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Friday, November 20, 2015

Here's my heart, Lord. Speak what is true.


There's a lot of noise this week, yes?  Lots of yelling and twittering and offending and defending.  Lots of accusing and pointing.  Of labeling and "I told you so"-ing.

Mostly, though, under all of it, there's just a lot of plain ol' garden variety hurting.

On Tuesday, I had a chance to be away from the noise as I drove to Lake Anna - just about two hours from our DC suburb - all alone.  Of course, these days the noise always has the potential to follow, but I didn't turn on the radio or the tv and the internet runs a little slow at our home there, so I avoided that as well.

The main purpose of the day trip was that last weekend we happened to have a rare, open 24 hours so we hustled there with another family for the night.  As usual, we found ourselves rushed on Sunday, therefore leaving the house less presentable than I wanted it to be.  I jumped at the opportunity to go back all alone after the kids left for school on Tuesday to finish washing towels and sheets and to run the vacuum once more.  I also thought that maybe I'd sit at the table by the window with my laptop and look out at the glassy water, finding uninterrupted silence in which to write.  I imagined I would sort through all the noise and write something that might make sense of a world that seems so very senseless.   That surely the right answer to terror and fear and the discord of my nation might come flying out of my very own fingertips.

Not so much.

Instead, the clean up and ordinary tasks took longer than I wanted.  And though I wrote a bit, it seemed that the words didn't come as easily as I thought they would because THIS IS HARD.  And there are so many questions.  In the quiet the questions become more personal.  The voices don't shout, but they persist.

And who are you in the middle of this?  Are you informed enough?  Smart enough?  Brave enough? Do you agree with this person?  Or that one?  Do you understand that believing that thing automatically makes that person think you are this?  Or that?  Are you worldly enough?  Are you American enough?  Are you Christian enough? Are you, in fact, human enough?  As I sat waiting for the dryer to chime, I found more questions than answers.

So, I got up from the computer and swept the floor.  I folded towels and made beds with clean sheets.  I wiped down counters and emptied the dishwasher.  I wandered around looking at old photos of my boys and their cousins in life jackets squishing up against their chubby, baby cheeks.  Of triumphant first catches and sunburned faces sticky with marshmallows and chocolate, hazy behind the smoke of the fire pit.  It was so quiet that the only thing I could hear was the heat coming through the vent and the faint sounds of birds and the rustle of leaves.  And, of course, the emptiness - the utter lack of answers in my head.  No prophetic words to write.  Before I knew it, it was almost time to get back in the car to be home for the boys.

I took the time to stand at the window and gaze out at the lake before I left for awhile and I remembered the words of a song sung at our church on Sunday evening.

Here's my heart, Lord.  Here's my heart, Lord.  Speak what is true. 
I am found.  I am yours.  I am loved.  I'm made pure.
I have life.  I can breathe.  I am healed.  I am free.
'Cause You are strong.  You are sure.  You are life.  You endure. 
You are good.  Always true.  You are light breaking through.
Here's my heart, Lord.  Here's my life, Lord.  Speak what is true.

The Lord did not give me the answers to terrorism, ISIS, refugees and borders that day.  He did not give me the answers to racism and hate that day.  He did not grant me some keen insight so that I could write a post that might be shared across the world with answers that would quiet the anger among my country's people.  He told me that the purpose for me that day was just what I had done.

To sweep up crumbs that speak of sharing food and love with family and friends.  To gather up corks and bottle caps that speak of laughter and connection and relationship.  To shove sheets and towels that speak of rambunctious boys and grass and fish into washers and dryers until they are bursting full.  To clean up after the gathering of the beautiful and broken, good and sinful, wise and confused people that God has asked me to love.  And then to set up a place for those people to gather again.  So that I might love them and they might love me and we might be full enough that we can go out and love this beautiful and broken, good and sinful, wise and confused world He has asked us to love.

So though I did find some answers, there are still so many questions that remain.  But I knew at the lake that day that the answers do not come from the recesses of my addled brain and they don't come from shouting, accusing pundits and fearful, angry voices.  The answers will come in His time and only when I am silent and humble and listening instead of speaking.  I will wait upon the Lord with a simple offering and a simple request.

Here's my heart, Lord.  Here's my life, Lord.  Speak what is true.


Leslie Roberts Norman said...

Tears, a lot of tears this week and sighs. And a lot of explaining to kids..... and being a good example of love and hope. Please God help me be strong and whole. Thanks Jenn for your good time in writing and sharing God's grace with others. Smiles!

Jenn said...

Thanks for commenting, Leslie! Miss y'all!