Sunday, April 20, 2008

The Great Sadness

So, what do you do when it all falls apart? This is a little of what life has felt like in the past couple of weeks. An unimaginable situation brought on by careless decisions have reeked havoc in our carefully constructed little worlds. And, the truth is, so many of us around it, not even directly involved, have struggled under the weight of it all. We have taken up this mantle of profound sadness and it threatens daily to take over.

I desperately do not want to make this about me or about those of us that have come around the entire situation. It’s just not…at all, except in that we are so interconnected, in a good way, a way that I think glorifies God, and so it has effectively devastated us all. I’m not sure there is a more appropriate response. The thing is, even though we are devastated, we are aware of a greater reality. We are aware of God in the midst of this chaos. The devastation has been a way to clear out our complicated perspectives and perceptions and has made room for him to remind us of simpler truths…that he desires to be known, that we are meant to live in realtionship with each other, that he is sovereign, that his love always wins. (I said simple, not simplisitic!)

It’s kind of like a tornado. No one wants a tornado to hit and destroy everything in its path. It is heart wrenching, when that happens, to see all that people have lost, seemingly their entire worlds flattened with no regard for sentiment. But, though a tornado can destroy an entire lifetime’s worth of building walls, the land stripped bare is always more beautiful in that raw and ravaged state. Underneath the rubble, the original beauty lurks, waiting to be remembered, and the truth about what is left is, surprisingly, enough to sustain you.

This morning our brave pastor stood and spoke about what you do with all the brokenness, all the pain and weariness, the shambles, and my thirsty soul drank in every word. He so beautifully said that you take all of it and offer it up to God, a precious sacrifice of suffering. It gave me an image I will be forever grateful for. It was the image of me offering all that has fallen apart…it continuing to fall apart even as I offer it, and him gathering up those pieces with great gentleness. Taking them with a great understanding of all it costs to let go of the notion that you can keep it together somehow. I offer it to him, “in whom all things hold together” and walk forward in gratefulness that he has always used this kind of messy sacrifice to build his church.