At the Crux
Forgive me, but it’s the only metaphor I have right now, the one of surfing, though I’ve never laid eyes on an actual huge wave. I’ve felt the waters dip and rise before, but now it’s the waters rolling, breaking, carrying. Once before, the waves looked like a terrible way to go out, but now they look like the only way to live. Here’s one rolling now. Already, I feel the force beneath me suck back and lower like a deep inhale before a great lift and launch.
After such a wave as in the hospital with Titus last summer, it became impossible to pry him off my hip. When he drinks the juice, he thinks I taste it, too. He believes we’re moving in the right direction when my eyes are locked into his. It’s been much longer untangling his id from mine than with my other children. At night, now, he just needs to hear us and begs that we sing him Jingle Bells and Twinkle Twinkle and Oh God, You My God. It has taken us two years to be able to lay him in a bed, and then at least show him that we intend to spend Mama-Daddy time without a pile of kids on top. Often we stand at the door singing for 30 minutes before we can slink away. After that, he’ll say our names to see if we’re still in earshot enough to respond.
Last night, however, when he began calling our names, my oldest on the top bunk began singing — every word to the first verse of I’ll fly away. I stood in the hall, tangled enough into each of them to know that Isaac was singing through a smile and to know that Titus was snuzzling harder into his blanket. A tension loosened up in their room, which is exactly what happens when one serves another. I stood there listening, dropping my tightened shoulders into the gift my oldest was giving. I felt my own smile down to my bones. His lips were honeycombs.
I believed in Jesus 15 years ago this month. Yet suddenly now, I am completely convinced all over again that He lives within me, that I have right now everything I need for life and godliness. I am still that girl from the dorm-room floor, whose baptism was a remaking. I still walk around asking how I got here after such rebellion. Those waters that covered me then, how could I have known that life in Christ really is a river of life?
I’m watching our gifts unfold, mine and Seth’s and my babies’. I’m learning that they were called out and written into us before the foundations of the world. I see that Jesus manifests them. This must be the thing that happens when you wake up to the belief that Jesus lives within. You see Jesus in the beautiful gifts of others, and you begin to realize eternity in them. Suddenly the power of God isn’t the mystical thing merely considered in word by theologians. Suddenly the power of God is realized in actuality, a life full of spiritual fruit (those invisible things) and also a life full of the ACTS of God in the saints: the songs written and sung, the people fed, the team organized, the healers sent out, and the church ONE.
I am swept up now in the water, and let me express it, I have no idea where I’m going or when or exactly how, but I know my calling. I know the what. I know that the righteousness of God is at the very crux of why I wrote my first poem, why I fell in love with Emily Dickinson, and why I am awake at 5 AM to write here. I know that gospel is the crux of why my girlfriend Laura could organize and lead (shepherd) an army to feed a tent city. I know the inklings in my Jude to love music and play guitar are how he will fight many battles.
Even still, the gifts of God are not the point here, though I earnestly desire to prophesy to you. The point is LIFE, how it flows in us, like rivers and oceans on the earth. All, in its way, flows in a figure eight. To God. For God. In God. Oh, now I’m a diver, though I can’t swim well. Deep has called into the deep of us all, and I want to hear His voice, hear Him sing over me now.
Are you awake, church, to what we have been called to do? What is at the very crux of your life?