I Wonder If God Is Getting Antsy…

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“Mama!  You said we can’t put any food in that trash can.”

Shit.  She’s right.  How do I explain to her that orange peels dry quickly and don’t mold the way banana peels and apple cores do?  One day she’ll have mastered the basics of trash etiquette — today is not that day.

Lucy is five.  As far as she knows, nothing that enters or exits her mouth may enter that trash can, the one that we use exclusively for overdue bills and Christmas cards.

Grapes?  Gross.

Crackers?  Yep.

Apple sauce cups?  No way.

Orange peels?  Yes.  They even freshen up the smell of the bills and papers piled on top.

One day it’ll click, that orange peels are okay.  In order for my daughter to mature and improvise creatively she needs a comprehensive understanding of my trash laws.  Before Picasso began abstracting he spent years mastering the true and literal human form.  Imagine the moment he realized the fullness of his capabilities!

I can’t wait for her to place that piece in the parenting puzzle.  My parent’s rules aren’t the only way!  My mama taught me to think and I think that the moisture content of an orange peel is low enough.  Plus this zest will make their bills smell great!

A couple weeks ago our church publicly and beautifully announced our support for our LGBT brothers and sisters.  The Love and Unity in that sanctuary poured out the big front doors, down the crumbling front stairs, and ran rainbow-y through the streets of downtown Denver.

“God!  You said that homosexuality was an abomination!”

Shit.  She’s right.  How do I explain that the Bible, My holy Word, is true and foundational, but also fluid, mobile, and alive?  One day they’ll understand that Jesus, My Boy, filled in those contradictory gaps with His boundless Love.  One day they’ll trust the gift of my Spirit in them enough to start building on the solid ground that Scripture established.

Gay?  Yep.

Trans?  Yep.

Muslim?  Yes.

Addict?  You bet.

Republican?  Sure.

Democrat?  Okay.

It doesn’t make sense to me, either—I have no clue how this Grace and Love thing works.  All I know is that God wanted me even when I put my son in the NICU after years of abusing pain meds AS I WAS, no questions asked.  Surely God wants my gay brothers and sisters, immigrants, and congressmen.

The American Fundamentalist & Evangelical church is riding a wave bound for the shore, where it will crash—destroying many egos, identities, and seminaries in the sandy collision.  For too long we denied the testimony and life of Christ and the power of the Spirit moving through all of us.

We were afraid of what a truly Christ-led life would look like.  Instead of looking at the vast forest of redemption, unity, and love that the Bible creates, we chose to look at the trees—abortion, LGBT rights, divorce, etc.  Wouldn’t you rather get lost in a forest of loving, redemptive, living Truth than spend your days arguing over whether a single tree belongs there?

We can honor the good doctrine Evangelical fundamentalism gave us, yes.  But I believe God is calling us forward, daring us to step deeper into that wooded, holy chaos.

The Law sets a good, solid, true foundation.  Period.  End Story.

I wonder though if maybe God is starting to get a little antsy with our reluctance to let His/Her Spirit of Love and Unity begin to mature our understanding of that Law?  Both/And.  What if, like a good parent, God can’t wait for us to get creative–abstractive even–in how we live, love, interpret & apply the Living Word?

“Babe, one day you’ll be able to put orange peels in that trash can, too.”  I assured Lucy.  And I smile, knowing that the day for me has come, it is here.  Yours is, too.  We are waking up!  Do you believe in a Loving Parent inviting you to build something bigger, braver, more inclusive, and more Loving?

The orange peels, the precepts we believed immoveable?  Turns out they may actually move.

We take our lead from Christ.  His very breath and blood flow through us all, nourishing us so that we will grow up healthy in God, robust in Love.  We aren’t five-years-old anymore, we were born for this.


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Step 10: I Can Fix This

To The Man Who Maybe Totaled My Car On Tuesday,

You’re lucky I’m in recovery, because you really messed me up.  The tenth step reinforces the discipline of continuing to take fearless moral inventories, and I’ve done dozens on you in the last two days.  Each time I reach the conclusion that I’m behaving fearfully:

I’m afraid the whiplash will cause permanent damage.  I’m afraid my kid’s necks won’t get better.  I’m afraid the body shop and insurance company will decide to total my Pilot.  Knees, please stop clicking.  How much money this will cost us?  I know, his insurance will cover it all, but what if it doesn’t?  And I DON’T HAVE TIME TO FIGHT INSURANCE COMPANIES.  I’m afraid I’ll ask a doctor for oxy if the pain doesn’t get better.

Lord, “Do not be afraid” is the most repeated verse in the Bible.  So I’m gonna try real hard, real hard, to be strong and courageous.  I’ll try and remember that You’re the God of cancer, chronic pain, infertility, addiction, abuse, and car accidents.

You’re a God of Too Much.  And a car accident on Tuesday morning was Too Much.

To The Husband Who Won’t Pick Up The Girl’s Hair Clips Deep Under The Clawfoot Tub,

You’re lucky I’m in recovery, too.  Actually, I am lucky I have you.  Thank you for all you do, for all you hold, for all you bend over to retrieve for me.  I’ve stared at the hair clips for over a year; I know you don’t see them though.  Finally I decided I was done holding it over your head, or over my own head rather.  Like when I used to have to tread water holding gallon jugs above the water’s surface in water polo practice.

It’s so tiring.  It’s Too Much.

I finished the inventory while sitting on the toilet the other day, staring down at the purple plastic edges peeking out from under the porcelain tub.  Turns out I was dishonest (Babe, could you please come and reach these clips?), inconsiderate (I don’t care if he doesn’t want to pick these up, and hasn’t in over a year— I want what I want, right now), and fearful (What if I bend over too far and my sciatic flares up?)

Lord, forgive me for holding those gallon jugs for so long, the weariness was self-induced.  I’m sorry I blamed David.  I’m sorry I forgot just how capable, effective, generous, and loving I am.  I could’ve picked them up; it was my Next Loving Step that I refused to take.  And my marriage suffered for it.

To The Presidential Candidates In The 2016 Election,

You guys are hurting my feelings.  I know, I’m afraid.  Waiting for the result of the election is like waiting for a PET scan to confirm or deny the existence of active cancer cells.  Does America have cancer or not?  Who wouldn’t be afraid of cancer?

Could we try a little harder to resemble decent humans?  Is that Too Much to ask?

Lord, just so we’re clear, I belong to You; not Hillary or Donald.  I fight for Love, not reformed tax law.  My birthplace has nothing to do with my citizenship.  Eden all the way.

To The Biological Father Who Walked Away,

First of all, hi.  It’s been a while.  Your granddaughters asked what happened to you today, and I told them, I don’t know.

Second, I know you are wounded, not wicked.  The inventories don’t always work on you, because it’s hard to figure out what role I played in you abandoning us all—again.  Sometimes I land on dishonesty, because I know I haven’t reached out to try and redeem & restore.  But then I remember the fruits of my honesty in the past, and so I think I’d rather keep my pearls to myself, thank you very much.  And my therapist.

Lord…I don’t even know…I have no clue…It’s Too Much for me to begin to solve…take it and make it Good…

To The Giant Trucks Parked Outside My House,

Oooooh you know how to press a Mama’s buttons.  I’m hot & flushed just thinking about all that premium space your behemoth vehicles hoard.

Inhale.  Exhale.  Too.  Much.  Inhale.  Exhale.

But I know I behave selfishly.  I WANT AT LEAST ONE SPACE!  We have a 1-1/2 size lot, there should be something for Claire and her four babies.  I see the fear, too.  And I suppose it’s inconsiderate of me to expect my comfort to cost you yours.

Lord, Help me remember that you breathed into the truckers holy, body clay, too.  You called them Good.  May I breathe before cursing them under my breathe.  Maybe they have needs, too?  Maybe they even need to park in front of my fenced property?  Maybe the problem is that I think it’s “my” property?

Maybe I need to chill the hell out and remember that I can’t control anything except how I choose to respond to the distracted driver on Colfax, the husband who tries so hard and the politicians who don’t try hard enough, the wounded, invisible patriarch, and the Chevy drivers.

When a day feels like Too Much, the 10th step helps me remember what I can fix—myself.
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