What Remains...

Monday, November 20, 2006

Faith, Hope, Love...but the greatest of these is love.

Zihuatenejo could be wiped off the map the same way my beloved Aceh was or all those little towns in Mississippi. It's funny, because just the other day I told Steve, "God could take my picture of Zihuatenejo and rip it into a million tiny pieces and throw them to the wind or burn them to ashes and I'd have to go on trusting my Jesus anyway."

Zihuatenejo is something I was given by God just this last summer. It's the little coast town in Mexico that Andy Dufresne dreams of retiring to when he leaves the hellish Shawshank prison. It represents for me the hope I have in the dreams that are in my heart...dreams that are as reachable to me from my personal prison as Mexico was to Andy. I wrote them down in August. I read them often. Those pictures and dreams have bolstered my hope and my will to keep going... to keep loving and living on so many days when the tears won't dry up no matter how much courage I employ.

Today God ripped up my dreams and sent them to the fire. I can't explain it anymore than I could explain a 90 foot tsunami wave and the destruction that comes with it. Zihuatenejo is gone.

Hope is not.

I find that interesting. It was Zihuatenejo that taught me to hope. A tutor, I suppose. I learned at some point that the only thing that can ever take hope from me is my own hand, my own willful pushing it away. No one else has the ability to reach where it lives. Only me. I think... my crazy heart wants to hope, so why not let it...just to see what happens?

Things could be worse...not too much worse, but they could be worse...and even then, I'd have to choose to push hope away from me if I wanted it gone. It always comes beckoning, silly old thing, so why not give it a chance? Gee, if it wants to live in this cold darkness with me...I suppose I could use the company. Despair is not a good bunkmate, that's for sure.

I think probably the hardest thing for Abraham to get his heart and mind around on the day he climbed the mountain to sacrifice Isaac was the walk back down the mountain with Isaac at his side. If you read the accounts carefully, you can see that the sacrifice was already made for Abraham, the slaughter was already done as he headed up Moriah. He expected a miracle, for sure, but I think he expected it to come some other way, perhaps on a different day. He didn't expect God to let him off the hook (I think he served the same hard God I serve)...we know he wasn't gazing up waiting for a voice from heaven to stay his hand, because the angel had to say his name twice before he paused...and I think angels must have pretty strong voices!

I think I'm still gazing upward, waiting for the angel to stay my hand...and so I suppose that means I love my dream more than my God and that I will indeed have to go through with the slaying of it to prove my devotion. I feel like it has been slayed so many times, and yet here I still am on this wretched mountain waiting for my ram. Instead I should be looking for ways to kill a dream, to die to my will so His can live. Lose my life so it can be found.

Found another new, unpleasant way to die today...submitting to my husband's will. What a horrible thing to have to admit that that's a death for me instead of a joy, but it is. The command is not to submit to him if I think he's right. Quite the opposite. He knows my heart and trusts it, but he is determined to go this direction and so I follow. He knows it means the burning of my God given dreams...yep...I said that. Submitting to my husband this time around means slaughtering dreams that God not only called good and right...precious even, but dreams that He gave me in the first place. No different than Isaac, I suppose.

So I climb...not knowing how to reach the top with the lead that my heart contains. But I'm determined. I suppose it's a mercy that I don't have to find some explanation for my dear "Isaac" the way Abraham had to answer his son's questions...still I wish I could have at least made this one last climb by his side. Wish I could have laughed with him at something silly and unimportant just once more and actually have said goodbye. (That's strange...Isaac means laughter. It was what I treasured too, good ol' Abe! hmm.) I wonder if there is any chance he'll comprehend the depth of the sacrifice and love that this knife must now represent...kinda hard to read love in the steely gleam of a knife blade. Although, I think he knew this was where we were headed when we started the climb months ago. Jesus, will I ever get up the nerve to raise this knife against him?

I must. All will die away. Deeper darkness than I thought possible is bound to fall. But these three will remain. Faith, Hope, and Love...and the greatest...someday I'll see it finish it's work...the greatest is the Love.