I have always felt like a compassionate person. At times, I’ve had to shell up in order to survive. One of those times was when my parents divorced. Another is when I was learning how to be a social worker. It’s tough when you are frequently faced with tragedy in other’s lives or in your own life. You have to find some way to cope. As I have walked in my faith journey, there have been times when God has called me to put the guards down. This is even harder. Jesus did it, and he wept. Have you known this type of weeping? Is your shell on today?
A few years ago, there was a tsunami close to where we were living. My husband went to the affected area and oversaw construction of a water system at one of the camps for displaced persons. He was gone for a month. We talked almost everyday while he was there. When he came home, oddly enough, we didn’t talk much about his experience. I knew exact details about what he had done there already, but not what he felt or saw. This is a strange occurrence for us. We are and have always been big time communicators in our marriage. Somehow, we both just couldn’t go there. I was pregnant with Daughter #3, and the other two were four and two. We jumped back into life together and survived.
A few months later, there was an earthquake in a different part of the world and I was watching CNN coverage of it. My husband walked by and began weeping. Slowly, we began to talk through the things he had seen. It was heart-wrenching work, but we got through it together. A few years after that, I had a day where everything seemed to hit me. I had read about what was happening to women in several countries in Africa, there was a lot of religious tension and oppression where we were living, and the world seemed worthy of weeping that day. I sobbed for hours for the broken, bruised, hungry, raped, devastated, trapped people in the world. I wanted to shut my eyes. I didn’t want to weep, but I knew that Jesus was right there with me. That day led me to broaden my view and to let the world be larger than my own life. It also led me to take steps of action to see how I could make one small difference. I began to understand this is my responsiblity as a Christian, but taking this action also fulfills a deep need God created in us.
Now is also one of those moments for me. For some reason, God has taken apart my shell this year. My heart is soft. I am weary, but I am willing. I am taking the free fall into my need for Jesus’ sacrifice.
In church this morning, I was pondering this softness in my heart, this free fall. I was feeling pretty vulnerable. Then for some weird reason, the phrase free fall made me think of a Wii game I played with my girls the other day. It was skydiving on the Wii Sports Resort. I know it’s random, but stay with me here. In the game, you jump out of a plane and free fall for a while. But, in order to do the game right, you have to eventually join hands with the other friends skydiving with you. You have to be linked all together.
I looked around at the folks in my church. They are energetic, loving, kind, and together. It’s good to be vulnerable to God and to them, but I’m not on this journey alone. We can fall together…
Thanks be to God.
So, what about you? Will you open your eyes to the world around you? Are you willing to give God your shell? There is much to be seen and loved and wept for. Don’t miss it.