A little housekeeping first. So… I took an unofficial break from the blog and now it’s the end of the summer. I had meant to blog but then I got caught up revising the novel I wrote for NaNoWriMo last November which was so much fun. The third draft is complete and I am trying to figure out what’s next for this writing journey. But that’s for another time. For now here’s a new post.
The days are shorter. There’s a been a northerly breeze the last few days. (I’m not complaining!) I’m not sure where the last two months flew to. It’s been a summer filled with both good and bad. But on Wednesday morning it came to a crashing halt shortly after 8 am. A house blew up a street over from us. We heard it. We felt it and then we watched black smoke over the trees as the sound of sirens, many of them, filled the air.
We were saddened to hear of one death and one critically injured. The house was obliterated and the two beside it, damaged. Most of the street was evacuated for at least a day if not more.
I’ve walked that street right past those houses, many days over the last seven years. It had become rote.
On Wednesday morning, in the time I thought someone in our house slammed a door so hard it reverberated (that’s what is sounded like where I was in the house), people’s lives changed. How long does it take to slam a door? A second? Or two?
Death pounced, in that time. Someone was horribly injured. Homelessness became a reality. Stuff was gone. What if it happened to me? To you?
I think I’m still in shock because I can’t process it all. I keep coming back to a question that’s been rolling around in my head for the last few days, even before this terrible event in our neighourhood.
What kind of person do I want to be?
I know you’re thinking what does that have to do with a house blowing up? I know it doesn’t seem to make sense. Let me explain.
I’m sure you’ve noticed that the news is full of hate these days. People don’t hesitate to obliterate one another on social media, all the while accusing the other person of being intolerant and hateful. But the sad fact is, both parties are guilty of what they are accusing the other of doing. We see it in our everyday lives at work, as we run errands and maybe even in our own families. In a world full of haters, it’s easy to become one. I know, because the last couple of years, I have found it much easier to hate than to be kind, to be loving and to offer grace. To offer forgiveness.
Who do I want to be? A hater or someone who offers kindness and grace?
Some of you may be thinking, This is a no-brainer! But if you’ve been betrayed enough, wounded enough, you know it’s not that simple.
I read this on Monday from Paul David Tripp’s New Morning Mercies, a daily devotional.
“I understand why people, after experiencing the hurt and disappointment that so often mars our relationships, decide to live in isolation or in a comfortable collection of terminally casual relationships.” (August 20th devotional)
Sound familiar? Are we becoming this person? I am. Our relationships are a daily online check in. We keep real people at arm’s length only doling out what we want them to know. We never dig deeper and neither do they.
Tripp goes on to say something we all know as followers of Jesus but we conveniently forget. “…for the believer, relationships are not a lifestyle option.”
Real flesh and blood relationships. Not a status check where we exaggerate and make things look good. Posting highlights of our lives and even making the low points look positive. This is not what God meant when He called us to be fishers of people. (Did you think that was just for the disciples? Maybe pastors?)
Jesus lived life out loud with twelve men and many other followers. But mainly it was the twelve. From that twelve he had best friend status with three. Peter, James and John. (Does this model make anyone else think of a church? Congregation, leadership team and trusted few. Hmmm)
He lived with these men, day in and day out, through persecution, through exhaustion, through the highs of miracles. Through ministry. Man that’s hard. If Jesus did it, why would God expect any less from us?
Some days I wish he would because I’d be a great Christian if I could opt out of the human experience of relationships! But he doesn’t. That leads me back to two seconds of time. If two seconds could change your world, what kind of person would you want to be going into that kind of disaster? Coming out the other side? People who walk through the hardships of life with grace and faith both in God and in relationships, fill me with inspiration and peace. Their grace and faith trails behind them, leaving a pleasant aroma. Does this make sense?
And if you didn’t come out this side of heaven, what kind of legacy would you want to leave behind? Hate. Love. It can’t be both.
Paul David Tripp’s book is a great devotional if you are looking for one to read. I’d highly recommend it.
Tripp, Paul David. New Morning Mercies; A Daily Gospel Devotional. Published 2014. Crossway Pubishers, Wheaton, Ill.