kyndallrae

creating me [using words]

Archive for the month “August, 2013”

Women, We Are Bent

 If you didn’t already see via facebook, here is my sermon from this morning, which was a particularly heartfelt one for me. You can listen to the audio here

Now he was teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath. And just then there appeared a woman with a spirit that had crippled her for eighteen years. She was bent over and was quite unable to stand up straight. When Jesus saw her, he called her over and said, “Woman, you are set free from your ailment.” When he laid his hands on her, immediately she stood up straight and began praising God. But the leader of the synagogue, indignant because Jesus had cured on the Sabbath, kept saying to the crowd, “There are six days on which work ought to be done; come on those days and be cured, and not on the Sabbath day.” But the Lord answered him and said, “You hypocrites! Does not each of you on the Sabbath untie his ox or his donkey from the manger, and lead it away to give it water? And ought not this woman, a daughter of Abraham whom Satan bound for eighteen long years, be set free from this bondage on the Sabbath day?” When he said this, all his opponents were put to shame; and the entire crowd was rejoicing at all the wonderful things that he was doing.
Luke 13:10-17

There are many women who are bent and who stay bent. Forgive me, men, I’m less familiar with your chronic ailments and I would feel like an arrogant fool if I hazarded a guess, but this bentness—this 18-year-long bentness—this is a sickness I understand intimately. And I can assure you, it is no coincidence at all in the story that she is a woman.

Women take a long time to learn how to stand tall, how to square our shoulders, how to lift our chins, how to take up our space. Whether it was society or family dynamics or misguided theology or sustained abuse or our own unrelenting insecurity, we were trained or have trained ourselves to remain stooped, and like those earlier women who bound their feet to keep themselves small, we have stayed bound and we have stayed small and the only pay-off is that we cannot run anymore.

We work until we are bone-tired and we nod and smile politely until we no longer know what a real smile feels like, much less a real yes. We scurry to please and to pat and to pamper until we’ve puttered our lives away and tuned out the song of our souls.

We are bent. As women we live hunched-over lives underneath the weight of demands and expectations and comparisons and the need to be perfect and the longing to be pretty, or if not pretty, at least somewhat appealing, the right kind of mother or lover or daughter, to get it all right and to make the rightness appear effortless, to be both gracious and gifted, gorgeous but not aware of it, glamorous without trying or seeming like you’re trying, to be a great cook and skilled at décor and excellent with babies and smart (but don’t show off your smartness!) and . . . and . . . and . . .

These burdens bend us into half-life—it is like we are walking through life looking down at the ground. Spine cracked over, we’re not able to look up and out and around and SEE the world and our place in it because we’ve got our noses to the grindstone. We are bent.

It is no coincidence or surprise when Jesus meets a woman, and she is a hunched-over woman. He had been encountering hunched-over women all his life, no doubt, but finally, here is a woman WHO KNOWS she is bent and wishes to straighten.

While the male theologians have told us the sin of man is pride, the female theologians have remarked that the sin of woman is lack of pride, and for bent-over women, this is true. The poison that keeps a woman small is the failure to know her worth. The lack of faith to know she has a place in this world—there is a space here meant to be occupied by her. It takes the good kind of pride to stretch out your limbs and take up your space.

Women are taught instead to step aside, to squeeze into the last inch of the elevator corner to make room for others, to hide themselves from view, to shine the spotlight elsewhere, when conversation takes a certain turn to retreat to the sink and dishes on cue.

There is certainly something to be said for selfless service and self-sacrificing surrender and where would the world be if it were not for the silent patience of our spiritual mothers? But there is a difference between giving of yourself because you choose to and giving of yourself because you don’t know what else to do, what else you can do.

There’s a difference between standing tall, doing good and noble work, and crouching over, spending all your energy watching where you go because you are afraid of stepping on someone’s toes. It’s not real service—not the kind that matters—if we’re just shuffling amongst bigger people, being cautious not to offend. To serve the world is to get big yourself and be in it as a real player.

Coach Jim used to always tell us on the basketball court, “Get big!” I can hear his voice now, always saying the same two things. First, sounding slightly annoyed, “Bounce pass!” (something we could never seem to remember) and “Get big!” which, as an exceptionally and irreparably small person, I took offense at. Occasionally I even felt like shouting back at him, “I can’t get big! Look at me!! Give me a pointer I can actually follow.”

But he just kept saying the same blasted thing: “Bounce pass! Get big!” Of course, the real purpose of playing sports is to get simple ideas through thick heads. Eventually I learned that a pass around my defender’s arms was statistically more successful than all the passes I kept attempting through their arms.

And I figured out that “Get big” had nothing to do with literal size. It meant: take up your space. Be a force to be reckoned with. Spindly appendages and all, show off your fierceness. Be imposing. Stretch. Fill your area. Loom over the ball as it approaches. Get in the way of the offense.

Make your body say something. Say, “I’m not backing down” with your body. Say, “You can’t get by me,” with your legs. Say, “I am after that ball,” with your arms. Say to your opponent, “I am ready to face you,” with the large look in your eye. Speak! Get big! Play ball!

Women, we are bent.

I wish I knew what to tell the men about a story like this one, but I don’t, except to say thank you to the ones like Jim who encouraged me not only on the court but later too to go on ahead and take up my space and not apologize. Thank you to those who’ve been the hands and feet of Jesus walking among women and lifting our heads. Thank you to men who have made it stop—the pushing down and the silencing of women.

After a long, long, long ailment, you are helping to heal us, and in being healers, you are being healed too. We are healing one another, don’t you see?

Tragically, religion gets misused time and again to keep women down, but, of course, what matters more is that Jesus raises women up and tells them to stand, to walk, to go, to sin no more.

Leaders of synagogues and churches get indigent to see this work Jesus is doing among women, setting them free from the evil spirit that keeps them bound and crippled.

In the story, it is lunacy that the religious leaders would prevent someone being set free on the Sabbath . . . what else is the Sabbath for if not to liberate the captive from evil? It is lunacy to resist, but the letter of the law has crippled these leaders, bent them away from the Spirit of God (“Whatever you do, Jesus, don’t set a woman loose on the Sabbath!”). Unlike the woman, they do not wish to stand tall and look out and see what God is really up to in the world.

But all this deters Jesus not. “Ought not this woman be set free?” he replies.

It is hard to argue with Jesus and this once got a whole crowd to their feet, rejoicing at the wonderful things Jesus does.

We were bent and now we are free.

Hallelujah. Amen.

Sermon based on Luke 13:10-17, originally preached on August 25, 2013 at Covenant Baptist Church in San Antonio, Texas. 

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Dawdling

I am a dawdler . . .
irreparably a dawdler.

Sometimes lingering . . .
results in just the spark
I needed.

Sometimes hours pass . . .
me by and I am late
to my schedule.

I am not getting enough done!
. . . Ever!

Every damn day I am late
to my plan,
My master plan for
a successful day
always falling by the wayside . . .

But. I am occasionally
wildly successful . . .
in my deviance
surprisingly genius . . .
in my idleness

And so, I am torn
between whipping this
flabby lazy lingering . . .
into shape
and letting her rolls
hang out so inspiration
has some love handles
it can grab as it
kisses me between the brows
where thoughts dangle . . .
waiting to dance

To Be and to Read

Let me be!
Let me be
in your gaze
as I am.
Let me be
in your arms
with my full-bodied feeling.

Must we always be correcting one another?
Do we really need these walls
bricked with subtle chiding?
Why are we so reserved
in our approval of one another?

What if I told you:
I wasn’t asking for your critique.
I was asking for your support.
I wasn’t asking for your input
or your advice or your opinion.
I just want to know
if you hear what I am saying to you.

When I write,
I am asking you to read it.

When I open my mouth,
I am asking you to listen.

When I tell my story,
I am hoping for your reverence.
That you will tread lightly.
That when I begin,
you will take off your shoes.

I worry this is selfish,
to want your real attentiveness,
but the deeper the well
from which I share,
the stronger the desire
for someone to share the drink
and savor it.

Also–I hope this counteracts
whatever selfishness is there–
I try to practice listening in return,
to hear what you are saying to me,
or what it is you are not saying,
but want to. I try to encourage
you to speak from the true place
inside your heart. I invite
you to let me see inside,
but I won’t rush you
if you’re not ready.

I sometimes suck at it
and fill my mind with assumptions
about you rather than
letting you tell me yourself
who you are.
I am sorry.
Sorry for guessing
instead of asking.
Sorry for failing to really look
where you were pointing.
Failing to hear the thing
you needed heard.

This is what we can do
for one another: re-read.
Eventually to hear
the underlying vibration
that floats between our words.

Somedays You Need a Hug

A repost (from May 13, 2013)

kyndallrae

Most days you awake a fighter
Determined to survive, thrive, and heal
Calling forth all you’ve got
Plus some borrowed grit
To keep the sprout of hope alive.

But somedays you just need a hug instead,
a caress, a gentle empathetic touch.
You wish to walk out on rehab,
find a hospital
where they will let you lie down,
sleep while they dress your wounds.

Somedays you just want somebody
to wash your cuts,
with tenderness to bathe you,
of the blood and grime,
to say, “You are beautiful
underneath all that pain.”

You want somebody to see your soul,
to think you a mystery worth exploring
a complexity to honor.
You long for the hands of a healer
to lovingly untangle
the knots in silver chain:
at the end, a locket
that only opens to gentle touch.

Somedays you want to be heard,
carried, held, loved.
Soft words whispered…

View original post 74 more words

On Loving God

I want to want to love God
(occasionally I do not
even want that).
I am at least that many steps
removed from loving God.
Does that seem alarming
in a minister?
To me it doesn’t feel scary.
It feels honest.

It feels like God might be okay
without my perfected adoration
with a somewhat one-sided relationship.
After all I’m just me
and cannot possibly be otherwise.
After all I’m still learning
how to see God’s wide-eyed
adoration of me, so crazy
a thing to behold
that it’s hard to trust it.
I am sometimes leery of
extravagance and of
simple plain love, aren’t you?
I want to trust it;
I am at least one step
removed from faith.

But it is still faith.

Visiting Your Pain

It’s like stirring up something yucky and murky, like stepping into a warm dirty lake where the mud swirls around your ankles and something with teeth is undoubtedly lurking in the muck.

“Don’t put your feet in! Don’t put your feet in!” cries the anti-wading patrol from the banks. But as you wriggle your toes in the slime, you just know this is only the beginning. You are going to have to dive.

You take off your shirt to prepare to leap. The shoreline protestors gasp in outrage and hurl shame like rocks to deter you. You give them only a sideways glance and recognize them for who they are—your fears and insecurities and oh, there’s their mayor, your Overachieving Perfectionism. You refuse to pay them heed, you mutter a curse under your breath, throw a crude gesture toward the stone-casting crowd, and they are more scandalized than ever.

Just to defy them, you step out of your shorts—you will make this dive in your underwear, and even though your insecurities are laughing and pointing at the way your belly looks, their voices are barely carrying over the water now that you’ve decided your bravery is more important than their approval.

You are in up to your knees now. Something nips at the back of your calf, and you flinch. This is going to hurt. This is going to hurt. This is going to change everything.

Hell. Everything has already changed. You are standing half-naked in the middle of where you never wanted to go and you’ve tuned out the screaming angsts that used to control your every move. Where else can you go now but in and down and under and through the depths of your pain until you emerge like a glistening saint from the Jordan?

August

It is August here
waiting on the heat to pass,
waiting, waiting, waiting
me and you waiting
for news, for open doors,
for closed ones,
for words to be said to us
words like a fall drizzle
on parched brown earth.

It is August here
in our Texas souls—
no break in sight
no shade-clouds forming
just the faint memory
of passing seasons
to hold our hope.

Is August where memories
come to die?
Of heat stroke, the cooler thoughts
faint, I try to revive them
with a dunk in the pool.
Splash water on their stoned faces
but even water isn’t cool in August.
Despair settles in alongside
thick air. How come
grass dies and mosquitoes live on?
This must be hell—
to wait so long that flowers wilt
and gnats abound.
It will never rain again! And oh,
what’s the use of a sprinkler—
its sprinkles are devoured like
crumbs before a ravenous beast.

It is August here
and why did February get
only 28 days when
it could have been August?
Even the calendar joined
the conspiracy
against us.

It is August here
inside my sun-torched heart
I lather on aloe nightly
and morningly and hourly
and still I peel,
flakes fall off, I cringe
at the sight of me,
caked in crusted skin,
having baked so long
in blaring pain—
my body protests!
My burnt heart so tender
to the touch she gingerly
peels off her clothes
and hides in sheets
she pretends are cool.

It is August here!
And we are waiting still,
you and I, to heal,
to be heard,
to feel a breeze upon our face,
to taste a drop
of sky-sent moisture,
to leave the lonely, lagging
listless longing, to fall
like orange leaves
from an autumn tree together,
tumbled, to make enticing
piles where dreams leap in
to play.

It is August here
inside of us and without.
Eat a watermelon.
Watch a movie, in the dark,
with the air conditioning on.
Drink a cold drink.
Drink two.
Paint a picture,
or look at one.
Say the words
that are in your soul
and ask one person,
“Please listen.”
Write a love letter,
then mail it to yourself.
This way,
August cannot kill you.

Why I Don’t Read Your Poetry

(Disclaimer: I know virtually nothing about real poetry. This is merely my very amateur opinion and gut instinct on the matter. Also, the title is tongue-in-cheek, not a veiled reference to anyone in particular, in case you worried I was talking to you.)

I think of words and how they are used,
how big words should be used only when they are the right words–
do not use a rare word when a simple word works best.
It is useful and good to stretch your vocabulary over time,
here and there, little bit by little bit,
but do not overextend your vocabulary,
which is the mistake many aspiring poets make.

Did you really know that word
before you flippantly plopped it
in the middle of your soul’s expression?
If you haven’t been intimate with a particular word in the past,
it is unlikely to help you conceive a phrase or a line
worthy of your lineage.
The word has to belong somewhere in your history, in your psyche,
for it to come forth in the poem in an authentic way.

Quit pretending to be a dictionary.
Close the thesaurus.
We can tell you’re still awkward with those words,
that you haven’t made it past second base.

How do you develop a wider base
of words to say what it is you have to say?
Fall in love with language.
Head over heels, fall.
Have an affair with a book,
then another one with a poem.
Get so very curious
when you meet a new word
that you peel off its clothes.
Be a conversationalist–
that doesn’t mean talk.
It means ask questions.
When you find beautiful words or beautiful people,
be a captivated reader of them.
Listen before you speak.
Listen more than you speak.
Read more than you write.
Use less letters and more soul.
When you open your mouth or your pen,
Always tell the truth.
If you’ve wrapped those multitudinous syllables
around you like a bathrobe–stop it!
Get naked.
Say something that exposes.
If you’re still trying to impress us,
that’s cheap lingerie, a laced distraction
from the one thing you’re really meant to say.

It is scary, I know, to pare down to the simplicity
of spirit that allows you to speak your true voice.
Start with four-letter words if you must, or no words.
Groans and hums and silences are how poems begin.

(Postscript to my fellow preachers:
this is equally true of preaching, yes?
Replace “poem” with “sermon,” and
“words” with “Word” and
I think I might be right.)

The Locked Box

(Audio here.)

Once upon a time, there was a little girl, and the little girl had a magic box, and inside the magic box lay a great treasure, though the box was small. The box had been passed on to the girl from her grandfather when he died, who had received it from his grandfather, who received it from his great uncle, and so on. It had been in the family for generations, so long in fact, that no one quite remembered what precisely the treasure inside the box was, for it had not been opened in a very long time.

Throughout the family history, many feuds had erupted over who got the box next, as it passed without much rhyme or reason from one generation to the next. Sometimes to the first-born, sometimes to the last-born, sometimes to the son, sometimes to the daughter—the box was passed along to whomever the box so desired, but there was always much dissent among the children of the next generation as to whether the box had chosen wisely. It was even rumored that many years ago, blood had been shed in a duel for the box, but no matter what, the box always ended up where the box wanted. The fights continued, despite their futility.

When the little girl got the box, she was very much surprised as no one expected the box to choose her. She was very small and young and unaccomplished, and yet still the box bypassed all the more worthy members of the family and came to be in her possession. She treasured this box very, very much for it was the only precious thing she’d ever owned. She set it high on a shelf in her room, and she admired it at length every night before she fell asleep.

One evening, while gazing at her box, she had an idea, and this idea was so moving, she did not sleep a wink the rest of the night. In the morning, she ran to her father right away. “Papa,” she inquired, “I’d like to know: Where’s the key to my box?” Her father started and raised his eyebrows. “The key? Why would you want the key?”

“Well, I was just thinking, I’d really like to open my box.”

Open your box? My dear, why would you need to open it? Isn’t it enough that you have the box? Just having the box in your possession, why, that is so much more than most people in our family have been honored to do!”

The girl furrowed her brow. “Well, yes, I suppose so. But I just keep thinking, maybe the box chose me for a reason, and maybe I would better understand that reason if I could peak inside and know what I have?”

Her father frowned. “The reason you have the box is to keep it safe until it is your turn to pass it on. That is how it has always been in our family, and you wouldn’t want to mess with tradition now would you?”

“No. No, I don’t suppose I would want that . . . but still . . .” the girl sighed and retreated to her room. She took the box off the shelf and held it in her lap. She turned it round and round, examined the lock, shook it gently to see if she could hear anything inside. She was meant to open it; she just knew it. But how? She didn’t even know where to find a key, and if her father knew where the key was, he wasn’t about to tell her where it was.

“I know where the key is.” The girl jumped at the sound of her mother’s voice. Her mother was standing at the doorway edge, peering in at her.

“You do?” she never expected her mother to know, seeing as how she had married into this family and its strange traditions. “How do you know and where is it and how could I get it?” she gushed all at once.

Her mother smiled. “I have always felt I was meant to help you open it, and so I’ve been doing some digging to find out about the key—it was the only way I am able to help you, being an outsider.” Then her mother’s face became grave. “But what I learned makes a mother’s heart grow cold. The key is hidden far away and you will have to embark on a long and dangerous journey to retrieve it.”

“But I must go!” said the girl decidedly.

Her mother sighed. “I knew you would say that, if I told you. I am afraid for you, but I cannot go with you. It is a journey only the box-bearer can make. Are you sure you want to?”

The girl hesitated, but she already knew her answer. “Yes, I’m sure. This is why I was chosen.”

“Yes, I believe you’re right.”

“Mother? I have another question. When was the last time the box-bearer tried to open the box?”

“I do not know. Many, many, many generations ago.”

“Why has no one tried to open it since?”

“I do not know that either. I think perhaps your grandfather thought having the box on his shelf was nicer than facing the dangers of hunting down the key.”

“Well, I disagree.”

“Me too, my child. Me too.”

And that was the beginning of the box-bearer’s journey to find the key . . .

************************

You know that drawer in your home, where random stuff accumulates? The place where, among other things, you collect keys? Keys to old locks, keys that you can’t remember what they go to, keys that you don’t need very often, but might just need again. Eventually you’ve got so many keys it is too daunting to ever pull them out because it would take hours to sort through and find out what goes where, but you’re too afraid to throw them away just in case there’s something that needs to be unlocked.

Well, imagine that the spiritual life is like sorting through a box of keys. It is slow and tedious work. But this is your Spiritual Work—not the shifting through keys per se, but the Unlocking of Locked Things. Spiritual life is this: unlocking your gratitude, unlocking your joy, unlocking your freedom, your talent, your capacity for love, unlocking your call, unlocking your inner spring, your true wisdom, your vivacious spirit. Unlock, unlock, unlock.

It’s like this: God planted so many good things inside us when we were first formed by his hands, and yet evil came along and twisted things shut and added padlocks, and though by the grace of God we’ve been forgiven, it is a life long process to open back up. Sometimes we give up on the spiritual process of healing and opening because it feels as fruitless and time consuming as sorting through the junk drawer, looking for old keys to unlock lost treasures, but there’s a nagging curiosity that eventually draws us back to the work of sorting, unlocking, sorting, unlocking.

It’s the vice of greed that shuts this operation down. Greed is shutting the doors that were meant to swing open. Greed is tightening and closing and grasping and shutting and locking and hoarding and clutching—that is, taking the stuff that was meant to be gift and breath to us and fearfully squeezing the life out of it.

**************************

So this man approaches Jesus and wants Jesus to tell his brother to give him part of the inheritance; Jesus is a man of justice, surely he can arbitrate. You can almost hear Jesus sigh; this is not what the Kingdom is about. But with Jesus, no one’s question is ever dismissed. Every thing you could think to say to Jesus—self-centered or distracted or misplaced as it might be—everything you say, he’s ready to open up an opportunity for you to learn. And so that’s what he did with this man. He looked him in the eye and said, let me tell you a story about a rich man.

Only, it’s a pretty boring story. The man is rich. He gets richer when his crops do well. So he plans to build some big barns to store the grain. And once it is stored, then he’ll know he’s set for life, and he can sit back, relax, and enjoy life. So, basically, it’s as if I were to tell you, Once upon a time, a middle class man was doing fairly well for himself, and one year he did even better than usual, and he thought to himself, “I’m going to open a retirement account, and once I have ample goods laid up for many years, I will finally relax, eat, drink, and be merry.”

See what I mean? This is hardly a story. It’s just a description of, you know, our lives. In essence, retirement planning, against which there are no laws or commandments that I’m aware of. In fact, it’s what the responsible people do; they plan ahead. This is the kind of man who would make my parents proud. Then comes the twist in the story. “You fool!” says God to the man, which is startling for me and for some reason I think of Gandalf right before he goes plummeting off the cliff with the balrog, “Fly you fools!” and that just seems a little dramatic for this ordinary, average, just-like-every-body-else man’s life. Turns out the man’s about to die, so I guess that is a little bit dramatic. But we didn’t see it coming. You’re never thinking about an early death when you’re planning for retirement. You’re planning for a long life, and surely there’s nothing foolish about that, unless of course, you’re about to die and your last day would have been better spent playing with the children rather than balancing the books, but who can predict that?

So what’s Jesus’ point? Never make plans? “Take care! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed,” are Jesus’ exact words and this brings us right back to the whole business of clutching vs. opening, locking versus unlocking. Here’s a man who has been blessed, and he wants to lock his blessings up in a barn, and when his stuff outgrows the barn and threatens to spill over, why, he’ll just tear up that barn and build a bigger one. Can’t have grain peaking out the crevices, now can we? That might start to feel like abundance, if you can see the excess, and that’s the thing greed hates the very most, for you to notice how much you have. Bigger barns, bigger storage units, bigger houses, bigger closets—these help to hide the truth of what you have so you can keep on feeling panicky about what you don’t have or what you might lose if you don’t hold on tight enough.

Greed is not just about money and possessions, by the way, though those things can certainly trip you up. Greed is anytime we hold on too tight. It’s anytime we believe the lie that there isn’t enough. It’s anytime we shut the door on trust. It’s anytime we operate out of fear of the future rather than with a sense of adventure. It’s like we keep passing locked boxes on from one generation to the next and never opening them. We’re too afraid to take a real peak, to enjoy what we’ve been given.

I’ve been reading a book called Daring Greatly by Brene Brown, and she writes about the discomfort of what she calls “foreboding joy,” that is, how joy makes us vulnerable because we grow afraid that the joy means we’re about to face loss. Have you ever felt this way? Often we use the phrase, “too good to be true” because we just know something bad is bound to happen. Maybe we even lower our expectations in life so as to save ourselves the disappointment. She interviewed one man who said he used to think the best way to live life was to expect the worst—that way, if the worst happened, you were prepared; if it didn’t happen, you could be pleasantly surprised. Then his wife died in a car accident, and he realized, expecting the worst didn’t prepare him at all. Now he grieves all the wonderful moments he shared with her but didn’t really enjoy because he was “preparing” . . . his new commitment to her, even now that she’s gone, is to fully enjoy each moment. No one can avoid, or even prepare for, tragedy. In her research, Brene discovered that the way to face the vulnerability of joy and have the courage to embrace the joy anyway, despite its uncertainty, is to practice gratitude. Not to feel grateful, but to have actual concrete practices in your life that help you pause and be grateful. When she interviewed people who had endured horrific tragedies, gratitude was one thing she discovered as a common denominator among them—after facing the worst, they had learned to slow down and appreciate what they had.

It’s amazing how the gifts we’ve been given can make us feel vulnerable—we want to lock our kids, our spouses, our parents, our homes—in a great big barn where nothing and no one can get hurt. We think we’re being safe, but Jesus says, “Watch out! Be on your guard” against such behaviors, because eventually you’ll stop being capable of enjoying what is in front of you.

Where greed is concerned, here’s the key that fits the lock: gratitude. Practicing gratitude is the key that unlocks your box, your barn, and the safety deposit box where you’ve foolishly stowed your joy. Sometimes gratitude feels like the labored first steps of a very long journey towards wholeness. Other times, certain gratitudes are downright powerful enough to smash those greed-locks to bits.

When the little girl embarks on her journey to find the key to unlock her box, we don’t know whether she’s going to make it back. We don’t know what dangers, what obstacles, what setbacks she’ll encounter. All we know is that she decided it was worth it to risk it. To risk the unknown rather than adhere to the tradition of safely preserving the box but never opening it. You’ve been given life, a great gift from God. You can use that life, live it, open it up, share it with the world. Or you can build a big practical barn and save your life for a rainy day. You can set your box on a shelf in the bedroom and admire it. Or you can set out to find the key. No one knows if you will return if you do. No one knows what dangers, what obstacles, what setbacks you may encounter. It’s a story that doesn’t yet have an ending. But you get to choose whether it is worth it to risk. To risk disappointment that you might know delight, risk heartache that you might know a full heart.

I recommend this: Live. Unlock. Let go. Give thanks. Fly you fools. Amen.

 

(Yesterday’s sermon from Covenant Baptist Church.)

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