Friday, September 19, 2014

Dying to Live


I once cared for a young man who attempted suicide. He has been ill for quite some time, suffering from addiction and despair. Instead of being willing to face the consequences of his actions, he chose to try and escape through death. As his body lay on the floor, we did CPR and stabilized him before transporting him to the hospital. He didn't regain consciousness while we worked on him. As we cared for him, I found myself moved. This young guy, who probably burnt most people who cared about him, was being cared for, given our best effort to tether him to earth. We rejected his rejection, his inability to accept himself and his actions. We chose life for him because he could not choose it for himself.

Quite some time later, it occurred to me that many of us do the very same thing this young man did. Certainly not as lethal, and maybe not even physical, but we try to kill parts of us that we don't understand, can't control, or seem culturally discouraged. I wondered if God looks at us, as his grace performs a spiritual CPR, with compassion as I felt for that young man.

I struggle with this often.  I am insecure that I don't fit in.  I am rough around the edges.  I am loud and strong.  I look around me and see many women that seem to float through life with gentle grace, who know their place and are satisfied with their lives.  At least from the outside.  Me?  Yeah, no.  I flirt with chaos on a daily basis between my schedule, my social circles, my gifts, my creative energy, and my relationship with God.

As I listen to the negative voices in my head that accuse me of being less than what I should be, I feel the grasp of my Father.  His spiritual CPR demands that I stay, that I am not permitted to refuse the gifts that He has given me, that I will breathe His breath, that He will stay with me.  While this has happened many times, for the first time, I am not ashamed. 

I know that God isn't annoyed and scolding me.  I know that He isn't hoping that I stop falling apart near Him.  I know He isn't frustrated.  I know He isn't wishing I would just go and stay away from Him.

Yes, I am sure I have friends that might challenge that, but here is my reasoning: If I, a self centered human, can care about that young man, why wouldn't God, our Father, care about him, or me, or you, even more, even better?

As I have considered this experience and found God in it, what I have learned is that there is no more hiding.  I don't need to try to hide my mess from God.  But I also don't want to hide His gifts to me from others.  Of course, there will be judgment from some who need to learn this lesson themselves.  That is ok.  I can approach them with the same compassion that the young man needed.  And they may not receive it any better than that young man who was annoyed to be alive.  I will receive it, though.  I will be comforted by a Father who sings over his tone deaf child.  I don't need to die to live.  I just need to live.  Because He is with me.

 

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