Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Hard Parts

I once saw (okay, I think I actually trice saw...but that isn't important) a Rob Bell video called "Shells." I only have vague memories of how it specifically went, but I remember the jist (okay, a friend reminded me of the jist earlier today...but that isn't important either). It went something like this...

A boy is walking along the beach collecting shells. He is happy and enjoys what he has found, but they are nothing magnificent. None of the shells are big and many are merely broken fragments. Suddenly, he sees it. A full and beautiful shell floating out in the ocean. His father encourages him to go get it. He tries to get out to it, but keeps stopping short and returning to the shore. With more encouragement, he makes it out to the shell, but he doesn't grab it. He comes back to the shore and his father who asks what happened. The boy explained that he couldn't get the full and beautiful shell. The father asked why, and the boy responded, "My hands are full of shells."

How often is this us? We cling so tightly to the things around us that we can't grasp the better things God has for us. We are unwilling to let go of the comfort of the life we've created and grown accustomed to.

I've realized in the past few days I don't really and truly surrender. When I trust and hope in a future that God has planned for me, I always focus on some possible way that it will work out. I surrender to a possibility - one that might make me slightly uncomfortable, but with which I am ultimately okay.

I don't surrender to an unknown. I don't surrender to a future full of hope and happiness that I cannot imagine for myself. I surrender only insofar as I can understand.

That isn't real surrender.

Real surrender embraces the darkness.  Real surrender trusts the God whose plans I cannot see and desires those plans in my life. No. Matter. What.

That's the hard part: joyful surrender to what appears to be a dark abyss, while trusting and hoping and delighting in God's promise.

After all, if my hands are full of my own comforting visions, how will ever grasp what is actually better?

Monday, May 16, 2011

Daybook: Quite an Interesting Day

(May 16, 2011)

Outside my window... After a week of very warm weather (notice I refrained from calling it "hot.") the past few days have been quite chilly. I'm laying in bed, but it is not fully dark yet. I'm hoping for a restful night's sleep.

I am thinking... that the movement of time is a blessing in that it is constant. If it slowed down for all of the things I wanted it to I'd probably never learn to be grateful for time well spend. If it sped up through everything I wanted it to, I'd probably never learn to understand - even when it's hard to understand.

I am thankful for... a wonderful friend who is home for LONGER THAN JUST THE SUMMER!!!

I am wearing... PJs! I'm already in bed, remember?

I am creating... a brand new place for God in my heart.

I am going... to trust when it's hard, love when I don't want to, and fully surrender no matter what...for the rest of my life. Really.

I am reading... I'm not actually reading anything. Although I have still been somewhat consistently praying through In Conversation with God. (which I highly recommend)

I am hoping... that I love God more tomorrow than I do today.

I am hearing... the fan blowing and my fingers typing
Around the classroom... less than 2 weeks left. Wow.

One of my favorite things... moving water.

Visit Peggy for more daybook entries!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

The 4th Joyful Mystery: The Presentation

I have said many times (and still claim it as true) that the 2nd Joyful Mystery - The Visitation - is my favorite of all the Rosary's mysteries. However, today it was the 4th that brought the most fruitful meditation.

There is a lot going on this mystery. There are many characters: Joseph, Mary, the infant Jesus, Simeon, and Anna.

Simeon has been waiting to meet the Messiah. He has been told that he will not die without meeting the Messiah. He bears with him the weight of that gift: constant searching, patient waiting, deep trust. As he and Anna are blessed to meet the Son of their Lord, Simeon's words call to attention the suffering that Mary will endure.

There is a lot of weight in this moment.

What Mary and Joseph have to present is the Christ Child. Jesus Himself: recently born of Mary. He is God, and He is a real and tangible symbol of what Mary and Joseph have chosen to make of their lives. He is (among many things) the fruit of their surrender.

There is a lot of weight in what they present.

What they are presenting is worthy of the moment. What they brought to God in the temple that day was something worth a joyful presentation. It was a great and powerful fulfillment of Simeon's long waiting. It was something so clearly right and good that it could withstand the sorrow of Simeon's words to Mary - that her own heart would be pierced.

This is what we need in our lives. Something worthy to present to God. Notice how the surrender of Mary and Joseph led to the gift of a worthy presentation.

When we surrender our lives, when we work to let God build our offering to Him with His own hands, that's when we can present to Him joyfully. That's when we become the instruments through which He fills the longing of man. That's when we are able to withstand the sorrowful message the world often brings.

Lord Jesus, create in me a worthy presentation for You.