Can’t Handle the Tooth

In honor of the incredible toothache pain I’m in right this very minute, I’m going to share a quote by one of my favorite authors of all time (and then a book of his, too). Or maybe two books of his. Or three. Or…

“If only this toothache would go away, I could write another chapter on the problem of pain.” -C.S. Lewis

That guy, up there, wrote exceedingly well about the God. And life. And pain. And love.

And friendship.

I like what he wrote about friendship so very much.

The first book of C.S. Lewis’ that I read was “The Four Loves”. Although still hovering over Christianity as though it were a possibility, I was still too full of Bertrand Russell and Friedrich Nietzsche to land.  And as I read Lewis’ take on charity, eros, philia, and storge, I realized there were enough “thinkers” in this Christianity gig to make it a pretty sure thing.

And then, I got to the part about friendship and I exhaled. Because, exactly.

“Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art…. It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things which give value to survival.”

But, then in The Abolition of Man, Lewis brought me down to my knees. I thought I saw through all that religiosity and hypocrisy.

“You cannot go on ‘seeing through’ things for ever. The whole point of seeing through something is to see something through it.”

Oh boy! He had my number. And as I speed read every book I could get my hands on (because, BOOKS!), I realized that there was no more denying God.

So I didn’t.

Ultimately, C.S. Lewis, turned my eyes outward and upward.

And they are ever upward.

Even as I sit here feeling like I can’t handle the tooth (pain). 

Yes indeedy.

If you are hovering over Christianity, grab a copy of C.S. Lewis’ The Screwtape Letters. Or, The Great Divorce. Or, if you are more fantasy fiction leaning, The Chronicles of Narnia series. (And no, it’s not just for youth. I daresay you get far more out of it as an adult!)

And then, if you missed any of my previous posts on the Best Books Ever, click the button below. I am writing this series as part of the Write 31 Days Challenge.

missindeedybooks31days2016

Filling the Void Within

Rick Warren said, “Your sins don’t define you. What you worship does.”

I’ve been chewing on this for about a month.

Because I’m into clutching the hem of Grace’s robe, I think I finally understand why this was such a hard thing for me to read and accept.

Grace finds you out. It looks you dead in the eye with unwavering compassion and almost dares you to look away. That’s one of the things that I most admire about Him.

Saying that my sins don’t define me almost feels as if I’m shirking away from Grace and saying, “I don’t need  you!”

But, of course, that wasn’t Mr. Warren’s point, was it? He wanted us to zero in on what, exactly, we worship, and maybe, who.

Perhaps that is what really rubbed me wrong.

The dark truth in this heart of mine is that I don’t want to have to acknowledge the times I chose Other over Him.

The times I still choose Other to fill my void.

My heart has only begun to grasp the truth of what C.S. Lewis meant when he wrote that, “If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.” That yearning that we feel was put within us by the Creator of every living thing.

Craving something that defies explanation isn’t new to the human condition. We’ve been warned against trusting the ‘sweetest frame’ for a sweet forever. Chasing the satisfaction I think those frames and things and people will provide never ends well for me. I’m only left with a more intense hungering.

And, oh, how I want my God to be the one I seek to fill the emptiness! Because, the longer I walk this earth, the more obvious it is that I will, indeed, worship whatever it is that is filling me. My depraved humanity sometimes denies my very Creator entrance into my heart. I begin to see all of the Other Things, and people, that I have allowed to fill in the void as more worthy of my worship than the one who fashioned me as He did.

Most of those on the outside, looking in, wouldn’t necessarily see my sin, and therefore define me by it. Sometimes they might, of course. But, what those watching will always see, is whatever or whoever it is that I’m worshiping.

Allowing God to pour into the empty pockets in my heart provides me with the opportunity to renew my love for Him. My desire to worship Him and Him alone!

It reminds me of my profound need for the Solid Rock on which I stand. Because, truly, all other ground surely is sinking sand.

When does Grace enter in? I can’t answer that for anyone other than myself. But, He most assuredly does come, filling the void within in ways that are often unexpected: a comforting word accomplishing what was sought through physical touch, the desire for meaningful connection achieved with a brief encounter, or the sudden longing for old friends being met in the introduction of new ones.

Each one provides for a deep soul-hungry need.

And, as I am filled, I am defined.

31days_of_grace_button_missindeedy

This post is day 29 of the Write 31 Days challenge. Click my 31 Days of Grace button above to see the other posts I’ve written.

When Adulthood Comes Early

Whenever Ahab visits, he likes to remind us that “I never sleep more soundly than when someone else is paying the bills.”

Amen.

And surely, nothing inspires maturity like your own bills to pay. Or diapers to change.

I’m sure we could all swap stories about some momentous occasion when we finally got it – that moment when we knew there was no going back from adulthood.

I wonder how many of us would mention owning our first car, paying our very own rent for the first time, or being the only one to decide whether to head to the doctor for that rash, or not?

But, some brave souls walking among us, were inducted into the halls of adulthood far too early.

The threshold of adulthood is no respecter of age. And, age, sometimes, has nothing to do with maturity; especially when you are forced to see life through the lens of adulthood earlier than you should.

Taking care of your younger siblings, because your parent is passed out drunk on the couch?  Adulthood.

Getting a job to help your single parent make ends meet each month? Adulthood.

Pleading with a guardian to take their medications because without it, their minds go dark? Adulthood.

sailboat_experience_missindeedy

Childhood is precious to me.  Mostly, because it was a time I cherished, growing up.

Grace now sifts the reasoning behind the decisions made by the adults during my childhood. Some decisions were born of necessity. But almost always, my best interest was taken into account.

Having heard plenty of stories where this was not the case, I understand that this is not a truth that everyone can claim.

For those of you that can’t claim a carefree childhood, my heart… it hurts for yours.

And, I long for you to know that the God who loved you then, and saw, loves you especially now.

Why especially?

Because, if you’re here, reading this, then I think you still want to believe in good.

To believe in a God who cares.

For whatever reason this God I speak of gave me a heart that hurts for you, He did. And it does.

So, to those of you for whom adulthood came all too soon, I hope you’ll continue to want Good to win out.  I hope you keep fighting The Fight.

Because, you are not alone. Not in this world and not after it.

You matter.