Monday, May 26, 2014

When a Child Wanders Off Part Two

What you're about to read is absolutely subjective.  It is emotional and anecdotal.  I know that what we always need is to run to the Bible and seek out God's will for our lives.  I believe that in it is everything we need for "life and godliness."  It is my hope and intention to explore that "out loud" here, but first I want you to see the heart of one whose child has wandered off...

This post is going to have to suffice for the promised continuation.  It is not what I had intended as part two, but it is what I can do right now.  Right now some therapy is needed, and writing is certainly that for me.  I do intend to write the original part two some day, but it will really be part three, I guess.

Rod Serling’s residence in my house, of which I wrote last time, is a continuing theme.  Just when I’m deciding that he’s gone, and I’m living life as normal, I bump into him as I turn a corner.  That is a description of today, so I am going to just write about what living in The Twilight Zone is like.  At so many turns and times, I want to escape, to run far, far away, and honestly, with some particularly oppressive, suffocating events, I hope to just d-i-e.  That said, I think it might be therapeutic to write about how my buddy, Rod, has plagued me.

When your own child wanders off it’s a bit different than when it’s someone else’s.  It is (no tongue in cheek here) your worst nightmare come true.  It’s heavy, it’s desperate, it’s clarifying and yet incredibly disorienting; it’s a perpetual and terrifying fog.  Those you love seem to become your enemies, your everyday tasks seem impossible to perform, chocolate and potato chips seem the only acceptable foods, and children who have not wandered off are longed for as comfort and yet seem as one of those impossible tasks.  God is the only real comfort and is craved and pursued, but in many moments seems elusive.  Many of the things you’ve always been confident about become confusing, and the feeling of impotence in every familiar responsibility is paralyzing.  The utterance of the name of The Child is jarring, and his image draws the most unstoppable flow of tears.  Oh, and so do many other things: certain words, certain foods, certain people, certain songs, and certain places.  You just don’t ever know when you’ll be awash with the bitterest tears.

People offer advice and comfort, which is kind of them, but mostly it feels like salt in a wound.  Some people blame you for the debacle.  The discordant, reverberating echo of “You need to think about where you went wrong” clangs in my head like some whacky cartoon character with his head caught in a bell tower bell.  Every character flaw that I see displayed in the children still at home is a piercing terror, a real, nearly paralyzing, slow motion terror.  It should not be my family that is falling apart.  (It wasn’t going to be.  I took sure steps to ensure that it would not be.  Drat that Rod Serling!) 

Some people want to tell you the best way to deal with the child who wandered off. Though their intentions are good, it feels more like your life is being micromanaged.  That’s one of the hardest parts.   While you’re grieving and just want to escape, run far, far away, or you’re hoping to d-i-e, some people want to impose heavy burdens all in the name of A Solution.  They truly mean well, I’ve no doubt, but I want them to stop solving and start acknowledging that Rod Serling’s visit is real and Very Oppressive, and that I seriously think I’m drowning in sorrow.

I don’t think people understand the source of that thick, whirling vortex of sorrow.  I’m grieving for a couple of obvious things (including what follows in the next paragraph), but one very real reason is The Solution.  You see, I don’t think it is The Solution.  “Oh no, they cry! She doesn’t have faith in God’s way.”  That’s not it at all.  I don’t think “we”’ve done it God’s way.  (About which part two was supposed to be.)  My heart aches with a pounding, gigantic force of despair because I think The Solution is faulty, and I HAVE NEVER SEEN IT WORK IN RETRIEVING A CHILD WHO WANDERS OFF.  Do you see?  The implementation of The Solution IS Rod Serling’s knock at the door and his hopelessly eerie and perpetual presence. 

The sorrow of a family split apart is agonizing.  From the loins come all, and to them you want the all to cling in glorious harmony.  Sometimes it is not to be, but it is always what you want, what you dream about.  In fact, hope of it seems imperatively vital for survival, and the possibility of dashed hopes is incomprehensible – like in a desperate, “clap your hands over your ears, squeeze your eyes shut, and belt out a loud, rebellious chorus of LA, LA, LA, LA” sort of way.

Another torturous Rod Serling encounter is with Regret.  Only when you, yourself, experience something do you know how it feels, and once you do you cringe with an overwhelming weight of guilt over having attempted to impose a burdensome Solution on another.  Hugs are much better sometimes than reminders of how we got here or imposed protocols for A Solution. 

The bottom line?  When a child of your very own wanders off you live in one twisted, black hole episode of The Twilight Zone, but it is really - for real - reality.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

When a Child Wanders Off

(Before today it had been long ago that I posted anything here.  In fact, it took some doing to even get here again because I'd forgotten my blog name and address.)  I have had the desire to write down some thoughts that have developed over many years to help me remember them and to give me the ability to revisit if I desire to.

When I was a teenager, within a very short span, three men in the congregation of which we were a part, committed adultery and left their wives.  They were then "disfellowshipped."  It all made quite an impact on me because all three men had had no small significance in my life.  I was confused, hurt, angry, and perhaps, above all, shocked.

My own life took a dark turn just a short time later.  According to my own self, I had fallen and fallen long and deep into murky, mucky filth.  I shocked everyone who knew me.  I grieved everyone who loved me.  Some were angry and hurt and confused.  Some were up at arms because the "procedure" for such things didn't unfold.  It wasn't true, but it appeared that way, and they were unhappy.

Years after those events, a family member shocked me too with an "unspeakable" sin.  That time I wasn't confused or even hurt.  Just angry.  And shocked.  Against the wishes of most of the family, I set out to follow "procedure" as I had perceived it done.  I really rocked the family boat.

At this point, it'll be no surprise that several years after that, in Twilight Zone style, it happened again.  A very good family friend for whom we had "a chair" informed us all that he didn't believe that God is good and true anymore, and thus he would no longer be loyal to Him.  I was shocked.  And sad.  Intensely and abidingly sad.  Again, the "procedure" I'd always seen began and he was eventually "marked" and "withdrawn from."

Then Rod Serling came to my house, and I was stuck in the never ending cycle.  It was my turn to be the Prodigal's parent.  Have you known that?  (If so, you can skip this paragraph.)  I was sad.  I wasn't shocked.  I was his mother, and I knew.  I was angry.  Oh very, very angry.  Then I was sad again because his turn in the pit took a sort of permanent downward twist.  I had prayed that God would do whatever necessary to rescue him from the lion's mouth, and when He answered I was in awe.  Never had I (could I) construct such a rescue attempt.  This journey has continued, and the end has not seemed here.  But I have hoped that it will come because I have become the Prodigal's parent.  The ominous "procedure" has not occurred, but its initiation has been entertained, and I have been scared.  And lonely.  And confused.

Well, if I ever did wish for something, it has been that Rod Serling would blow up and die and take his nasty Twilight Zone into perdition with him.  He has proven a stubborn house guest. Another child wandered off.  Into the pit he fell.  And deep.  He has not liked the pit and has attempted to scale up and out.  Yet, I have been uncertain that he's as ready for the Light of day as I had hoped.  Again, the story has not ended, but I am pulling for (read: praying for) the happy sort.  I have doubly become the Prodigal's parent.

These events, stretched over decades, have introduced so many questions about what to do, what to say, what to feel, and on and on.  It has been my deep and earnest desire to know the mind of God in these (and all other) matters.  The more these kinds of tragic events have piled up in sickening mounds of stench laden yuck, the more I love God and long to have rest with Him, just simply worshiping Him.  The more I have seen and suffered from sin, the more I hate sin - in me, in you, in everyone.

These things have combined to drive me to search the Bible for the truth about the fallen and those who know and love them.  In the truth of God have been riven the stays of hope, unchanging and attainable.  It has just been a matter of digging, and digging, and digging, and digging...

To be continued...


Have you ever had those moments when you just wish that you could...
Destroy satan?
Sit Adam and Eve down and 'splain what it really was they were getting into?
Speak instead of clamming up?
Shut up instead of speaking?
Get a postcard from God answering the specific questions you have about *your* life?
Stop crying?
Start laughing?
Start running and not tire until you wanted to stop running?
Memorize the whole Bible?
And understand every single thing in it?
And apply it perfectly?
Love without pain?
Have perfect recall?
At the perfect time?
Be perfect?
Stay awake?
Fall asleep?

Me too!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Deuteronomy 29:6:
You have not eaten bread, nor have you drunk wine or strong drink, in order that you might know that I am the Lord your God.
I have been praying prayers of physical healing for others recently. This morning there was a desperateness about it too. Then I read Deut. 29. I know I posted something similar before about chapter eight, but it is so profound to me that God works in all kinds of ways to generously give us the opportunity to know Him. It is utterly astounding that He seeks us - wants us - at all, but the fact that we can absolutely trust Him is so comforting. When we have to go without the thing(s) we desperately want, it is good. Hard. My heart (yours too?) gets so set on some of the things I long to be true that I am discontented and whiny when they are not. Reality is that the fact I am going without, or watching loved ones go without, is testimony to the GOODNESS of God. He is always providing the very best, even giving us the best of droughts that we might KNOW HIM. There is no (and None) better.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Deuteronomy 7:21-23:
21 You shall not be in dread of them, for the LORD your God is in your midst, a great and awesome God.
22 The LORD your God will clear away these nations before you little by little. You may not make an end of them at once, lest the wild beasts grow too numerous for you.
23 But the LORD your God will give them over to you and throw them into great confusion, until they are destroyed.

This struck me. Well it did too. God intended to defeat the inhabitants of the Promised Land absolutely, but He intended to do it slowly so that the wild animals wouldn't take over more quickly than the Israelites could settle the land. What a comforting thought it is that God is never "slow" without purpose. When it seems that deliverance and fulfillment of promises are slow in coming, it can give me cause for peaceful calm and joyful gratitude because I can trust that God is working in just the right way - for the very best outcome in my life. What a beautiful thought!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Procrastination has been a nasty flaw in my life. I have found that if I think I don't have the time to do something well, or if I think something will not likely be successful, or if I am pretty sure that something will be clearly and awfully unpleasant,then I often procrastinate.

This morning I was reading in John 18, and I noticed something in a different way than I have before. When Jesus was in the garden of Gethsemane that last night the conniving mob came to arrest Him. He saw them first and stepped out of the protection of night. John recorded this for us: 'Then Jesus, knowing all that would happen to him, came forward and said to them, "Whom do you seek?"' After He was seized Peter angrily swung his sword, trying in impulsive protection mode, to defend Jesus. Jesus spoke to Peter, '"Put your sword into its sheath; shall I not drink the cup that the Father has given me?"'

Jesus knew what He needed to be done, and He courageously and decisively did it. No delay. No excuses. That caused me to marvel. There was not the semblance of procrastination, just prompt, responsible, and stout resolve to begin working on the task at hand. What an awesome example Jesus always has set for me!