Can I love someone so drastically different from me–not in race or the color of their skin, but in thought, act and word? Can I accept someone who is the polar opposite of myself as my neighbor, willing to open my front door to them and to go knock on their door when I have to?
In my search for authenticity as a Christ-follower, this is the ax that hangs over my head all the time.
My oldest son was sick last week. So perhaps he was feeling a bit clingy, you know, as a residual effect of his bad bout with the stomach flu. And needy. Which would explain why the preteen boy that he is climbed into my bed last night and sat beside me, propped against the pillows, just listening to his iPod. I had planned on spending time with Tom Clancy, but figured the rare moment was too good to miss. I had an agenda, and my target audience looked like he was willing to listen.
So I grabbed my laptop. And pulled up youtube clips of Jeremy Lin and the Knicks. And although my boy is more interested in soccer and football, he did enjoy the after-the-fact excitement of every assist executed and every basket made. We cheered together–rather belatedly but no less enthusiastically. At the precise moment I was sure the boy had become a fan, I switched over to a video of the basketball star speaking about how his identity wasn’t found in basketball. It was found in Jesus.
Zing! I tried to be casual about it, but I was hoping for a home run. Or a three-point shot, as we are talking about basketball. My struggling-with-peer-pressure son needed to hear what Lin had to say–that as good as a Harvard education and a great career in pro sports are, it would all mean nothing without God. Lin was living this truth, I prayed my son would too.
Authenticity in my claim to be a Christ-follower. It is why I am moving in the direction I am, and why I keep walking that way, even when it’s not what I want.
And things continue to get shaken up in my household.
I have said it to the hubby, and I might as well say it here: there is no way one can sit under genuine biblical teaching and ignore the promptings to action afterward. As it is, and with no credit to ourselves, the hubby and I are moving toward a life that will probably get messier as the months go by. A lot of it is turning away from the politics, and the insistence on the way we think life should be, and toward embracing the ugly and living to be a part of the greater story that seeks redemption in the places the church has written off. But won’t stop speaking against.
See, I have always had this deep desire to get my hands dirty. After all, Jeremiah has become my favorite prophet and artists standing on social justice platforms occupy my playlists. But some months back, and for the longest time before that, I always felt like I was going against the norm, like I was always pushing against the tide. And I got tired so often.
It’s different these days, however. Somehow, grace has made it so that I am always reminded that getting into the messy life is what really is expected of me. And against the backdrop of the past, I find so much comfort, and challenge, in that.
Last week, after several suggestions from the hubby, and a service opportunity announcement in our church bulletin, I decided to attend an orientation for a not-for-profit organization that exists to bring light into a chaos that has drawn and repelled me at the same time. While I always believed I had sympathy for the women and men who found themselves in this particular turmoil, I always wondered how I would react toward those who have committed what I consider to be one of the worst evidences of human selfishness ever. I knew there would be some compassion mixed in with my disgust, but I didn’t know if I had enough of my Father’s love in me to let that compassion rule over my feelings. I didn’t know if I had enough of my Father in me to look beyond my own self and see another who is just as loved as I am.
But then again, the Great Author has a way of keeping things in perspective.
My youngest son was with us when the hubby dropped me off at the orientation venue.
“Mommy, are you going for an interview? To make a living?”
His father responded, “No, Mommy is volunteering, not to make a living, but to be living.”
I’m not quite sure the boy understood, but I’m not quite sure the words were for his sake either. I think it was more for me, to hear from another person what I keep claiming I wanted to happen in my life. And while I readily admit I’m still not sure how my story fits into this organization’s currently unfolding chapter, I have signed up for more training under their tutelage. It was the least that I could do–while I didn’t get a blueprint as to what comes next, I keep getting a prompting to stay on this path despite my reservations.
And now, how do I end this post? Because I have no idea as to what comes next, I don’t know what to say now. But, as a wise man once said, each act we do doesn’t have to explain the whole story– it’s only a bit in the bigger picture. And this is just like that. In this search for authenticity, the last word is always a post away.