Originally Posted: Tuesday, November 08, 2005
Mood: not sure
Now Playing: Jars of Clary: Redemption Songs
Topic: Living in the Epic Story
Ragman – reissue : And Other Cries of Faith (Wangerin, Walter)
By Walter Wangerin
Hmmm…so it’s been a while since I’ve posted. Little over a month. How do I do it? Awkward moments have happened. Mainly, I had a man randomly walk up to me while in Walmart and speak Klingon while trying to let me know that Krystals’ mini hamburgers are good. Also, I have convinced a friend that she is awkward but in a good way. I like you, internal dialogs at Starbucks are funny and weird.
Well, this last two weeks have been rough. I am learning. So, here goes. Why is it that I am always so easily turned. So easily led to mistrust and not listening. Business has set in. No winter. So often I long for the winter. For the times of nothing, yet in them I am anxious for the doing. Where is this balance? I hate being real. However, just as in the ‘winter’ seasons (that I have become so familiar with) there is death, also in the business of the others there is death. I must learn to die. I must die in the mornings when I’m tired from the long night of speaking to and counseling guys, learning to be men. I must learn to die to getting my agenda done, and learn to sit. Sitting is good, even when I want to scream and run and get everything done right then. That is where I will see God and find my comfort. It is uncomfortable, but isn’t the uncomfortable where we need comfort the most? Isn’t that the place where we experience it the best? I am experiencing this more, this calling to more commitment that calls me to take part. Convenience is being torn away and commitment is rising up. God save me from convenience.
Silence is hard. I haven’t written. My reason is to let my words be full of life. I’ll explain. We are surrounded by words. Everyday it’s something: talking, signs, books, or any number of other things. Words are everywhere. They have become unspecial. Meaningless. Words have lost their power be a creative form of meaningful expression. How often have you heard the phrase “They are just words.” Teachers and pastors speak hours every week, and yet people’s lives aren’t changed. Could they be leaving with the thought of “they are just words”? Words are meant to foster community through communication. Chuang Tzu said, “The purpose of the word is to convey ideas. When ideas are grasped, the words are forgotten. Where can I find a man who has forgotten words? He is the one I would like to talk to.” Why is there such a big emphasis on learning innovative ways to communicate today? Some of those reading this will even have the thought that these are just words instead of looking for the heart in the words, the truth in them. The word no longer has the power to, by itself, creatively communicate. The word does not communicate and therefore does not create community. How often have we been in situations where there was a pause and it felt awkward. We aren’t comfortable around people in silence. Something has to be said. Even in our own minds we can’t escape them. How often do we waste our thoughts on playing out how a conversation will go before we actually have it? Conversations in our head. Do we really not say what we mean so much that we have to say it in imaginary situations we make up? We can’t even stand the silence in our own heads. Where does this fear of silence come from? If we don’t draw our identity from God (who created silence-therefore it is good)then we won’t be comfortable in that creation. Mainly because we don’t want to feel awkward in front of those from whom our identity flows. Myself included. We must learn to be comfortable with silence. As Nouwen would say, “The word is the instrument of the present world and silence is the mystery of the future world. If a word is to bear fruit it must be spoken from the future world into the present world.” There is something about letting the word of God ‘ferment’ in you and letting it become aged that, just like wine gets better after long periods of being stored up, words become more life-giving. However, as Nouwen says, “All this is true when the silence from which the word comes forth is not emptiness and absence, but fullness and presence, not the human silence of embarrassment, shame, or guilt, but the divine silence in which love rests secure.” One thing I’ve noticed is that I can only be quiet around someone when I am comfortable around them. This is also true of God. When we are secure in Christ, we can be silent (around God and man). Out of the eternal silence God spoke the Word that “created and recreated the world”. “Words can only create communion and thus new life when they embody the silence from which they emerge.” Isaiah 55:11 “my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty”. “A word that bears fruit is a word that emerges from the silence and returns to it. It is a word that reminds us of the silence from which it comes and leads us back to that silence.”
Harder things this weekend. More of my fears surfacing. I hate fear. Why do I want to continue and hang onto it? Why do I want to hang onto my own wants? I know they hurt, but it seems to hurt more to let go. Then I can only run to You. That is what You are calling me to. But You are on the cross, and to run to You means to run to death. I don’t like that. I recognize the lies as lies, but they seem so real and so strong that they can play the part of truth if I’ll let them. Do I really not trust God’s heart for me as much as I am writing here and now? I think so. I pray not. Let me trust Your heart now. I need to know that Your heart is better for me then I believe it is. Psalm 121, You look over me. You protect and watch over me through the night. Your heart is good for me. I hate how things are so unconstant. I don’t really like to sing “You give and take away, My heart will choose to say, Blessed be Your name.” Then I have to follow through with it and I know what it means enough to also know that I probably won’t like it. You like to shake the things that we run to instead, and force us to run to You. That’s not fun, that’s death. Even death with You is good. Even death with You is adventure. I hate letting go. But You are constant, and I know that is better.