A Messy Process

This morning I made a dumb joke. This is not, in itself, unusual. I make dumb jokes all the time, but this one was a little at the expense of my family and it’s been resting heavy on my heart. This joke in question was funny, mostly because everyone knows exactly how I feel about everyone who lives in this house, especially The Angel. She wasn’t angry or anything, she made a public face as if she were, because she plays along. But I don’t need her in pain to know I’ve strayed from the path, the messy hard to follow process I choose to walk.

What I do in situations like this is ask forgiveness, of her (which she gave easily), of Jesus (which He gave a long time ago), and of me (which always proves much harder to come by).

And then I ask why. Why did I make a joke like that?

A big part of what made it funny was particularly biting to me. She is my very special, very valued, sweet lady, and she deserves to be honored with my every thought, word, and action. This is something that comes naturally, as I am very well aware that she is a divine gift and a blessing to the world around her. You know this, you’ve seen the way I look at her, the way I speak about her, no one needs to tell you how much she means to me. If I thought she was (or if there was any question that I might think she was) “the bags in the other car,” it is decidedly not funny. We’ve all been in situations like that, where jokes aren’t jokes and hit too close to their intended mark. This was not that. But this was also not something that held her carefully.

So the next thing I do is ask a different why. Our words come from somewhere, usually the overflow of our hearts. In this case, I am not feeling any type of negative way about her, so where is my heart? Why is it overflowing with dirty water?

2 weeks ago I wrote, “I was apart, my heart felt muddy, confused, a little restless, distracted, and needed to be pulled back together.” This is even more true today, with one big addition. I am overwhelmingly sad, as you heard and felt before the message began. My insides swirled and my emotions vacillated wildly, I felt like I was either going to scream, cry, run away or all 3. I wished the opening silent prayer would continue for the rest of the morning (and it almost did). But I think the message made sense, and that had little to do with me, because I didn’t make any sense to me.

If it didn’t make sense, it was about authenticity, of living a wide open life of honesty and genuine engagement, and how that helps us connect with each other and destroy any and all obstacles. This is who I am, you get the ups and downs, and you get them all on the outside. But the real point is Who Jesus is. He loves me, even now, even in my missteps and dumb jokes. He forgives me before I ask, and then holds me tightly until I can forgive me, too. He says ‘those who ask, receive, and those who seek, find,’ and I believe Him. I am asking, I’m seeking, and He is faithful. Psalm 73:21-23 still says, “Yet I still belong to You, You are holding my right hand. You will keep on guiding me, leading me…” He shows me Himself, and through that lens (instead of my own), He shows me me, too.

Of course I wish I wouldn’t have said it, The Angel and these 2 amazing boys aren’t punchlines to deflect from my raw vulnerability. I wish I wouldn’t be so sad, but that is the high cost of relationship and I would never have it any other way. I wish I wouldn’t absentmindedly veer from the path, that He’d put some guardrails or something to contain me, but it wouldn’t be as meaningful that way. It wouldn’t be ours.

The circle at the end left me with few words. We ask, seek, and knock, and we hold each other’s hands as they hold ours. Sometimes we’re the ones who fall apart and others we’re the ones that hold each other together. And, as it says in one of my very favorite books, the beautiful Dr Seuss classic Horton Hatches The Egg, “It should be, it should be, it SHOULD be like that!”

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