This is surreal to be writing this blog. We've left our home, sold or given away all our belongings. We are camping out in my mom's living room until our house sells and we can build a new house. We can't plan the new house until we know how much we'll get for the old one. And why? Because my body just ain't right.
But you know, this is a broken world. And I have a broken body which, incidentally, I seem to have passed on to my children. It's just so strange, watching everything get carried off, sold, given or thrown away. I cannot go in the house - it's fine for everyone else, but not for me. My chest closes, my head gets blurry, my hands shake, so I am a ghost, wandering around the outskirts, peering in windows and doors. When friends help us clean, packing up my clothing and my children's baby photos, I cannot hug them to thank them - I have to stand back from anyone exiting my house. I sit on the porch and list treasured items on craigslist and ebay, watching others bid for what I thought was my life. I see my children's beloved stuffed animals shoved into plastic garbage bags, tagged for destruction. I see their artwork, crumpled up and forgotten on the floor, swept into the dustbin as if no one cared. I hear about what is going on in the house, but I can only hear, never see. I watch others cart off my artwork, pieces into which I poured myself. I wander down the driveway as someone drives away with my pottery wheel, my studio shattered into bits for others. I look at my dog, fur shaved off, almost unrecognizable as my dear long-haired girl. I haunt clearance sales, looking for clothing that I need but cannot keep - everything in our new house will need to be new, so what I buy now is simply transient, entering and passing out of my life so quickly. I am forced out of museums, stores and the library - the smells that others barely notice send shooting pains into my body, causing my eyes to sting and my throat to burn. I live in between - I watch others living their "normal" lives, running in and out of stores, buying things that they keep, eating what they wish.... I feel like I am in the empty white spaces between the drawings.
That is only the hard part. You see, hope springs eternal in those empty white spaces. There is nothing to get in the way of it, so it rushes right through, washing your life, scouring those spaces that never see the light. Hope transforms those empty spaces, showing you how full of life they are. Suddenly you are free to live without boundaries. All those lines that you thought were necessary have been erased. All those pictures of your life that you carry in your head, that script that you follow... it disappears. Now you are free, really free, to follow God. Broken in body, exhausted in spirit, abandoned and beaten down.... years of illness and crushed dreams, day after day fighting for control... and we blindly believe that is freedom. We run from the light yoke and leap into the chasm. And then, as we leap, as we give up completely, as we plummet.... we find that we are soaring, supported, filled, rising, alive! Holy cow. Really? Now that I'm sick, struggling, tired and sore, now is when I have the most hope, the most happiness, the most trust? YES. Now is the time. I really do think of it as living without boundaries. In the worldly sense. We have so many boundaries in this world that we draw around ourselves in the name of freedom, of self, of control, of service, of others. There is, in a sense, a worldly drama constantly playing in which we feel the need to play our part. You know that - you can feel it inside. We've all come to a time when we just wanted to run screaming down the road. But we gather ourselves up and continue.
What if you could escape? What if those boundaries, lines, rules all suddenly vanished?What would you give up to feel free? To truly live without earthly human rules? I do not know what my answer would have been, to speak frankly. I'm pretty sure I'd be too scared to give up everything, to simply walk away. I would draw my own lines - things I could do without along with a list of things that I desperately needed. Would I be able to walk away if given the choice? I have to say no. I would think that it sounded nice, but would not be a practical solution. "Sure in the Bible that guy walks away from Jesus and back to his stuff," I'd say, "but his heart was in the wrong place. I know better! If JESUS asked me to walk away from my stuff, I'd do it of course!" Of course. Of course I would probably not. Not unless He gave me the strength.
So here I am, finding strength in weakness. Auto immune disease, neurological issues, chronic fatigue and pain, multiple chemical sensitivities, allergies. Yet I constantly find reasons to smile. Suddenly I have so many gifts from God! I am closer than ever to my husband - we are enjoying each other's company immensely nowadays. I am seeing the fruit of parenting in my children - watching them deal with this "worldly tragedy" in such a mature manner has been absolutely amazing. I have had the privilege to become closer friends with some splendid people - people who have given of themselves over and over in a practical hands-on manner throughout this ordeal. I have begun to look at things in a new way - realizing that some things (not just things, but events, people, ways in which I invest my time) are not bringing me closer to God. Even some things that always looked like they were, like they must. And I am slowly beginning to walk away from those things, to glide closer to Christ. And to me at least, that is an incredible gift.
And Jesus said to his disciples, "Truly, I say to you, only with difficulty will a rich person enter the kingdom of heaven. Again, I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God. When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished, saying, "Who then can be saved?" But Jesus looked at them and said, "With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible." Then Peter said in reply, "See, we have left everything and followed you. What then will we have? Jesus said to them, "Truly, I say to you, in the new world, when the Son of Man will sit on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children and lands, for my name's sake, will receive a hundredfold and will inherit eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last first.
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