I had to shut it all down for sleep. Every tweet and facebook status and “this just in” from the TV started to feel like fingers running up and down my body like a dreaded tickle. No not happy chills, just an anxious discomfort.
We just have so much to say, don’t we?
In the dark, I shrugged off the fingers and reached for the comfort of quiet.
Today, I woke to the news, got all the answers, and put myself through Twitter again, but only for a minute because the tickling with goosebumps began again and it interrupts my peace. I always feel so in the middle and as I type that I start to cry because I love you. I love my conservative friends and I love my liberal friends and sometimes neither of you make any sense to me at all, especially when you choose hateful words just because it’s easy. Immediate. You put me in a dark room with the quiet though, so thank you. Because in the quiet is the holy and the only God I’ve known, the One who puts me in the middle and keeps me there because grace is all that makes sense to me.
You may think I mean that I’m neutral, that I don’t have a leg to stand on, that I don’t know who or what to believe and that I’d fall for anything because I’ve got to stand for something, like that song. But you’d be wrong. I’m quieter about what I think but it’s there and it leans more one way than the other and in the dark, it is well, with my soul.
Today I could tell you all about that and try to get you to see it my way, but we both know that we the people are terrible at listening. Oh, we love to cheer each other on if we already hold the same beliefs and values, but if we differ, we’re too stubborn to consider a shift within us that challenges us and asks to take a re-look. We’d rather spout off in front of a bright screen to feel justified and right and best.
I can’t do it.
Even if you are the person who could take in even more words from a screen and consider them and respect them and understand them, you’d probably be skimming them anyway because who has time to really read a post. Very few of us do that anymore.
But I’m here and it’s my turn on a Deeper Family and this only happens once a month. I guess I just wanted to tell you that I’m not going to hold on to anything that I need to let go of to be free, as Sara Groves sings. I mean, I got sober almost three years ago and in all these months I’ve seen, in the dark, that it’s really uncomfortable to let go of so many things that I don’t want to let go of and yet, I’m more free than I’ve ever been. Some of those things have surprised the h-e-double-hockey sticks (that’s Christianese for HELL) out of me. Oh I thought I was so unconditional and non-judgmental and I thought I was so different from all of those self-righteous and arrogant Christians with their foot-stomping and mean-spirited retorts and hateful jokes. But then I have to forgive them and I can’t but in the dark with no screens I at least have a shot at it.
We Christian people are probably both listening to the same kind of music this morning (well, a very few of us anyway, since I’m a fan of not a whole lot of Christian music, please forgive) and we both think it applies to our beliefs about things like elections. Like it’s speaking straight to us from God about our opposite views. Whichever person won and whether it was a yes or no on constitutional amendments we’d both be all, MY God is still in charge.
That’s the truth, right? Isn’t that proof that so much is a mystery and we don’t know very much and if we think we understand the Bible (and all of its original Greek language and context and timing in history) or have more of a connection with God in the dark, than we should probably stop for a moment and take a deep breath. To trust in only one thing and that is the ridiculous love shown to us by a God-Man after He spent all those years not inserting Himself into politics and also embarrassing Pharisees with His quiet way of not joining them.
The reality, for me, is that there is very little I can be absolutely sure of when I have only my experience. I know you only have yours as well. In the middle places, in the night and in our families, we have so much in common. I wish we shared more of that on screens and out in the world with each other. It isn’t that way, but I wanted to tell you today that I’m in the middle even when I’m not, when my head and heart hurt because of hate. I have to forgive all of us, to be free and then I have to love as ridiculously as humanly possible.
Heather writes at The Extraordinary Ordinary.