The beauty of a wakened and contented soul.
Facing each encounter fresh,
with empty hands,
ready to respond in real time
to what is unfolding.
The goal, the zenith,
the path and the destination.
But what if
the encounter you are facing
is a mess of your own making?
What if, with every good intention,
and with every tool you had at your disposal at the time,
the wrong thing was done
and now the price is being paid?
I walked for years, for decades,
with the sins of my elders strapped securely to my back.
It was not something of which I was aware.
All I could see were the effects,
and I wondered why I was so slow-moving,
why I couldn’t seem to access what I needed,
and why I was having to completely break my own trail
with no ancestors whispering in my ears.
When severely toxic, or hurting,
or however-you-want-to-look-at-it people
spew their poison unrestrained,
it’s like hooking up the lawn sprinkler to napalm.
What should have nurtured the small plants
decimates them instead.
Recovery will be slow.
It will take generations
to grow anything lush on that scorched soil.
Or it would. If not for God.
I bring God into this because I can’t not.
On my own, when faced with a problem
of which I am any part the cause,
my feet stop moving.
I can work all day ceaselessly confronting any sort of issue,
provided it ultimately belongs to someone else.
But when I am even partly at fault –
My instinct is to hunker down in place and wait for it to be over,
wait for something else to be more pressing
so I can focus on anything other than
my own shortcomings.
The only person or being
who can confront me with my own stuff
and not bring my soul grinding to a halt
God is so much kinder than people.
There is no condemnation. No anger.
Only a steady, loving gaze.
Jesus at the well, talking with the “sinful” woman,
her dancing around the issue, him not moving.
Her coming away astonished at the grace –
not bowed in shame and promising herself she will do better,
but singing out about her new freedom
and pointing emphatically back at the freedom-giver.
This is conversion. This is wholeness.
This is striding forward in the light of day
with God-given resolve.
And this is the only way.
Faced with my own mistakes,
my own selfishness and avoidance,
this is the only means by which I can move from here to there,
to a place of freedom to act afresh,
in better faith and knowledge.
I can’t do it. I can’t save myself.
I can’t save anyone else.
But I can be saved.
And in allowing that salvation,
uncomfortable though it may be for a time,
I can release the straps,
set the heavy weight down,
and go water my flowers.