Would you take a second and listen to this song? Sara Groves . . . girl can write! Recently somebody heard one of my little, unknown, unheard songs . . . and said, "Oh, is that by Sara Groves?" and I have to admit - the little cartoon me in my head did cartwheels because - I LOVE SARA GROVES!!! It was like the time I was in high school and loved this very strong, smart female band director we had for a year when I was a sophomore, and somebody in my class compared me to her in a conversation - made me feel proud and humble at the same time (in a teenager kind of way).
That's neither here nor there, though. I'll stop my rambling. Listen to the song!
I'll tell you a foolish story: I know the love of God, but over and over I struggle to move past the "trouble" of the world. You know the trouble. You know the struggle to forgive. The difficulty of finding something nice to say. The foolishness is that I know the love of God, and yet I struggle with this thing. This forgiveness. This letting go of the wrongs and the hurtful words.
I know the love of God! I know the love of the One who overlooks my faults. The One who forgets them East to West. But I struggle with this forgiveness thing. And my trouble . . . my obstacle as a human being stops me from loving other people with the love God gave me. Much too often, I feel.
You know why I love that Sara Groves song up there? I love it because of the phrase, "Waking dream."
I had a waking dream once. I was young and had been ill. I was resting in my parents' bedroom. And very clearly a voice with an almost tangible presence said to me, "You're doing alright. I love you."
When I woke up I asked my mother if she'd been into the room . . . and had she said these things to me?
No. She hadn't been into the room.
Sometimes when my son has just slipped over into the world of sleep, I whisper those words to him, "You're doing alright. I love you." Because I know who said those words to me, and I want to see them tucked into the heart of my child. Let's not pretend it was a coincidence that the words were said to me. Maybe the only coincidence was that I was able to hear them. But it wasn't a mistake that they were said.
Today a friend called my attention to something important.
It's too easy for us to say unpleasant things about each other. In our anger and our competitiveness. In our fear and our pride. In our humanity. Or maybe it's our lack of humanity! Because God made us . . . human. I think we try to twist ourselves out of being exactly what we were made to be. And in our twisting and thrashing we get injured. And we injure other people.
This reminder from my friend today brought something else to mind - If the Holy Spirit can help me by whispering those precious words into my half sleeping mind, then the Holy Spirit whispers them into the heart of every other created person, loved by God.
The Spirit of God whispers those words to you. "You're doing alright. I love you."
The Spirit of God whispers them to people I don't like or agree with.
The Spirit of God doesn't share my opinions or my difficulties. God is totally Other. I'm grateful for that. And humbled by it.
Those words at the end of Sara Groves' song say, "You are standing in the driveway. I can tell by your movement you're not angry . . . you are waiting there." and then later, "You are running now."
Waiting. Running. Not angry.
Didn't God run to us when we had sunken down? In the person of Jesus? Doesn't God run to us still? Not with anger, but with hope and challenge and truth! Jesus isn't a simple person - Like all good teachers, He asks us to try. And like no other person, He can actually provide the impetus we need to become whole.
I'm not saying it'll make our discord disappear.
But maybe it helps us to make better choices? Choices about how to navigate our relationships in a healthy way? And when our choices can't protect us from getting broken and from cutting other people with our sharp edges, maybe it helps us to forgive - to forgive everyone - ourselves and others.
Listen to one more 50 second song by Sara Groves. It's so good! So true.
I'm a songwriter and a teacher . . . and a Christian. What kind of Christian or teacher or writer would I be if I told you that I always patched my relationships up nicely? I don't. I haven't. I've made lots of mistakes. And some of them (read: many of them) have been irrevocable.
And God is still willing to whisper Hope into my heart . . . and yours . . . and everybody else's.
Makes me want to try for better.
Let's try together.