Saturday, January 9, 2010

The Loss of Living Here

We lose a lot of who we are when we learn to live in this world.

We can’t fully be who we were designed to be here. We teach little ones the ways of the world, and they learn quickly which parts of who they are will not be acceptable here. A lot of it is necessary, but there’s no doubt we all get squashed in order to live here. The truly free will have a hard time here.

We all start off quirky. Some adapt better than others. Some, like me, bow to the gods of status quo and become very likeable to nearly everyone by sacrificing distinctiveness. Lately I’ve been watching my three-year-old niece, who is a lot like me in nearly every way, and wondering what I’ve lost—what she’ll lose.

She is so full of life and energy and excitement. It’s a lot to handle sometimes. So we tell her the rules of living in the world. You can’t be like that, have to be more this, less that. Granted, the manipulative and depraved nature that I know in myself comes out in her and needs to be squelched—in all of us. But so much of our original design gets lost in the fray as we learn to fit, to be accepted, to remain sane, to not get hurt, to pay our bills, to be responsible, to not annoy our aunt.

I mean, I have to tell her the rules. You know, ones like “no excited, non-stop talking before 8 am.” It’s a necessary rule (to protect us both), but I feel a little bit of who she is slipping away when her big smile fades. I don’t know how long she stands by my bed waiting for me to wake up when she stays overnight with me, but when I open my eyes that big smile is there and she’s ready to explode all of who she is on me before I’m quite awake.

But to live here, in this world, we have to tell them who they can and cannot be. We all learned it. Your animated displays of emotion are not going to work out here. The face you make when you’re thinking is going to make your life difficult. Your fondness for incessant hugging is not going to be appreciated here...

The Human World has some universal rules, but there are also different rules for different worlds. Church World. American World. Suburbia World. Disney World. Sometimes it’s hard to know which rules to follow. Which status quo am I aiming for? Weird Portlander? Or proper southerner? Nice church girl? Or unconventional revolutionary? So, we end up just trying to create an identity based on the cues we’ve been given in the world we're in.

Won’t it be beautiful when we’re all finally free of the rules of this world? Free to be who we were created to be without concern for the rules of living far from home? I am moving closer to a taste of that freedom now, but I look forward to the day when I arrive and find out who I am really. And who you are.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

That We May Live

My mother Ease
My father Fear
      they coddle me
      in their bed
      and shower me
      with promises

There, I hover just above life
      Watching, but not living
            and not growing
            and not hurting
            and not loving

Like surfing on the madding crowd
      moving but unmoved
      as they pass me around
But the one who loves me will drop me
      and let me break
      and walk away
      and wait (and ache)
      until I can only crawl to him
      and lay
      prostrate on my face

This is the one who loves
This is the one who loves
       Oh True Father
       I am your daughter

Come, let us return to the LORD. He has torn us to pieces but he will heal us; he has injured us but he will bind up our wounds. After two days he will revive us; on the third day he will restore us, that we may live in his presence. Hosea 6:1-2