Thursday, March 26, 2009

Lenten 40: in the mist... comes grace

there was a grim silence this morning as i woke. the early morning mist and fog provided a backdrop of mystery. but when i stepped out of the back door and wandered into the dampness, it became eerily calm. the birds were full in song, perched high above in the tree tops, but there song did not match the environment. there was yet to be a showing of the sun, and by the looks of it, there would not be a showing today, at least not this morning. perhaps later.

i walked out into the gray. the farther i would walk, the more my appearance could, potentially, bleed into one with the grayish hues coming down, surrounding me in the midst of the rain. saturated land under foot... moist air above... it was soothing.

and now i reside inside the dryness of this brick building, with plush amenities all around. yet i feel drawn to go back out to the mist. it was in many ways refreshing.

in my current stillness, a collage of music plays softly. a collection of instrumental songs that play like a movie soundtrack, more like a real-life soundtrack. my mind is making pictures. a story is playing out in my mind. it's a story of silence and solitude... of desperation and depression. of coming hope. of grace defined.

on one side is a fast forward reflection of the joyous times, of the good times... the times we all love to remember. on the other side plays slow-motion recaptured moments of disgrace.

the moving pictures are at war. which will win out?

a calm, steady drum beat begins to mount. in my minds eye, out of the mist; out of the gray, comes a shadowy figure. he stands tall, has broad shoulders and walks with confidence. i am burdened. he sees the war within me. with all exposed, poured out as if to be examined by a scientist, he comes closer. he takes my right hand and claims the baggage that i was once holding. the bags are filled with my moments of shame and dishonor... and my moments of despair: temptations given over to sin, my piercing tongue, the loss of a friend, the death of my father... all there, disheveled, disorderly inside of my suitcase.

no words are spoken. but he looks at me. deeply. as if to look directly into my very own soul. i shy away for a second, but his hand lifts my chin. forced eye contact. awkward... that is until i saw his eyes. they were so warm. how did i miss this? he takes it all, the baggage, my baggage, and all of it's contents, and throws it over his shoulder. unexpectedly, i felt no shame.

a sigh of relief. the mist becomes cooler on my face.

he then takes my left hand... and he is opened up to a world of joy. a smile lurks from behind his shadowy self. the happy times, filled with rejoicing and gladness light up his darkened face. he shares in the memories of true happiness with me, just me. again, without saying a word it is as though he fully understands each and every joyful moment, captured in time and space within the confines of my beautiful mind. he takes his hands and lifts them high... lifting up all of the good things found within me. High and lifted up. shining in the light of his glory. the light pierces through the gray mist of the morning. his face now lit up and exposed, i saw a smile... never have i seen such a genuine smile. he then speaks his first words: "we... give... thanks!"

and with that, he lowered his hands, put his hands on my face and softly gave me an assured look of hope and with it grace fell upon me. i felt it. like a warm blanket that covered all of me. the tingling from head to tow remained as he turned and waved. slowly, he heaved my heavy bags on to his shoulders and walked out until there was no line on the horizon. the light followed him, but the mist and gray remained behind.

i felt relief. i felt free.

in my mind i heard the soft melody of a piano playing music filled with raw emotion. and i was reminded of the verse of scripture that says "God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us." [1]

through joy and pain... sunshine and rain... God walks with us. are we aware? do we see and hear? taste and touch?

my mind has now returned to my present reality. i am now compelled to leave the safety of this brick-laden building. ready to head back out into the mist, so that i can experience once more the wonderful, matchless grace of God. raining down upon me.

never forget. never forget.

[1] Acts 17:27

[inspired by the following songs:
Naked Snow - Decoder Ring
Please, Let's Try Again - Linford Detweiler
Failing Eyes - Jeff Johnson
Opus 36 - Dustin O'Halloran
Tuolumne - Eddie Vedder
Iguazu - Gustavo Santaolalla
Coloring Shoes - Explosions In The Sky
Residential Love Song - K.C. Accidental
Mark Jamming - Explosions In The Sky
Treefingers - Radiohead
Matador - Daniel Lanois
Scattered Black and Whites - Elbow
I Am So Much More Me That You Are Perfectly You - Eluvium
Glacial - Hammock
Garrison - Film School
Loosing Games - Explosions In The Sky
Half Time - Mogwai

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