If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. That pretty much sums up where I have been for several weeks now. Externally quiet, using large amounts of energy to keep contained the fire of words and emotions bottled within. To be fairly raw, my anger and passion over the things I see and read, not to mention the voices “sharing” them, has rattled and rocked me. Watching all the rage unleashed has left me, well, raging. Imagine. And I don’t fully understand the heat of my unnerving response. I have spent hours attempting to trace back to the source of such strong emotion. Is it the misrepresentation of the Jesus I very personally call my own? Is my fury more selfish and impure in root – angry because I can’t handle being associated with those using their platform and power as a whip of submission in name of “truth,” “justice” and “Christ?” Or am I angry because I am being made to feel small, less than, if I’m unsure in a cultural sea of brazen certainty?
D. All of thee above
I start to comment or post- typing furious words to…and stop. A hard look in the mirror rarely hides the root, and I am humbled quiet by the glare of my own sinful motivation.
Titus’s instruction is clear – avoid quarrels about the law. While I am always up for a healthy debate – there is no health here online- the atmosphere thick with pride’s cancer, first of all, my own. There is no true debate either. We, the People- I, the person– have reduced ourselves to a sub-par level of discourse- the manifestation of what we watch (and criticize) our leaders doing to one another. All the screaming and desperation and FEAR, bellows big, because here on the Internet it is the loudest who wins, right? Actually No. The poor in Spirit, the meek, the peacemaker – those are my winners. And aren’t we all just aching for a win?
In an anxious fit, I walk away, pack kids and snacks in the car. Escape the “social world” for the actual, functioning, social world. I turn music up loud, roll windows down and October air kisses my face. We meet friends at the park and I squeeze her baby close – inhale the real world of an 18-month-old. We play and attempt to chat amidst pushes on swings and passing out crackers to famished faces. I spin my friend’s daughter and watch her twirl with giggles, her hair in the breeze is real life and I video it in slow motion watching it back again and again. We’re just strands waving in the wind here, God. And I’m not sure if I should pray for You to come dance in the chaos with us, or settle our wayward tangles to order. My soul aches for both – stability and freedom – of which You are, so please be near.
I eat French fries for lunch and sneak chocolate amid afternoon chores. I text my pastor and own up to the struggle, drag my rage into the Light. I meet a friend for coffee, another for dinner – craving the eye contact to combat the deafening volume of the virtual. Looking across the booth into the peace of Jesus through my friend, or laughing along with His unrestrained Joy in my kiddos on the merry-go-round, quiets the angry inferno. But the battle never ceases.
And truly, I have come to a place (possibly just this morning), of gratitude for my small place in this time we find ourselves in. These broken beautiful days in which we live have forced me to dig deep and keep digging. What an incredible gift. In place of rage over injustice or fear, I am inspired to have words to pass on to my kids exhorting them to know and understand integrity, independent thought, democracy, and how their humble voice holds power. The narrow road can be lonely my luvs- no room for the bandwagon- so commit to the long walk and I promise Jesus will meet you there. Being pushed to do the back-breaking work to grow up something worthy to pass on to those under my influence, may be a gift I wasn’t asking for, but a treasure all the more. As a disciple of Jesus, a woman, a thinker, a feeler, a voter, a mom – I am honestly thankful for the reasoning out, the wrestling, the crying, the praying, the seeking- for through it I am uncovering more of who I was created to be, and more of the heart of my Creator. Battered and bruised as I may feel, my resolve for Truth in humility, fearlessness in Christ and love in intentionality has only deepened.
Slowly, painfully, I am still learning – the wrestle and aches, the fight against fear, the dirty sore knees from cultivating a character reflective of Heaven- it’s never a waste. As the swells of anger tempt and continue to pound against my flesh, I choose to believe- a quiet, rooted strength speaks volumes in the kingdom of God. And so I keep praying: Root me deep, Lord. Grow me tall. Stability and Freedom. Thank you- for babies and french fries and for always being near.