Saturday, June 4, 2011

Think on These Things

Fear has been trying to set up shop here for a while now. At the end of last month, it looked like the big day had finally come. Fear was going to live here. Move right in. Grab the sleeping bag out of the tent, ‘cause baby – we’re laying bricks on this foundation now.

I’d like to blame technology and the amount of information we’re able to instantly access at any given moment. And CNN and Twitter and Steve Jobs and Jim Cantore and iReporters everywhere. But I can’t. It’s not anyone’s fault. It’s my wiring. How I’m built. I’m sensitive.

In April, when the storms began, I learned how to quickly access the information needed to help keep us safe. If I can just outsmart the wind... So I glued myself to the iPad, constantly switching between Twitter and The Weather Channel, checking radar, watching the #arwx stream, and cussing TweetDeck for being such a gimpy app. A single clap of thunder and I’d fire up my own little command central. As you can imagine, this begins to wear on a person.

Then the storms became Osama bin Laden and bin Laden became a beheaded British woman in Spain and she became the flood victims and flood victims became the world, all of us, battered, beaten, dying. I read pain, and I’m present. I feel it in my bones.

By mid-May, I was in despair. Only once before in my life do I remember feeling true hopelessness. It lasted about ninety seconds, and it was the most miserable emotion I’ve ever experienced. And now it was beginning to seep in through tiny little cracks in the wall. I was so tired. How long, O Lord?

And how can I live here without fear swallowing me whole and alive?

I pen the questions and they hang there for eight days, until this:
“Sitting at my desk doing that weird woman thing where u sorta laugh & cry @ same time. @AmandaMoJo just [sent] me a pic of her sis-in-law’s brand new baby girl. Precious Ava Hope, born in Missouri today. Oh, this world is filled w/so much pain & destruction. Our souls will only be war-torn and weary if we do not also stop & behold ‘whatsoever things are true, noble, right, pure, lovely…’ His mercy is w/us.” @BethMooreLPM

My eyes shoot open wide, and it’s all relief, the way a wanderer feels when he finally sees home’s lights. Whatsoever things! It’s the remedy. It’s always been the remedy. I breathe thanks and feel the heaviness begin to fall away. I fill up on truth and nobility and starve myself of reading pain. Later that week, I write my thanks, and a friend calls to say he’s read them, and he needs help cultivating gratitude. I want to laugh until I cry. Knowing that “72 hours without CNN” is not the answer he’s after, I somehow manage to find a story, and I hang up shaking my head at these gifts, all of these precious, crazy moments swirling together in this lovely life.

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