My mind is working overtime these days on the idea of brokenness, change, and the road to freedom, whatever that might mean. Yesterday’s Sabbath had me walking around Barnes and Noble last night, just drinking in the state of the world. I’ve written before how bookstores can overwhelm me, the sheer volume of words, ideas, experiences, and invitations to all manner of mottled behavior and thinking, but last night was different. Most of my life, that sensation of being overwhelmed has been about my own inability to know where I fit into it, what I should do in the midst of endless possibilities. But last night, I simply hurt for the world. For all of us.
There are people in deep pain in my life. And I have to preach on Sunday. Fear is rampant in several good friends, and in my extended family. It is easy to gloss the pain we feel as circumstances, relationships, self-realization, and habitual sin sweep over us day by day. We are good at anesthetizing ourselves, skating by the mirror that holds our condition up to us, begging us to simply turn and look at who and what we are.
Brokenness has been worming its way into my hopper lately. The idea that we are all broken, that we share a common lostness in our hearts, and that much of life is negotiation with that inner knowledge. We know we were born for glory, and we know glory has sort of passed us by. Post Secret is a stunning concept that moves me everytime I think about. All the secrets people send in on these little postcards speak of hearts utterly shattered and people with nowhere to turn soldiering on through “lives of quiet desperation.”
And Jesus said, “The truth will set you free.”
What truth, Jesus? If he was having coffee with me, I’d ask him what he meant. The truthful religious idea? If I believe he is the Christ, is that the truth he means? Or does he mean if I face up to the truth of my life, accept it and live through it, refusing to back away from the truth of myself, my choices, and my desires? The two notions of truth are not mutually exclusive, but they are not the same. Again, the ambiguity of words…truth. The true idea, the idea that describes both perceived and unperceived reality? Or the perceived experience of my own skin, my own life, my own sensory and bodily and mindful life?
I am convinced he means both idea and experience. To face my brokenness is to see truth, but then what? How is facing my brokenness a door to freedom? How is accepting an unprovable idea (unprovable in the sense that science can approach proofs of a thing) the key to existential and experiential freedom?
I’m pretty sure I don’t have an answer to the “how” this all works. But the witness of two thousand years of disciples as well as my own experience is evidence that this change happens and happens everyday for those who decide to open (magic word, that) themselves to who they are, not in a statement of “By God, this is who I am” territory-claiming, but in a statement “Oh, my God, this is who I am.” To acknowledge the deep, fundamental (ugly word, that) lostness that muscles through life determined to find or make an answer to the human dilemma is to finally stand at the door through which mysterious change can occur.
We cannot change our hearts. Our hearts must change.
I have to preach on this Sunday morning…a prayer might be in order….