May 7th, birthday gratitude entry:
I’m officially 54!
My first recollection of him was when I was about six or seven years old, living with my Gram. He seemed so kind, gentle, and I felt safe amidst the confusion I had about why neither Mom nor Dad were around. I felt like a burden to Gram, and he provided a Peace which surpassed my understanding. Seeing his picture hanging on the wall in the hall at Gram’s house, I felt less anxious; I could breathe and everything was going to be okay.
I didn’t forget about him, but he became less a part of my everyday in my teens and twenties. Looking back, I can see he never forgot about me.
When I was in my early thirties, it became the right time to start letting the story unpack itself, to try to make sense of the constant ache I felt within my heart. I was like a tangled up ball of yarn. Confusion, chaos. But there he was, helping me slowly unwind, remove the knots, and rewind. I am thankful beyond all my words could express.
Yes, that guy. Him. He proved wise enough to help me look at the story with fresh eyes and a considerate heart and patient enough to wait out my temper tantrums (of which there were many.) He kept saying, “I’m not leaving yer butt” and “this is the way out” (and, damn, if it wasn’t through – I know, right?!)
He’s a different Jesus for me than I’d heard about in some churches. As we’ve built our relationship over these past twenty years, this is what I have gleaned as I learn about his life:
–hang with your friends, do life with them
–life may be shorter than you think so eat the bread, drink the wine
–miracles do happen
–people dig stories so share yours
–speak your truth in humility and gentleness
–sometimes saying nothing is best
–take good care of others, wash their feet
–pray, there is a Higher Power
–surrender, be willing to let go
–sometimes life calls you to sacrifice hugely, stay in faith that this is the way
–forgive, people aren’t aware of what they’re doing
–death is not the end, stay in hope
–relationships are messy, but worth it
The song I picked for Jesus is just so yummy, just so perfectly “us.” OMG, I struggled in self-defeating thought patterns and self-destructive habits. Struggling to think well, his life and love showed me a better way and I am forever grateful and unashamed to tell our story of redemption in my life.
I wrote this poem years ago.
I’ve been hiding behind myself for such a long time now.
Come out, come out, wherever I am,
Take off the mask – but how?
A lifetime of peek-a-boo, of sorting through the lost and found.
I’m just a grand parade,
Screaming in silence and smiling out loud.
I know you see the real Me and it’s time to work it through,
In trembling, and fear, and awe.
Surrender all to you.
But I’m frightened, Abba.
So scared am I!
Afraid I’m gonna die.
My life built on a pile of pebbles.
And I am all a lie.
I’m walking through this tunnel.
It’s darkness all I see.
But way there, in the distance,
And he says: follow me.
I did. I have. By grace, I continue to.
Life is worth the living.
Jesus, I love you.
You. Complete. Me.
Much love & hope,