As I look around my circles of friends, many of them involved in the life of the church at Northwest, I can sense good things on the move. Healing is hard to quantify, hard to describe. In my own life, as damaged as it was early on, the movement toward greater stretches of peace and hard work, lesser months of self-obsession and depression…well, it all seemed like pushing so many boulders up hill, Sisyphus work. Sometimes I think of maturing and the acquisition of character in terms of erosion, or sculpture. It is such slow and careful work, the chisel of time and choice tapping away at the edges of rock, so thick in places, eventually revealing the human being underneath. I suppose the eventual revelation of the final form depends on who’s holding the chisel, who’s doing the hammering.
Last week, I faced a mini-crisis about identity, leading, artistry, and a certain affinity with melancholy. One thing I’m sure of: there are many ways of being in the world. Part of my default understanding is that God– infinite in knowledge and wisdom and perspective, knowing how humans would move through the ages with an evolving knowledge of both themselves, their world, and their God–knew that humans would exhibit indescribable and incomprehensible diversity over cultures, generations, continents, and personalities. The ever present tension between the God-image inside us and the sin nature that seeks to destroy shapes our lives, and how we dance in the middle of that tension eventually reveals who we will be. That dance sometimes becomes hard to choreograph, the steps I find myself moving through a bit beyond my abilities. I often say that I’m living out of my comfort zone almost everyday. Last week was a week I sort of wanted to go back to the comfort zone. Beauty and art and my monkish life of writing has so much good in it, but then, just now, God has me moving in a counterpoint line, a rising melody, if you will, that seems foreign to me, a bit out of range. I am mixing my artistic metaphors, I know, but that notion of something in me that belongs to God alone being revealed through something analogous to making art, with God as artist and I am nothing but material…I don’t know how to put it.
Then, this morning, after a rich and full and heart-rending Sunday (for reasons unstated), I wake to find there is healing in the air. Not healing for me, but for others, for people I care about. Not all of them would fess up to it, and there are those in my life I worry about, wondering if healing will ever come. But none of those I care about belong to me, and they will walk as they will walk. Even as I hunker down to study this morning, to begin that searching for the Spirit that comes and goes as He wills, I have a sense of healing being close, on the move, almost like a scent sliding through open skies.
He will not overwhelm…