between the tension and the release, between the breath and the sigh, between the birth and the death."
    So perfect. Thank you for sharing.

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