Yesterday he came home for a quick lunch and I plopped down at my end of the table with my mug of soup and the tears rolled like waves.
I can’t help it. From where I sit, all I see is the taut, thin line between me and my neighbors that I thought was erased- but it’s still there.
And I can’t help but pray the line holds.
I’ve written nearly 10,000 words in four days and the more I write, the more depravity rears its ugly head. I can’t beat it back with keystrokes or good neighboring or faking it til I think I’ve made it. With every word that hits the screen or gets scrawled out in marker, I am only more aware of the deep sorrow of the world.
I have spent hours and hours at my picnic table, books stacked high as my head and tried not to watch the couple from across the street have knock down screaming fights in their mama’s front yard. I’ve not let my eyes meet theirs for fear that I’ll be invited into the mess. I’ve taken countless walks around my block, trying to find a scrap of something not offensive to all my senses. And I’ve all but run up empty.
My boys from across the street have grown 2 feet in six months and their stature now towers over my own two boys. The gap is widening between the four of them. They share the same grade in school, but there are more than 2 years of life between them now. And when you’re 13, two years is a whole lot of life. They’ve stopped looking me square in the face and the mama in me is reading all the words not on the wall just yet.
Neighbors are hungry and their roofs leak with every drop of rain and smell of kerosene is already beginning to follow them into the room. Dollars run out before the month does and the gaps between paydays are enough to put a family down and where I live, the work is never ending and the laborers are few.
Here, the chasm between the believers in Jesus and the followers of Jesus is ever widening. You can see it in how many gather together and how few actually scatter to be where Jesus is, outside the church walls.
And today, I can find no blame. I have spent a week in hiding.
How does Jesus write the story of redemption in a place where weeping continues long after the morning has come?
My head knows how, of course, but my heart keeps forgetting the way.
Because my heart just doesn’t want to stretch to hold more of the stuff only heaven can heal.
This week I have longed for the ignorance that used to keep me feeling good about myself. I have pined for that 33 year old me with a house full of babies and nothing but the big, blue skies stretched out across the big open wide. I have let my mind lead my heart all the way into wishing I could back to when life seemed to make sense, where every next step was decided by the powers that be, where my hard work led to open doors and more opportunities to climb further up the ladder to a comfortable, safe life.
I have wanted to be a Jesus believer and a contented gatherer.
This week I have wanted obscurity and Starbucks and a few more dollars at the end of the month. I have wanted a privacy fence eight feet tall and a paved driveway with no holes and a rug in my family room that doesn’t shed seagrass all over my house. I have wished for new shoes and a reason to wear something other than holey jeans and one of my three black shirts. I have dreamed of one job for Thad- one with regular hours and a ministry line item in the budget to pay for ministry expenses.
I have longed for clear cut lines between living and loving and serving.
Every inch of my humanity has longed for those lines.
Lines lie and tell me that I’m okay.
And this week, I’ve just wanted to think I’m okay.
I’m in a season of hard writing and all the junk that has been unearthed in this process has revealed some things about myself that I don’t like to admit.
Like all the stuff I just dumped on you.
I can say I like the blurred lines between myself and my neighbors and my church, but in the fullness of my humanity, I have to tell you that I wrestle to lay down the lines that threaten to splice up and divide and erect walls of so-called rights and unearned privilege in my heart.
Lines communicate But by grace, I would be like you. and that is a lie.
I am like my neighbors, in every hidden way possible.
It is but grace that Jesus has died to save any of us.
And Jesus died not to draw lines in the sand or build walls between Himself and us.
He died to draw a circle ever-widening to hold all that might come begging for grace.