Monday, January 04, 2010


So a new decade has begun. Not just a new year, a new decade, and I am 45. 45 puts you in a new age bracket on things like Web MD and some other surveys and questionnaires. I don't know why that bothers me. I don't feel 45. I do sometimes look at myself in the mirror and do a double-take. Who is that fat woman with the aging skin, the puffy eyes and the hands that are beginning to seriously wrinkle? I don't recognize her at all, I'm afraid. Who is that woman who lurches down the hall when her joints don't want to work, or who gets down on the floor and can no longer trust that she can simple stand back up again with ease? Who is the woman who needs bifocals?

45 isn't old. I know it isn't. But it feels that way sometimes. I'm a grandma. Me. How did this happen? (Please don't write in to tell me the mechanics of it.) I was a schoolgirl just yesterday...or maybe it was the day before that, but it was just moments ago! All of life was ahead of me as an open book, a blank canvas, and empty stage, waiting for me to write on the pages, to paint brilliant colors or to dazzle the world with my brilliance. How did all that hopeful and fearful expectation come to this?

If I am to be dazzling and brilliant, it will have to be a different way now. Even our colors fade as we get older. Our hair fades, although with the proper shade of Loreal, no one need know. Our skin loses the luster and suppleness of youth.

For some, 2010 is a good place to start. It is the year of birth or of graduation, that first adult job or the start of a hopefully long and successful marriage.

For us, 2010 is a year for starting over. Hopefully we have not dragged too much past baggage with us. It is a challenge to be optimistic, to see this as a good thing. I feel pressure to do and to accomplish.

There is a great paradox in the ideas of doing and being. Some say that we simple must be. We must be in Christ. We must remain and abide and wait. Passive words. Others say we must do. We must put our faith into action. Faith without works is dead. We must get busy about the work of the kingdom, busy with the work of life.

I struggle with these two. I believe that both are true and I don't really understand that. I don't know how to be and do at the same time. I don't know that I understand when it is time to rest and when it is time to work and run the race.

In my body there is a condition that requires being and doing. Fibromyalgia constantly reminds me that I cannot simply power my way through life with will and determination. And yet, I must power my way through many things or I have no life with this horrible condition. I must accept (be) that I have this condition and that it affects what I can and cannot do. And I must do so that FM doesn't take everything away. I sometimes get the balance off. When I feel good I do too much and the ability to do is lost for a time. But if I give in to the pain, I do nothing and have no life and the FM is worse for the inactivity.

So what is the truth? Is there a correlation between the being and doing of FM and the being and doing of our Christian walk? Well, both are balancing acts. We aren't actually doing the work of changing and perfecting us, but we have things we must do anyway. We must remain and abide in Christ and are also told to work out our salvation with fear and trembling.

Anyway...John 15 talks about abiding or remaining in Christ, the true vine. I don't understand all of it, particularly the cutting away of dead branches, but I do understand the pruning bit. It appears that the troubles and travails of this life may be part of a pruning process, so that the fruit we bear may be increased. It is to increase the health and vitality of the whole being--me joined with Christ and tended by the Father. All of this loss, all of this pain, all of this trouble may simply be pruning to make me more fruitful. "For without me you can do nothing," the passage states. So I abide in him and he makes the doing possible.

I don't understand this, but 2010 is the year I want to begin to understand this being and abiding and resting in him in the midst of the doing of life. If he wants me to stand still, then stand still I shall, but if he wants me to do, then he must guide and empower me.

What I long for in this being and abiding and remaining and doing is to develop my love for Him. I told a friend of mine the troubling thing I realized the other day--that I am not in love with my Savior, and I don't really love my God. At the moment I kind of like Him. I'm ashamed and embarrassed. It's a hard thing to say, and I am keenly aware that this is not what I have been ordered in scripture. I have been told to Love the Lord my God with all my heart, soul, mind and spirit. I have a Savior who went to all the trouble to become like me, to become human, to live and to die an insanely awful death, to suffer untold misery and horror to pay for my sin, and to make it possible for me to be reconciled to him, and yet I kind of like him? I think I understand the bit in Revelation where God says they are neither hot nor cold but lukewarm and so he wants to spit them out. Realizing that I merely like the Creator of the stars makes me sick to my stomach. I feel like wretching. Maybe God feels this way about me too at the moment.

I don't know how to go from that like to the love that I once had and the love that I never had, so I must abide and remain and ask the Savior of my soul to ignite the flame of love in me and never to let it wane.

May your new decade be blessed in every way, but most of all, may you know spiritual blessings. May you grow in love for God. May we grow in this together.