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Saturday, 7 January 2012

Circumference of Ignorance

And by circumference, I am not referring to my ever expanding midriff!  As you've probably read many times throughout this blog, one of my favourite sayings is "as the radius of knowledge increases... so does the circumference of ignorance!"

Isn't that the truth?  The more I learn about something, the more I realize I know nothing at all.  I try to comfort myself by saying this could possibly be a sign of wisdom!  How ironic that the more we can admit we know nothing at all, the more we are considered "wise."  Hee hee hee!  Well, this is what I tell myself these days and I am not quite sure I am willing to accept anything different just yet. :)

It's fun for me to meet people whose comfort comes from feeling that they are in control of things.  It's fun for me because I know exactly what God has done each time I have fooled myself into believing I had things figured out.... He just laughs and throws another curve ball in the mix.  But I have come to realize that this is in fact Him answering my constant prayer to please keep me humble, and to please keep my eyes and ears open to His truth.

Sometimes, others see things about us that we cannot!
Would you believe that after all these years, I am discovering that I feel most comforted when things are chaotic?  Not initially, of course, but in reflection.  What has felt like the very bane of my existence is starting to become my very blessing.  The reason being that in a state of upheaval, I have to question everything before resting my hand on something I "think" is stable.  Chaos demands a state of seeking beyond what I can see, relying somewhat on instinct and finding out just how much faith I really have.  When I have felt in control of things whether it be a consistent routine or predictability or calculated outcome, I find I get easily lost to an auto-pilot mode.  Trust me, somedays that is exactly what I crave!  It feels so much less exhausting mentally... but I find myself coasting rather than living and examining everything.  I get comfortable and then questioning things becomes more of an inconvenience than an enlightening.

Do any of you feel that way, too?

Sometimes I fear that feeling confident in a routine, is to feel confident in myself... and slowly but surely, praising God for accomplishments shifts to praising my own readiness and ability to outsmart fate, if you will!  How would such a mind frame affect one's overall well being?

Duane was told of an older man recently diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.  As Duane pulled out our many resources to share with this man whom neither of us have ever met, I was overwhelmed by what I felt this man's pancreas was crying out.  I wanted to weep for him.  I turned to Duane and said to him "when you speak to this man, can you please ask him if he ever experienced a traumatic ripping apart between him and a brotherly presence... maybe a brother... or maybe an uncle or cousin?  It's a very violent separation, like a drowning or something... truly traumatic."  Duane went quiet and I knew his logical mind went to a place of "great, how on earth am I supposed to ask a complete stranger a question like that?"  I further clarified... "Duane, tell him your crazy wife wanted to know."  There was more yet that came to me... something about ages five to twelve so I assumed it either meant the experience happened between those ages, or one was five and the other was twelve or something... that is the hard part about interpreting the "feelings" is I feel like a clumsy blind person stumbling around trying to make sense of someone else's world based only on feeling... now where is the logic in that??  (I ask with a big smirk).

Well, this complete stranger has been in my prayers and on my mind something fierce these last few weeks.  Sure enough, he called the other day to speak with Duane who wanted to provide him with some hydrogen peroxide.  I heard his voice and before he could say much, I asked him "So, what plans do you have for supper?"  He hesitated in surprise and said "Uh, I don't have any."  "Oh good, then you'll be joining us for diner?"  "Oh!  Uh well, um... sure!"

He arrived shortly thereafter and we visited and I prayed fervently asking God to guide me should I rightfully ask him such a personal question.  Now, I am assuming you all know me well enough to know that I would much rather look the fool and ask someone a question that may make them uncomfortable for the sake of truly seeking the core of something deeper... to be freed... than to sit quiet and pretty for the sake of social acceptance.  Sorry folks, but I love you too much to make social acceptability more important than my lifelong prayers for mankind's salvation from that which destroys us... denial, ego, unforgiveness (spell check is not happy with this word) and blame.  I can feel how these things destroy us... I know when they dwell within us... I "see" where they try to reside within our bodies.  I don't want that for anyone!

So, as you can no doubt imagine, as I listened to this man share some of his life stories, I was able to see that he is a brilliant man.  So brilliant, in fact, that he is a master problem solver... he prides himself for looking at problems from the outside in... and FIXING them.  He also served as a volunteer paramedic and many traumas and did his best to save many lives.

The evening was closing in quickly and that nervousness was threatening to keep me silent rather than ask this man what I believed was thriving in his pancreas... Will asking him ruin this visit?  Will he run out screaming?  Is it my right to ask?

"Sir, I ask your forgiveness ahead of time for asking what will be a very personal question and please do not feel obliged to answer if you do not want to... sometimes I get inklings or gut feelings about people and while this complete stranger has been praying for you these last few weeks, something keeps coming up that I hope you can help make sense of..."  He looked at me curiously but reassuringly so I proceeded.  "Have you ever experience a traumatic ripping apart or loss of a brother or an uncle when you were very young?"

He shifted in his chair and crossed his arms and answered "I can't say that I have."  But I knew there was something more there... so i went beyond the words of my limited understanding and proceeded to explain the puzzle of the "feeling".  "Well then I can't piece this one together... it's a brotherly presence and a traumatic loss, like a drowning..."

I saw his breathing change and he cleared his throat and said "The only thing I can think of is that when I was about twelve years old, my little school friend was in the garage when it caught fire and I tried to run back in to save him... but the fire was so piercing hot that I could not get to him... and I had to sit outside that burning garage and wait for help."  I could see tears in his eyes and it took everything I had not to run to this man and hold him... but I figured I had crossed enough boundaries for one day.  But how I ached that he had known such a trauma!  "They found him between two cars."

I looked at him as tears flowed down my own face and I said "and that was the first moment you vowed you would never feel helpless like that again... right?"

"Damn right."

I think it even goes beyond that.  I think in that moment, he decided that if there really was a God out there, He was not trustworthy.  After all, how could He allow this boy to suffer as he did?  If there is a God, He is not good at making sure things are done RIGHT.

Sure enough, as we continued to talk, he admitted that he knows full well that his need to be in control of everything is very likely his achilles heel.  Sadly, his pancreas is crying out "YES!  Now set me free!"

Hard to know where you're going with your eyes closed!
That freedom can only come by revisiting each moment that he did not understand why something bad happened and the guilt he carried that he couldn't FIX IT... and to forgive himself and lay these burdens at the foot of the cross saying "I do not understand how or why this could be part of your bigger picture... but you are bigger than me and know the story from beginning to end better than I ever could... I trust your plan despite my pain... and I release myself to surrender to your will."  And it begins with that little boy whose tragic death, as unfair and cruel as it may seem, played an important part in those around him.

Perhaps that is why I, too, am learning to surrender to that increasing circumference of ignorance.  I fear that should I ever think too certainly of something, I have removed the opportunity to find out I could be wrong.  In fact, that certainty could down right close my eyes to Truth because I have already decided there is no where else to look!

We are created to help each other in our suffering!
I love my brethren... all of you out there... all of you created and living your lives.  I pray for you all and ache that you have these beautiful life stories that I do not get to know fully, if at all!  But at least they are KNOWN!  So many of you that I will never get to "know" in person but I feel that I "know" you through our link in Christ!  That He came for you just as much as He came for me!  That He longs for you as He longs for me... and I pray for your freedom and your willingness to dig deep, stir things up, to be uncomfortable enough to seek stability only in Him... and to FIND Him!

My beloved family, today I pray that you not pride yourselves on what you know, but rather pride yourselves on what you DO NOT know and the very thirst it creates for you to seek understanding beyond the limits of your own!  May you hunger for truth as you have never hungered before and may you find the answers to the very questions you have felt afraid to ask!  And by all means, trust the inklings of the Holy Spirit and do not let fear keep you from doing His bidding... as scary as it may seem.

We are all aching, we are all suffering but together, perhaps we can "see" things from perspectives we would lack if we lived our lives in secrecy... in shame... in fear.

And to my new friend with pancreatic cancer... you are in my heart, in my prayers.  I pray that you be blessed with the most sacred time with your children and grandchildren.  I pray that you experience the greatest freedom before you are called home... whenever that may be.  I do not know what your choices will be, but should you experience the incredible release of complete surrender, may you also experience the ultimate release of your cancer... that your healing may bring Him glory just as your suffering has.  Your friend's tragic death played a big part in how you contributed fervently to this world... I assure you that he fulfilled a greater purpose in his little lifetime greater than many of us could hope to in our lengthy ones!  And thank you for allowing me to share openly and truthfully and for sharing openly and truthfully in return.  May you know His healing, dear friend.  This is my prayer for you.

For the rest of you, I continue to pour out my heart in prayer with the sincerest hope that He delight in answering them!  I love you all, from the very core of my being!  God bless you all.