Once… (a Holy Saturday meditation)

Once, I walked on water.

Once...
Once…

 

Once, I looked into his laughing eyes while I put one naked foot after the other on the shifting surface of a stormy sea. But yesterday…

…his eyes were filled with pain. The pain of disappointment, “Why couldn’t you stay awake with me, especially tonight, Simon?” The pain of a thousand crushing voices screaming, “Crucify him!” The pain of betrayal, “I don’t know him. Never saw him before. You lie! I’m not with him.” The pain of separation, “Take care of her, John.”

 

Once, I felt his hands (made strong with helping his dad build and repair tables for all those years) pluck me from raging waters that grabbed at me, threatening to overwhelm. Hands whose only violent act had been to rebuke blasphemous dogs who took advantage of the faithful poor. Hands that healed and blessed and fed. Hands that reached out to restore what my one poorly aimed blow so foolishly cut away. Once I watched his hands break the unleavened bread, offer the cup to Judas. But yesterday…
…those hands were pierced and bleeding, convulsed in agony. I watched hands I love strain in anguish against iron spikes, despite mangled muscle and torn tendon.

 

Once, I heard his voice, calling to me over the wind and the waves, laughing as he shouted the name he’d given me. “Rock!” And then chiding me, like I was a little boy, for being afraid when he was right there with me the whole time. The voice that stopped the wind and the waves and soothed the crying babes placed in his always open arms. But yesterday…
…his voice cried out in misery as nails were driven through his wrists, and then that voice spoke words of forgiveness to his enemies, to those who betrayed him, and to those of us who said we loved him and would never leave him, but were too afraid to stand with him. And I heard his voice cry out to his Father. Our Father. “Abba, Abba…”

 

Once, I couldn’t wait to get out of the boat. Nothing could have stopped me from stepping from the deck to the water. But yesterday…
…I couldn’t wait to get away from the scene of my shame. My bones turned to water at the words of a serving girl. The stones of the courtyard might as well have been waves as the eyes that witnessed my shame rolled over me like a flood.
…Friday, no matter where I ran, or from whom I turned, my flight put me on the hill overlooking the place of execution. I saw it all. I heard it all. The darkness and the weeping. The jeers and the awe.

 

Yesterday, when I heard that cock crow, I knew nothing would ever be right again.

 

But once…

 

Click to hear an audio version:

Where do I want to live?

Where do I want to live?

A post from a couple of years ago that I re-read recently. It still says what I want to say. It’s good to go back, I think, and revisit ideas, contemplate them and learn new lessons. I’m making a lot of progress in the area of my physical health since originally posting this.

Living in the City of God
Living in the City of God

Recent events have caused me to ask myself, “How and Where do I want to live for the next decades of the rest of my life?”

The How (Physical) I am turning 50 this year. My recent physical shows an uptick in all my numbers. And I don’t mean in a good way. My doctor, a mild mannered and non-scolding type, told me that even though he understands how I got here, I’ve got to get a handle on this now. I can no longer fool myself into thinking that ‘once this stressor is taken care of’ I’ll be able to deal with my weight, my blood sugar, my blood pressure and my cholesterol. One thing I’ve learned in the past 5 years is that there’s always another stress inducing issue just around the corner.

It’s true that all of my physical issues are exacerbated by stress, but mostly my own laziness is to blame. I’ve always hated to sweat. As far back as I can remember I would rather sit and read than kick a ball. When choosing food, I’d rather have fried than fresh. My sweet tooth has always been out of control. I can remember getting sick as a child from too much candy on multiple occasions. And I like to bake. Breads, pies, sweets, you name it, I’ll bake it. And eat it.

But I want to live a long time with my sweetheart. I’m in no hurry to leave here for the next life. I hope for a long autumn before winter. So I have some work to do. I can no longer blame my laziness, or my sweet tooth. I’m smarter than this. Old habits and thought patterns are hard to break. I have to believe that I’m up for this challenge.

The How (Spiritual) This one’s a struggle. Personal devotion to Jesus Christ has to be the cornerstone of my life. But I struggle with getting this right. And that’s a part of my issue. Perfectionism. If I sense that I might not ‘get it right’, well then, better to not try, right? I referred to my laziness. Trying and doing is sweating. How much easier to think about and dream about doing. But this needs to change, too. I have too long lived in a way that allows me to ignore my own, personal spiritual walk in favor of focusing on what others were doing or not doing in theirs. And this has added to my own stress and the breakdown of my body.

The Where (Physical) I dream of living in another place. I’d love to live in Leavenworth (Washington) all year around. But our kids have family and friends besides us living here in their hometown. Leavenworth is another 3 hours to travel whenever they’re able to come home. It’s not practical to think that Scotte and I can leave all behind, church, family and friends to live in a town where neither of us have any connections. We both grew up here and here is all we really know. Spokane is a great place to live, but sometimes in my restlessness, I forget that.
I need to focus on living here, contentedly.
And commit to visiting Leavenworth, frequently.

The Where (Spiritual) The City of God. Two recent articles (one in World Magazine and one in Condé Nast Traveler) were both entitled similarly with this phrase leaping out at me. The City of God is where I live with my Lord, loving Him and working for Him, and enjoying Him. The beauty of the Gospel is that this City already exists and I am invited to live there with Him starting yesterday. It’s only my old self, with my old habits and thought life that keeps me outside the gate today. And why do I want to listen to her anyway? Where has she gotten me?

And so here I am, on the verge of the second half of my life. Getting serious about living this half better than I lived my second half. Where this will take me, who can tell?