2007년 12월 26일 수요일

God as Dungeon Master

To those of you who aren't D&D geeks, that's not anything weird, sinister, or kinky. The guy who runs the game is a Dungeon Master or DM.

I first concieved of the paradigm of God as the ultimate Dungeon Master back when I was still married to Craig, who for all his faults was the best DM I've ever played with, bar none. The DM is basically god of the gaming universe. There are rules, but he can choose to bend them. Or not. He can choose to fudge the die rolls.

I asked Craig once what he did if we didn't go into the tavern where the old Gypsy woman was spinning the tale of the nefarious vampire we were supposed to go destroy. Craig pointed out that he had more means of getting messages to us and he could come up with somebody if the old Gypsy woman didn't work.

Now, that said, let's move a moment to one of my pet peeves with my preschoolers. Bear with me, they tie together. As you'll see quickly.

Every day we have a Teacher's Helper. It's just the next kid down the attendance sheet from the kid that did it yesterday. Unles the kid who is supposed to be TH is absent, and then the next kid gets it.

The kids drive me crazy with wanting to know who will be TH tomorrow, the next day, the day after that. I don't want to tell them because I hate being forced to commit to something that can change. I can tell Ye Eun that she'll be Teacher's Helper tomorrow, then she's absent and Ha Rin is Teacher's Helper.

And what does it matter? They rotate. Show up every day and you'll be Teacher's Helper roughly once a week. Be late, like Min Gun usually is, and you'll blow your chance most weeks and everybody else gets to be TH after only four days instead of waiting five for their next turn.

But for ten months now there's been the relentless pestering about who will be Teacher's Helper tomorrow and the day after and the day after.

"I'll tell you when you need to know!" I tell them.

And I get one of my Presence of God moments. The "Sound familiar?" moment. The "Somebody has to keep telling YOU that. If you can't listen to Me, you could at least listen to yourself."

But I want to know! What's my next assignment? What am I gonna be doing next year? What's my five year plan?

Never mind I've never once had a five year plan that worked. In fact, making a five year plan -- which all the Success Gurus tell you is absolutely necessary to avoid wasting your life -- is a sure fire plan for disaster for me. I've never had one that doesn't totally blow up in my face and send me 180 degrees off from the direction I'd thought I'd be heading in.

But not having a Five Year Plan drives me as crazy as it drives the preschoolers crazy not to know who will be Teacher's Helper on Monday.

Why is it harder to let go of the admonitions of Success Gurus, whose names I can't even recall, than to let go of the admonitions of GOD, for crying out loud?

2007년 12월 24일 월요일

2007년 12월 12일 수요일

Running on Empty

Looking out at the road rushing under my wheels
Looking back at the years gone by like so many summer fields
In sixty-five I was seventeen and running up 1-0-1
I don't know where I'm running now, I'm just running on

Running on - running on empty
Running on - running blind
Running on - running into the sun
But I'm running behind

Gotta do what you can just to keep your love alive
Trying not to confuse it with what you do to survive
In sixty-nine I was twenty-one and I called the road my own
I don't know when that road turned onto the road I'm on

Running on - running on empty
Running on - running blind
Running on - running into the sun
But I'm running behind

Everyone I know, everywhere I go
People need some reason to believe
I don't know about anyone but me
If it takes all night, that'll be all right
If I can get you to smile before I leave

Looking out at the road rushing under my wheels
I don't know how to tell you all just how crazy this life feels
I look around for the friends that I used to turn to to pull me through
Looking into their eyes I see them running too

Running on - running on empty
Running on - running blind
Running on - running into the sun
But I'm running behind

Honey you really tempt me
You know the way you look so kind
I'd love to stick around but I'm running behind
(running on)
You know I don't even know what I'm hoping to find
(running blind)
Running into the sun but I'm running behind

2007년 10월 9일 화요일

2007년 10월 8일 월요일


I've been in a terrible funk lately, feeling as if nothing I do really matters to anybody. Sunday morning found me curled up on the floor of my shower, crying, broken down from feeling so totally purposeless and alone. I cried out to God to show me that anything I did mattered to anybody, that I was some good to somebody in this life.

I got up this morning, still pretty depressed. I cued up "He Knows My Name" to try to lift my spirits:

And I opened my email. I found this notification from Blogger:

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Somebody was looking for "aborting a 20 week fetus...":

I was 100% pro choice until seeing this posting. I am 17 weeks pregnant and was considering "my options" while I await my amnio results. This site absolutely convinced me that at this point it would be murder to abort my child if it has downs syndrome. It actually made my "choice" easier because I will never abort it now.

I invited Anon to keep in touch, and provided some Down Syndrome links.

He knows my name
He knows my every thought
He sees each tear that falls
And He hears me when I call

2007년 9월 29일 토요일

There is something seriously wrong with me

I just finished putting away the dulcimer hammers I bought in Mongolia.

I just finished a trip to Mongolia. I rode horses on the steppes. I ate goat. I was in the party van.

Why is my default setting, "My life sucks." Because I don't have a mate? Because I don't have much of a career. Oh, boo hoo! Look at my Facebook, for crying out loud! I have friends. I travel. I'm healthy. I have fun. I have a great church.

I can write it off to depression and PTSD, but sometimes I think it just gets down to forgetting to be grateful. How long ago was it I realized that no matter how much anybody has, there will still be an infininte amount of stuff he does not have. Even Bill Gates doesn't own Jupiter, can't go to the moon, whatever. If you look at what you don't have, you're looking at the hole and missing the donut.

I need to look at the donut more.

2007년 9월 8일 토요일

Words from C. S. Lewis

But if you are a poor creature -- poisoned by a wretched upbringing in some house full of vulgar jealousies and senseless quarrels -- saddled, by no choice of your own, with some loathsome sexual perversion -- nagged day in and day out by an inferiority complex that makes you snap at your best friends -- do not despair. He knows all about it. You are one of the poor whom He blessed. He knows what a wretched machine you are trying to drive. Keep on. Do what you can. One day (perhaps in another world, but perhaps far sooner than that) he will fling it on the scrap heap and give you a new one. And then you may astonish us all -- not least yourself: for you have learned yoru driving in a hard school.

2007년 8월 19일 일요일

Christ still died for it

Acts 20:28b: "Be shepherds of the Church of God, which He bought with His blood."

As frustrated as we get with the church, Jesus died for it. Them. Us. We have to take it on faith that it's worth loving. Though sometimes it doesn't seem that way.

Here are some of the commentaries:

  • Gill's Exposition
  • Jamieson Fausset Brown
  • Miracle reunion

    I almost didn't go. I was feeling kinda bummed and anti-social, and unstructured get-social occasions are often very stressful for me. But I elected to stick around since so many of the women's fellowship are leaving the country soon. I stuck around for fellowship, and afterward to go to supper with them.

    Yesterday a new guy in Korean class had introduced me to a new pizza place. I suggested that we go there. Ann, one of the other girls, endorsed the place, particularly their garlic bread. So it was off to the pizza place we went.

    Since I was the one who knew where it was, I led the way and was the first in the door. So I sat at the furthest seat, which was facing the windows at the entrance. This way I could make room for the others that were following me.

    As we were enjoying our pizza, I looked up to see a Korean girl addressing me. "Excuse me," she asked. "Are you Christina?"

    "Oh my God! HELEN!"

    It was an old student from my old hagwan, a girl I'd tried to contact for two years to no avail. I coudlnt' get any email server to send mail to her account! And there she was, standing in front of me, in the flesh.

    I got tangled up in the chairs in my rush to leap up and grab her. We stood there hugging and crying in the pizza place.

    Helen had been walking past with some friends, and they'd pointed into the pizza place to say that there were a whole bunch of foreigners. Helen didn't think it could possibly be me; she was sure I was in the states. She called her mother and her mother said that it wouldn't hurt to go in and ask. If the person who looked so much like Christina wasn't Christina after all, no harm done. But if it really was Christina, did she want to miss the chance?

    And how did she recognize me? I'm older, and I aged a lot living with my mom. My hair is much greyer. I got it cut. I stopped wearing my contact lenses and went back to wearing glasses. I've changed. But she spotted me.

    So many choices would have prevented this reunion. Deciding to go home rather than be sociable. Deciding to eat someplace else. Deciding to sit with my back to the entrance. Helen's friends not commenting on the gaggle of waygooks. Helen convincing herself that it couldnt' be me because I was in America. But there it is. And there she was. I held her beautiful face in my hands. I heard her voice. I gave her my phone number.

    She had to leave right away. I found out just now that she was on her way back to class from supper break from an academy she's going to. But we're gonna meet during supper break next weekend. I'll see her again in a week!

    What's really freaky is this:

    My morning glories have been ailing since I got back from China. I prayed over them this morning, just saying that it'd be a very nice gesture of affection. That part of why I ache for a mate so much is that I want those little gestures of affection, and that I'd really like one and that a miraculous healing for my sick houseplants would be nice.

    Instead I got Helen. Who beats a healed houseplant any day of the week.

    I'm stunned. Coincidence? I think not.

    2007년 8월 17일 금요일

    2007년 8월 16일 목요일

    Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof

    I get frustrated with my preschoolers, always asking who will be Teacher's Helper tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow. I keep telling them not to worry that far ahead, just deal with who will be Teacher's Helper today, because if I tell them, "Sung Bin tomorrow, then Min Gun on Monday, and Ye Eun on Tuesday," Sung Bin will be sick tomorrow and it'll throw the whole schedule off and Ye Eun will be ticked off that she'd been promised Tuesday. "Don't worry about it," I tell them. "We'll deal with it when we get to it."

    And I wonder why it's so important to them to know who will be Teacher's Helper on Friday, anyway.

    Every time we get into one of those tussels I think of how I need to be trusting God to tell me things when I need to know them, and not be all in a tizzy wanting to know what the future's gonna hold.

    I wouldn't mind being single so much if I knew that I was going to be going on a mission to Sudan and getting kidnapped. I'd not want to have a husband in agony over me. If I'm single because hardship is ahead, or even martyrdom, I'd not mind.

    I'd not mind being single so much if I knew Mr. Right was around the corner, just not ready yet.

    I'd not mind drifting along in my work life if I knew what was ahead.

    It's the not knowing that drives me bats.

    And in that I'm like the preschoolers.

    I've really absorbed the whole "Five Year Plan" thing to the point where I sound like Chairman Mao! God will let me know when I need to know.

    But I still don't like it.

    2007년 7월 22일 일요일

    Small fear, but fear conquored. For now.

    The girls that have been the core of our praise and worship team are heading back to Canada soon. They'd been asking for somebody to step forward.

    We got a keyboard player, a Korean fellow called Poet. But no native English speakers, nobody who knows the music or who could do the co-ordination and lead the congregation came forward. So, with my widow's mite I stepped up.

    I've been really struggling with this. The whole music thing is very sensitive to me. And the girls just have no appreciation of how difficult it is for me. There they are, three beautiful, talented young women fresh out of studying music at university, and who do we have following them? A frumpy middle-aged woman who was in chorus in high school, a quarter of a century ago. Yikes!

    I've found the prospect very scary. I'd been praying for somebody else to show up, somebody else to volunteer. But nobody's coming forward.

    And the thought that kept going through my head is, "I'm nobody's first choice." Well, evidently I am Somebody's first choice, since nobody else is stepping to the plate, and I can assume that God can muster somebody when He wants somebody. Not that that keeps me from feeling like I'll come across like The Fat Lady in the painting in the Harry Potter movies. So I was praying about it, and finally went to the Bible and prayed some more and said, "Show me what I'm supposed to be doing here. This scares me. Am I really supposed to be doing this?"

    I opened up the Bible at random and got Psalm 68: 24-27a:

    Your procession has come into view, O God, the procession of my God and King into the sanctuary.
    In front are the singers, after them the musicians, with them are the maidens playing tambourines.
    Praise God in the great congegation; praise the Lord in the assemly of Israel.
    There is the little tribe of Benjamin, leading them....

    I'm taking that to be a "go ahead and make music." I can be "the little tribe of Benjamin", something small, something not particularly impressive, and still lead the procession, so to speak.

    Then I glanced to the next page and saw Psalm 69: 19a and 20b:

    You know how I am scorned, disgraced and shamed; .... I looked for sympathy, but there was none, for comforters, but I found none.

    'Nuf said. I understand that and don't need to elaborate.

    Then further on, Psalm 69:30-31:

    I will praise God's name in song and glorify him with thanksgiving.
    This will please the Lord more than an ox, more than a bull with its horns and hoofs.

    Personally, I can't see my music being much of an offering. God wanted an unblemished firstborn, not the leftovers. But the fear certainly can be offered up.

    Well, I got through yesterday. I joined in the rehearsal, and got through the praise and worship, and Trish told me I did great. Even though I had to fudge through a couple of sections where I coudn't come close to managing the chords that fast.

    Victory is victory. I'm gonna rejoice in it. Nobody but God knows how scary that was for me and how much it took for me to do it.

    2007년 7월 21일 토요일

    In Everything Give Thanks

    From "A Devotion"

    18 in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. (1 THESSALONIANS 5:18 NKJ)

    Just because things are not going the way you would like is no excuse. The Bible clearly says that God's will for you is to be
    thankful -- always.

    The Bible does NOT teach that we're to thank God for evil, because God is not responsible for evil. .... What the Bible does teach, is that we should always be thankful -- even when evil happens. Being thankful is part of an attitude of faith, and faith will overcome evil.


    God doesn't do bad things to people. He's not the one who comes to steal, kill, and destroy. That's the devil, and people
    motivated by selfishness and demonic influence. So you have the devil "to thank" for the bad things in life.

    Yet, during the bad things in life, we are to continue thanking God, no matter how we feel. This helps us keep our eyes on God and keep things in perspective.

    No matter how dark and hopeless the situation may look -- give thanks. This is God's will for you.

    Thank God for the opportunity to see His deliverance. Thank Him for His mercy and grace. Thank Him for His faithfulness. Thank Him for defeating the devil and setting you free in Christ. Thank Him that Jesus is Lord. Thank Him that your name is
    written in Heaven. Thank Him for loving you and taking good care of you. Thank Him!

    SAY THIS: In everything I will give thanks to God for what He is doing. All God does is for my good.

    A tough one

    "But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you."
    Luke 6:27-28

    I was fighting with my friends at CH Refugees. And it was getting nasty. They were nasty, I was nasty. And I was interpreting their nastiness not as sarcasm or just trying to win an argument, but as a fierce personal attack.

    At some level I recognized that we were all under attack, that there was something outside of us, working with us to generate hostility and bitterness and resentment and (in my case), even hatred. I really was starting to only see people who were condeming me for wanting to protect the dying, and wanting to just attack them.

    And when you clear away the crap, I don't hate the other members of EMHAC. They're my friends. But what I was feeling was pretty nasty. And it followed me and turned inward. I got lost on the subway trying to get to Itaeowon. A place I've been to scores of time! I was so frustrated and discouraged and demoralized. And I realized I was under some sort of attack. But all I could do was hate Korea, hate the subways, hate my life.

    Jesus' admonition isn't just niceness. It's a key way to get out of that downward spiral. It's a spiritual strategy for resisting attack, for armoring oneself against Satan's attempts to derail us.

    It's a lesson I need to internalize. I need to learn to recognize spiritual attacks the way I recognize flashbacks.

    2007년 7월 8일 일요일

    The Wedding at Cana

    I love this story, John 2:1-11, for what you can see about Jesus, the years before his ministry, and his relationship with Mary.

    1On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus' mother was there, 2and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. 3When the wine was gone, Jesus' mother said to him, "They have no more wine."

    Mary simply takes it as a given that this is something Jesus can fix. What has he been doing at home for the past 30 years?

    4"Dear woman, why do you involve me?" Jesus replied, "My time has not yet come."

    "Mom! Not now!"

    5His mother said to the servants, "Do whatever he tells you."

    Notice that she doesn't get into any sort of debate with Jesus. She assumes that he'll be a dutiful son and attend to the problem his mother brought to him.

    Then she tells the servants, in essence, "Whatever weird, inexplicable instuctions you get, follow them." This speaks to prior experience with Jesus taking care of situations in a miraculous way.

    Though the rest of the story is the part people focus on, to me the main thing it does is illustrate what went before -- that Jesus had been doing miracles behind closed doors for his family long enough that his mother took it as a given that he could -- and would -- fix things.

    And I guess, given how trivial those matters must have been -- running out of wine at a wedding feast is a social gaffe, hardly on a par with demon possession, or being deaf or lame or blind or dead. But it's as if nothing is too small to capture Jesus' attention if we bring it to him.

    6Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons.[a]

    7Jesus said to the servants, "Fill the jars with water"; so they filled them to the brim.

    8Then he told them, "Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet."

    They did so, 9and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew. Then he called the bridegroom aside 10and said, "Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now."

    11This, the first of his miraculous signs, Jesus performed in Cana of Galilee. He thus revealed his glory, and his disciples put their faith in him.

    2007년 7월 6일 금요일

    "We Shall Be Like Jesus"

    From A Devotion

    1 JOHN 3:2 NKJ
    2 Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is
    revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.

    God's plan is to change you. He will not quit until you are like Jesus Christ.

    What I hang onto is "It has not yet been revealed what we shall be." Often I look at myself and think, "I wish God would take a little more pride in His workmanship." But nobody's finished 'til they're dead. Looking at myself with such a critical eye makes no more sense than walking into the kitchen on Thanksgiving morning, looking at the pale raw turkey, and saying, "Yuck! Who would eat THAT?!"

    ROMANS 8:29 NKJ
    29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.

    God has already made the decision. You WILL be like Jesus! (It may take awhile -- but God has plenty of time.)

    Surely this doesn't mean an identical physical appearance, but perfection. Perfection morally, spiritually -- and yes, even
    physically and mentally.

    So don't be discouraged with where you are now. God is still at work and He is no quitter.

    6 being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus

    How is God doing this? Primarily through His Word. So, stay in the Word. The more you expose yourself to the accurate Word of God, the more you will be changed into the likeness of Jesus Christ.

    Though it's hard to keep that perspective in daily life!

    2007년 7월 4일 수요일

    What God has been saying

    I borrowed a book from Pastor Dave, Rebuilding Your Broken World by Gordon MacDonald.

    There's a lot of meat in this, but I'm gonna take a time-out to look at this:

    "When there has been a broken-world experience and the rebuilding process is under way, one should taken an inventory of what God has been saying."

    I was feeling hopeless, abandoned, unwanted by God and other people. Useless. Broken.

    I think of Myron, who I met in the institution where I used to work. Myron rocked my world.

    Superficially, Myron is a short, deformed, retarded guy. He can't talk. He can't dress himself. He can't bathe unassisted. His legs are askew, so he walks and runs with an awkward, shambling gait. He's missing quite a few teeth.

    He's breathtakingly beautiful to me.

    There was a moment when I realized that there is not a thing wrong with Myron. That he's a masterpiece of God's handiwork, exactly as he is, missing teeth, bent legs, linguistic limitations and all. And when I started letting Myron be Myron, and started just enjoying his presence, I learned something wonderful: When Myron loved you, you stayed loved.

    Staff that knew him but worked in other parts of the institution would come to the home were Myron lived, when they were stressed out. Some staffer would come in the door and call out, "Where's my lovin'?"

    Myron would give his little hoot and take off in a shambling run around the patio. The staffer would chase him for a while, catch him, give him a little hug. And sometimes in return, Myron would do a little sign of affection that's impossible to describe. A simple thing. And the staffer would walk out and his feet wouldn't touch the ground.

    In retrospect, I think that sometimes being with Myron was like what being with Jesus was like during the Incarnation. It's not that He did anything spectacular necessarily. It might have been the smallest gesture. But there was a love in it that you carried away. Or rather, that carried you away.

    I woke up one morning, in the midst of my misery, and saw for the first time that in some ways I'm like Myron. That the stuff that's broken in the world's eyes can be the very things that allow Jesus to shine through. I saw Myron in me. And through Myron, Jesus. Working in me, in somebody who is as emotionally twisted as Myron's legs, who is as socially inarticulate as Myron is verbally.

    That is no small thing.

    2007년 7월 3일 화요일

    John 1: 1-16

    Today I got up and actually went first to God instead of online. Part of what did that was that my mission trip to China, that I'd really been looking forward to, seems to be going south. The only flight out of Incheon to Kunming is on Thursdays. My vacation doesn't start until after work on Friday. So I'd either have to find a substitute at SLP (which seems very unreasonable to even ask), or Matthew will have to find an alternative flight for me. So I'm praying that if I am meant to go on the trip, God makes a way clear to us. And that if I'm not meant to go, I accept it with grace and have clear other things that I'm supposed to be doing, that I don't get stuck brooding in my apartment feeling forgotten.

    Now! Waking with prayer got me praying, and putting my prayers in my spiritual journal, as Jaime has been encouraging all of us to go. And I listed an already answered prayer. I'd been having trouble getting on the Trinity Seminary web site. I think I'm supposed to go to seminary, Trinity specifically, but I couldn't get the site to load so I could get a phone number and call to schedule an appointment with admissions. So! I have the phone number, and Angela charged up my phone with minutes for me, and I'm ready to go on that phone call. I've also been praying that if Trinity is God's plan I'll find a way to support myself. The obvious choice seems to be doing voice work, and I"ve started looking for that. I found the site Rod told me about and there are some promising leads, and I'm putting together a voice resume and I"ll start sending it out. I also need to talk to Catherine about getting persmission from SLP to do part time work on the side, so that this is all legal. I'm sure Catherine will back me because she is a Christian and understands these things.

    Now, on to today's Bible reading.

    I picked up at the beginning of the book of John. I'm pondering John 1:5, where it says that the darkness has not either overcome or understood the light. The best translation seems to be "understood" or "percieved". Which brings me to Jon 1:10: "the world did not recognize him." How often have I failed to recognize Jesus in myself or others?

    John 1:14: "the word became flesh and made his dwelling among us." Physically during the Incarnation, but spiritually now.

    John 1:16: "From the fulness of his grace we have all recieved one blessing after another." Something I need to remember. Starting with the blessing of at least some of the darkness being overcome in myself. Then the fruits of that blessing.

    2007년 6월 16일 토요일

    The Cords of Death

    Scriptures to reflect on, given recent events in my life:

    The cords of death entangled me; the torrents of destruction overwhelmed me. The cords of the grave coiled around me; the snares of death confronted me. In my distress I called to the Lord; I cried to my God for help. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came before him, into his ears (Psalm 18: 4-6)

    He reached down from on high and he took hold of me; he drew me out of deep waters. (Psalm 18:16)

    O Lord my God, I called to you for help and you healed me. O Lord, you brought me up from the grave; you spared me from going down into the pit. (Psalm 30: 2-3)

    For you have delivered me from death and my feet from stumbling, that I may walk before God in the light of life. (Psalm 56:13)

    Though you have made me see troubles, many and bitter, you will restore my life again; from the depths of the earth you will again bring me up. (Psalm 71:20)

    2007년 6월 9일 토요일

    Love in the Temple

    Psalm 48:9 We reflect on your loyal love, O God, within your temple.

    This brought to mind something I emailed my friends recently, in reflection on what God's been doing in my life:

    God's been working on me lately. And today for the first time I saw the brokenness as a blessing. A real hard-core, hard-won, wouldn't-trade-it-for-all-the-tea-in-China blessing.

    The girls at church are young and innocent. Which is beautiful. But they also can't connect with brokenness, real hardcore brokenness, because they still have that innocence. And I pray that they can keep it. I don't want anybody to go through the kinds of things we've been through. But I've seen how God uses us, our brokenness. I can't keep track of the times I've reached out to y'all in my darkness and felt your loving hands in mine, and wondered what I'd do without y'all, only to have y'all respond that you consider ME a blessing. I couldn't see it. ME a blessing? Fragile, broken me?

    And I see it now. I see bits of each of you, all of you, in me, and the bits I see are bits of Jesus. And that floors me. How all that time, when I felt so utterly forsaken and alone, in the darkness that was engulfing me and overwhelming me and leaving me so desperate and despairing, He was there. Not beside me. Not above me. IN me. And that's a scary thing. Because it's a connection to a Something and a Someone so much beyond me that I can't fathom it. Something that dwarfs me as the universe dwarfs a grain of sand.

    I never really got Jesus before. People'd be all gushing about how they loved Jesus, and I couldn't connect with that. God I could get, in a fashion. The Boss. The Guy in Charge. The Hand Behind it All. But where Jesus fit in, really fit in, I had a feeble intellectual grasp of, but I didn't have heart knowledge. I didn't get it.

    I get it now. Or at least a bit of it. I'm beginning to get a feel for how much I don't get. How could I have been so blind to something -- SomeOne -- who was working so hard in me? How much am I blind to now?

    He's doing something. And it's gonna be an adventure but it was only recently that I started to understand how scary that is. Like the disciples in the boat, when Jesus calmed the storm, and it freaked them out. And how can something happening inside a human soul, something that nobody can see, be as impressive as a man standing in the path of a tornado and saying, "Knock it off!" and the tornado dies?

    How can something be inside me and so far beyond me at the same time? There's not room in me for this. But there He is. Funny, I used to think in terms of "Where is there room for me in This?" and now it's "How is there room for This in ME?" And I wanna get out of the way and make more room!

    You know how I am for metaphors, and my life is one. I remember how surprised I was to find out that I could deal with the intimate needs of the retarded folks I worked with. I rejoiced, outright rejoiced, in being sent to the home with the ladies who needed their incontinent briefs changed several times a night. That home was a joy to me. A home where I was finding opportunities to connect with people while, quite literally, dealing with their shit. And that's my gift. Or one of them, anyway. Discovering that I connect with people best when they're the deepest in their shit, in one way or another.

    Inelegant, I know, but I get the feeling y'all get it.

    Thank you so much for being there, for being you. For being Jesus for me. I don't have the words to tell you how much I love you. How much you mean to me. How you've blessed me.

    1 Corinthians 6:19: Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?

    I, myself, am one of the temples in which God's unfailing love can be seen.

    I need to remember that.