Monday, March 05, 2007
It’s been a long project. Wings are tricky things.
When I was five I was told we can do all things in Christ.
I pulled on that rope which connected me to the bell in the tower above, pulled hard. The rope coiled at my feet and the bell sang across our small town... “It’s time for church,” it sang; it rang.
I believed those words. "I can do all things."
I let the rope slide through my hands as the bell swung back above me. When the rope slowed, hesitated, I jumped as high as I could, grabbed the rope, held on, and my kindergarten-sized body pulled the bell above me harder, further.
I can do all things.
“Come to church. It’s time to come and sing, to hear about Jesus.” My 60 pounds were turned into a voice that rang down the street, past my house, past the library, clear to highway 99 in that small northern California town. “Come to church! Come to church! Come! Come!”
Mom told me to find out how many kids were in my kindergarten class and she would make cookies for us, one for every kid. At recess I asked my teacher. She told me, I raced outside.
I hadn’t noticed the fence before. I stood looking at the chain link and wondered how I was going to tell my mom how many kids were in the class.
“You can do all things in Christ.”
I closed my eyes and walked straight through the fence. Well, that was what I thought I would do. But I bumped into the fence, scraped my nose a little bit. I must not have had enough faith. I climbed the fence and ran home.
My walk of faith has been a strange one. From seeing a stained-glass Jesus smile at me when I was five, being told I was too young for communion, living in a Hindu ashram and claiming Jesus as my avatar, reading Bible stories, a "Jesus Freak" in high school... strange adventures, strange paths.
It’s been a tricky project. I’ve been working with wax and down, balsa wood frames and long white feathers. It’s been a long, tricky project.
These past few years I’ve been taking my faith very seriously. I’ve been praying, alone, in groups large and in groups small. I’ve been praying through writing and through painting. I’ve prayed in the solitude of snow-covered trails, in the darkness of early morns, and in walks around a paved track at work.
Each prayer has been a part of that project, a piece of wax tacking a hope or desire into place. I’ve been pressing the parts of my spiritual disciplines in the wax.
I’ve been taking my faith seriously. I’ve been confessing my weakness to friends. I’ve taken the surprisingly heavy plumage of my sins and stuck them to the ribbing of my faith.
I’ve gotten someone to mentor me. I’ve followed scripture reading programs. I’ve sung hymns and whispered and spoken and shouted words of praise. I’ve laid those disciplines beside each other with an eye to making them fit into a smooth aerodynamic shape to help me to glide higher anjd higher to my Lord.
I’ve take the sorrows of my life... I’ve taken the things which make my heart race, which terrify me, and turned them into threads to bind and reinforce these wings.
I have raced off cliffs with these wings and gliding into blue skies. I’ve flown high, reveling in the joy of drawing near to my Lord.
I have soared to such heights. I’ve looked down on the patchwork quilt of my life. I’ve seen the depths of my pain, far and distant. I’ve seen verdant fields of my successes, small in a landscape bordered by the roads leading to places of work and worship and family.
Suddenly I’m afraid.
Feathers are coming off my long, tricky project, they drift below.
I’m afraid I’m going to fall...
I see an airport below me. I’m not sure how I can get to it safely.