To Come Alive
I lie on my back and watch the surface of my tummy ripple like the surface of a pond disturbed. My spirit is weary of sickness, fatigue, tissues, but my body is creating art within me, weaving a baby girl in the secret place. The greatest kind of creative project alive in the darkness: eyelashes, fingernails, cells, molecules–the ultimate mixed media.
Who am I to resent the effort it takes from me, the energy and immune system, the weight gain and the fatigue? The best kind of art requires sacrifice and beauty emerges from long seasons of darkness.
I finished my first Dostoevsky novel this week, Crime and Punishment. A young man commits a senseless murder and is tormented by fear and guilt for the rest of the 500 pages (c’mon, I just totally sold you on it didn’t I?? It’s going on your Christmas list for sure. ;-)). A clever detective knows the young man is the murderer and my favorite scene plays out between the two as the detective tries to convince him to confess.
I see you as one of those men who would stand and smile at their torturer while he cuts their entrails out, if only they have found faith or God. Find it and you will live. You have long needed a change of air. Suffering, too, is a good thing. Suffer! I know you don’t believe in it–but don’t be over-wise; fling yourself straight into life, without deliberation; don’t be afraid–the flood will bring you to the bank and set you safe on your feet again. I know that you don’t believe it, but life, in fact, will bring you through. You will live it down in time. What you need now is fresh air, fresh air, fresh air!”
Ah, friends. Whatever you are going through, fling yourself straight into life without deliberation in hope that He will bring you through the flood to the other side and set you safely on the shore. Even seasons of sickness, suffering, doubt, grief. Who knows what host is watching you on the other side, to see how you handle life’s latest trial? God gave Job no explanation for his testing by fire, but He doubled his blessing on the other side. We don’t always know the reasons, but we ride the flood of his faithfulness, unseen, dark, but by no means absent.
What seems broken might just be bent, what seems an endless tunnel might hide the curve to the light just around the bend. Seek fresher air, confess, repent, give thanks, whatever is appropriate for the moment in hope and faith and love.
And do those things that make you come alive. They are God’s gift to bring hope to the surface. Fling yourself straight into the mess of life. Play music, bake, read, write, create, clean, take pictures, organize, walk in the sunlight, go see a movie, talk to a friend, throw a party, whatever it is that makes you come alive, do it. Today.