Carrot sticks. It turns out that’s what I’ll eat when I don’t have to cook for other people.
Or maybe I eat them because the refrigerator is mostly empty or because they tend to be my snack of choice when I’m writing the book. I spent the last four days home by myself. Can you tell? I’m blogging about carrots.
For four blessed days, I’m the captain of my own life. Watching movies that make me cry until my eyes are red rimmed and puffy because I can, and why not. I read books, write thousands of words, pack boxes, sit on the beach, walk in the rain and don’t wear makeup. I go to the grocery store once in two weeks.
While I’m relishing the glorious pace I’ve found in solitude, suddenly my world tilts. Everything lopsided, hollow, one hyphenated sigh that doesn’t satisfy the curious, unnamed spot in my soul that longs to be satiated, no matter how much I feed it.
Me. It’s the first two letters in the word meaningful.
But too much of me leads to a meaningless existence.
If you are a regular reader here on the blog, you know I’m in a season of packing twenty-five years of memorabilia in preparation for a move to England. But I was blindsided, as one usually is, about God’s intention beyond cardboard, tape and stuff. This has become a new level of surrender.
It turns out surrendering possessions is the easy part.
There is a soul stripping that coincides with giving your possessions away and saying an emphatic yes to Jesus. Oh, we can sing “I surrender all” until our throats hurt but when we actually follow through, it’s surprisingly, well, insightful. As if you’ve been looking at life through a divine looking glass with sudden magnification. Acutely aware of your assumptions, harsh judgments, self-protection and mediocrity; you feel exposed, vulnerable and desperately repentant for the selfishness.
This isn’t self-deprecating surrender, the kind heaped in guilt for the ways you haven’t measured up to some ethereal, unreachable spiritual mountaintop. No, not that. God knows we don’t need more Christians feeling like failures in discipleship.
It is a Psalmist’s surrender. A turning of the head from the ways in which you’ve created spiritual scaffolding that has nothing to do with laying down your life but instead keeps you comfortably guarded. An epiphany of sorts about God’s love for you, how He has been loving you all along, even when you weren’t paying attention. Most of all, when you don’t deserve it.
Redemption looks beautiful on everyone, it’s my tag line for email followers. I didn’t fully understand the full meaning until recently.
I cooked dinner for the first time in two weeks last night, munching on carrot sticks and checking Facebook while rice simmered in the pot. Fielding all the typical questions of how long until dinner? And what are we having? And waited patiently for the last person to saunter slowly to the dinner table, salivating as steam curls from Chicken Marbella canopied our plates.
We bowed our heads, gave thanks and then engaged in a heated discussion bordering on anger. And that empty, uncomfortable place seemed satisfied, full of meaning somehow.
The first two letters in meaningful, they aren’t pointing fingers to our chest. Me, it’s the answer from a loving Father to our questions and doubts.
As we sort, pack, consign, discard and entertain potential buyers for our cars and house, I’ll be posting less frequently here this month. However, I will continue communicating through my weekly epistle to the Sabbath Society community, which has turned into a beautiful conversation, a co-mingling of faith, life and resting in His goodness. Sign up here if you are interested, you are always welcome.