THE BIBLE SAYS AN HONEST answer is like a kiss on the lips.
So let’s call this a kiss, not a confession.
I’m as disillusioned as Solomon (disillusioned in a general sense), and I won’t attempt to analyze this feeling (let’s leave that to Oprah). In the style of Ecclesiastes: it is what it is and, like everything else, it will pass.
The meadowlarks have returned, and I’m glad to hear their sweet songs again; long-lost friends have also come back into my life; I’m picking up the slack for an employee who quit without warning, which is a challenge, but there’s good synergy at the office and plenty of bad customer-service jokes to relieve the strain; weekends are a whirl of weddings, holidays, etc…
So it isn’t that I’m depressed, anxious, or bitter. It’s just that my brain is tired, and my heart is tired, and if I weren’t so busy I think I could probably sleep twenty-four hours, seven days a week. (But now I’m analyzing, and I said I wouldn’t do that.)
Anyway, the weather is fickle and stormy. My dad surprised a bear when he was out checking pumps, and the night shift had to be cancelled after one of our guys faced down a mountain lion. The hired men are nervous, but field work must continue, so a professional hunter has been enlisted (an aging Rambo type who used to hunt the two-legged kind of predators, once upon a time).
I hardly taste my coffee in the mornings.
My little niece was crying one day, because no one had time to play, and the tragedy of it was too much for me. I gathered her up in my arms and burst into tears.
Did I forget to mention that an uncle killed himself?
I’ve been kind of mixed up lately, so if I’ve frustrated or hurt anyone, I’m sorry.
One person in particular–
You had the tactfulness of an older man, when you chatted me up in the shampoo isle. Suddenly there you were, good-looking and pleasant. Thanks for being so respectful, so available. You were a breath of fresh air.
You’re right, though. I was wasting your time. We couldn’t be together because, you know, I have a big problem–
You weren’t into religion, but I couldn’t dump Jesus if I tried. I couldn’t even neutralize him. Not because I grew up in the church, but because something very strange happened to me when I was little, and if I told you about it you might not blame me for being conflicted.
I could shed Christianity like a dress that doesn’t fit anymore, slam the door on offenders, do what I want and get what I can, look at everything that doesn’t make sense or that seems unfair, and my inadequacy, and say, “Forget this.” But I could never forget that.
I could stuff Jesus in the closet and play dumb, but he would always haunt me.
I’m not a superstitious or paranoid kind of person, but because of what I experienced long ago, I’m absolutely sure that good and evil forces do in fact exist, and if I’m sure of nothing else, I’m sure that the spiritual realm is real and serious. Even when I doubt everything I have ever believed, when the silence closes in and I’m filled with questions like: Did Jesus really die for me? Am I really saved? Is he pleased with me? Can I trust him with my sin? Can I trust him with the future?–even in those moments, I’m still absolutely sure that Jesus is far greater than any other power.
Call me crazy if you like.
All theology aside, “Jesus saves” might be the only true thing anyone has ever said…
In Mexico, I met a lady who was recently divorced and all alone, facing an uncertain future in a foreign country. “2016 was a crappy year,” I told her. But she cupped my face in her hands and smiled, “No, my dear, every year with Jesus is a good year.”
One day, when I was not in a Christ-like mood, a breeze wafted through my window; and, when it touched my eyelids, I saw myself deep in a field of wheat. Expansive. Sun-burnished. Stirred by a beautiful wind. It wasn’t spiritual, yet somehow it was. And now, when I feel lost or weary, I go back in my imagination to that wheat field and that warm, soft wind.
When blue curtains of rain shower the earth, regardless of how I might feel, something inside of me whispers: Do you smell that good smell, Emily? That good smell is the smell of a good God taking care of what he made.