Layer Upon Layer Upon Layer

Thursday 10 January 2008

We used to have this Sara Lee apple danish ad here in Australia in the 70s or 80s where the Austrian woman was waxing lyrically about the "layer upon layer upon layer" consistency of the amazing sweet she was eating. If I could defragment my brain's hard drive the way I can my computer, I would probably scrap that little memory taking up 10 or so bytes in my head, and move extra space to my short term memory so I can remember where the hell it was I left whatever it was that I've forgotten I've lost. But again, as usual, I digress.

I am much more aware of just how many layers I have. There are many. I feel like God has gone down to the depths of them recently. There has been so much going on in my layers over the past year, it's a good thing we can't see into the future because this last year would have appeared utterly unbearable if viewed in its entirety. The stuff me and God have been dealing with is the ultimate stuff. The really really big stuff. The core foundational identity stuff. The stuff that I have known has been there for years and years. And oh, boy, the pain.

So it hurts when you're changing and being changed and being healed in some measure. And so I've been angry. And my emotions have spilled outside of myself and overflowed onto the footpath. And God has felt more far away at times in the last few months than in, say, more heady spiritual times that have occurred over the past 10 years. But you know what, bloggers? It's alright. As painful as it is, it's alright. Because I feel in some strange way on some mystical level that I have agreed to allow Papa to do all of this. He knows what he's doing. It's a necessary process of disorientation. It's felt horrible because so much stuff has been dredged up. That's settling now, but I still can't really see what is going to come in its place. But God can.

Knowing that God is doing it is enough for me to trust him/her. And I do trust her/him. And the fact that he has grown me to trust him, with the father issues I have had, is a miracle all on its own. S/he is truly, amazingly creative and loving and kind in the way that s/he deals with us. If only we can grasp this, it will change everything. It will change the world. It has before.

(It is already - can you feel it?)

So in the past, when I would be going through difficult times or whatever, facing difficult things, working my way through stuff, on top of the discomfort of those sorts of situations I would have this horrible chain dragging behind me of thinking, "If I was a good Christian, would this kind of thing be happening to me?" It felt like that's what the Christian culture was telling me - that I should be doing it shiny for Jesus. It seems ludicrous to me now that I wouldn't be able to recognise that for the stinking religious garbage it is - all that is there is human power and control and refusing to lay down and die to your own thinking, your own stuff - but when you are in the midst of that garbage and haven't known anything else, you don't know any better. Even though the ache in your heart doesn't go away, the hope somehow if God is how we hope him to be, then maybe there could be a way for him to make all this stinking stuff alright. After all, look at Jesus, right?

I feel like I've come a long way since then. Tonight, I feel a lightness in my being that has many times been sunk in the past year. I seriously didn't know that life could be this painful. I have wanted to die at times this year ... and yet, at the same time, paradoxically, this joy has been there even within those times of despair. It's always there. But sometimes we can't see it and we can't feel it very well. And that's okay too. Because one of the problems of being made of dust is that when God moves around spiritual furniture, great clouds of ourselves puff up into the air, obscuring anything else. It's just par for the course, bloggers.

Don't let anyone make you feel bad about that. You get to rest even in the midst of your pain, as difficult as it is, as much as you need to scream. Don't let any well-meaning shiny happy people steal your peace by trying to make you feel like you shouldn't be in the place you're in if you are walking the right path. He's got you on your path. He knows the times when he's got you sitting on a boulder on the side of it for a respite while he does some stuff in you. He knows sometimes you're gonna run and sometimes you're gonna walk, and sometimes you're gonna sit down again and look as if you're going nowhere or backwards.

It's all okay. It's gonna be alright. Because not only are we made of dust. We are also made of stars.

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