Sunday, July 19, 2009
The Phone Call
I'm probably getting too personal here for a 'blog'.
I've been thinking about something I heard this week, the subject of: the unexpected phone call, or a knock on the door, and how our paths can become unbearable, intolerable, grim and hopeless. We're all just one phone call away from disaster, when the sudden heaviness in the air begins to suffocate you, and your path grows dark and blurred. Like my picture here, a beautiful walk in the woods in Plano, Texas, can turn fuzzy and dark and evil - quick.
Life is short, really short. These past 2 weeks were tough for me. Much tougher for others. "I" don't matter in this story, but I have concerns about myself, and where I stand on one particular issue: getting the phone call.
On Thursday a boy died - 8yrs old - of cancer. On Sunday afternoon, a boy died - 25yrs old - a motorcycle accident. Both families known to us. Not close friends of mine - just acquaintances - but the events of both mushroomed through my friends and family. Everyone close to me, knew one or the other and some were very close. Connor and Tripp. These tragic stories keep popping up - everyday. It's the world we live in. It's always been this way. Only to some, these 'tragic' stories are true "victories" - because of attitudes.
Here's my dilemma: I don't have that attitude - the attitude that wins during tragedy. I had just finished reading a book called "The Shack" - before either of these boys died a cruel and unjust death. The book is about life & death - tragic death, but more about God, and our insatiable questions of "WHY ME?"
Amazingly, the parents and the siblings of these two boys, are ok. Better than ok. They are at peace beyond anything you can describe. It's because of their relationship with Christ. They're not 'religious' people - their grounded in truth, in Christ. But I'm grounded in Christ too - and I know I would not survive like they are.
So here's the other tough part: It makes me mad, angry, furious. Because I'm so weak.
I wouldn't fare as well - or at all, if this happened to one of mine. I keep asking, "what if I got that phone call? What if I got that knock on the door?" I don't want others to take it in stride - I wouldn't. (I'm not saying it seems easy for anyone - it's not - I know that.) But there's a part of me that wants to lash out, hard and fast and repeatedly. I would go crazy with hate - hatred of everything - and I would go through days, weeks, months, years, asking the age old question: "Why, God? Just give me one good reason why"? I'm afraid I would literally wreak havoc around me, to everything and everyone. Nothing would be safe because of my torment. I would curse God for what he had 'allowed'. I would question his existence, his love, his purpose. I would not appreciate the kind words of others - I would reject them. I would die inside and I would want everyone to know my grief. I wouldn't want compassion, I would want vengeance. Whatever you do, don't bring me a casserole the night of my tragedy, or the next day, or anytime. Don't give me a sympathetic smile, and above all, don't you dare say the words that go something like: 'don't forget, all things work for good .....' - that would be a very dangerous thing to say to me.
And that, is my nature. And that, is my weakness. I'm not proud of it. It's been the weakness of most people since the beginning of time. It is THE reason people give up on God. It needs more attention than we give it.
The book of Job is said to be the oldest book in the Bible, and this is the very theme of the book. It's 42 chapters long. Chapters 1-37 we're told of all these terrible things that happened to Job (satan went after him, and God let him). Jobs friends are, well, pissed, at Job, for laying down and taking it. Just like me - they're mad - at him!. Then, starting in chapter 38 God talks (finally) - and in verse 2 says "who is this that questions my wisdom with such ignorant words."
Who do you think you are? He says "Brace yourself like a man"! (We got biznis to talk about)
So I'm learning, that it wasn't me who 'laid the foundations of the earth', or tells the sea 'how far it can come to shore', or 'commands the sun to appear in the east', or 'directs the movement of the stars'. Nope, it ain't me.