Category Archives: God
“There was a man who had two sons. The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them. “Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living.” Luke 15:11-13
We, the prodigal people, are squandering our earthly inheritance.
After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything. (v 14-16)
When will our hunger leave us desperately longing, even for food fit for pigs?
“When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.’ So he got up and went to his father. (v 17-20a)
When will we come to our senses?
“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. “The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ (v. 20b-21)
There will be a sensational celebration that day!
In our new sensation…
We will see,
shade by shade and color by color,
without presumption or conclusion.
We will hear,
word by word and sound upon sound,
without any hint of assumption.
We will smell,
scent by scent and odor by odor,
without recollection or revulsion.
We will taste,
bitter and sour, salty and sweet,
without hunger or apprehension.
We will touch,
soft and tender, harsh and painful,
without reluctance or anesthetization.
What will I do when I come to my senses? What will you?
For only then will we, the prodigal people,
realize just how far we’ve gone,
and decide it’s time to come home.
The gruesome experience “informed” his art.
The break-in and near death experience, “informed” his life’s course.
The death of her mother by suicide “informed” her field of study.
The assault she survived “informed” her very life.
What happens in our lives in-forms us. What we experience forms us, on the inside.
We say we live in an information age. But… TMI. Overwhelmed. Can’t take it all in. Are we convinced that the more we know, the better off we are? How much do we really know after all we have read? Binge reading that which is designed to catch our eye — the moving target or the sensational headline — is not informing. That’s gorging. Over-consumption. Gluttony.
We can choose to stop and ask:
What has in-formed us? What moment? What word? What person? What experience? These have shaped our perception, our point of view, and our understanding.
What is now in-forming us? What are we allowing in to form our perception, point of view and understanding.
Christine Blasey Ford’s life has been in-formed by her “incident” with Brett Kavanaugh. Not only has she survived it, but she is living out of it. She has addressed the event and its circumstance and called it out. She has let it in-form her, so she can let it inform us. To speak publicly, in such an open forum, about such a traumatic and emotional experience is nothing short of miraculous. Yet, she has denied the experience its opportunity to torment her. Instead, she has turned the tables on it. She is leading our charge.
Forewarned may feel forearmed, and informed may feel like arming, but this is a different battle we’re waging, against an enemy we can’t see who employs weapons we can’t wield. We are being prepared for this battle by One who knows us intimately and is ever-transforming us. One who is constantly shaping, healing, and molding, sculpting, renewing and re-building with gracious, loving hands. With our consent.
Love doesn’t, love never, forces its way in.
Is it possible that all our experiences are redeemable, even when they’re too horrible to imagine or too painful to admit? Give them to me, God says. We can hold them together and make something magnificent. I am love. With me, all things are possible.
What in-forms you?
What is shaping you?
From the inside out?
The lake is glorious. Restful, peaceful, serene. It doesn’t shout, “Come, play with me!” It doesn’t tease, “Lookie what I’m doing.” It doesn’t tempt with rowdy revelers splashing and sailing and fishing. Well, there are quite a few fishing.
No, the Lake at Junaluska just is. It is rest. It is peace. It is serene. It is not a place to get things done. I realized this as I set up my computer facing a window overlooking the lake, and sighed. Ah, now THAT is a view.
Now, don’t get me wrong. It didn’t distract me. More, it called to me. “You are here. Come be with me.”
I had come to spend the week at the lake, catching up on all the things I hadn’t gotten done in the middle of my busy life. The things that needed reading, needed writing, needed sorting, needed attending to, things that I just hadn’t found time for. Now, I had all week for them, but the the Lake said, “Come be with me.” And that invitation is strong.
I had come to be alone, and found solitude.
I had come for quiet, and found silence.
I had come for refuge, and found welcome.
What I didn’t find was space to organize my disheveled self. Rather, there were sights and sounds to be shared. Things to be remembered and recorded. There was activity to be investigated and experienced. There were people to visit with, dogs to pat, birds to listen to, storms to respect and, of course, the Golden Hour to photograph.
But what were any of these things without someone with whom to share?
We are communal beings. In spite of my ready angst about the person too loud at the next table, solo is not a natural state for me. “I just need to tell you, show you, share…” is the constant state of my being. Somehow, the solitary experience is incomplete for me. It vanishes with no one else to know it. Did I really see that? Hear that? Feel that? My testimony alone cannot confirm. I need companionship. Someone to listen, reflect, and appreciate with me the wonders of the world before me and their impact on the world within me.
I guess I’m just not cut from monastic cloth. After but a few hours, I am longing for someone, something, somewhere. My journals are but a meager substitute. It’s the Lake’s fault. It bids be come and walk and talk awhile. Perhaps I am the only one who hears, but I expect not, as the crowds on its pathways testify to its attraction for so many others. It is a wonderful conversational companion.
Sure, stop and rest a bit, the Lake says. But don’t bring what you haven’t gotten done here expecting me to help you do it. I am for reflection, you to yourself. Depart, knowing better what you came for and what you go with. The world needs you back. I send you.
I came to the Lake at its invitation of rest, but I brought work with me instead. On my last day to spend in its embrace, it speaks softly. What you need is who I am.
Go now, and I go with you.