Blind from Birth

Having said these things, he spit on the ground and made mud with the saliva. Then he anointed the man’s eyes with the mud and said to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam”. John 9:6

“Why God, would you do this to me?” I Stumbled along, cursing and groaning at the pain of the grit grinding and burning under my eyelids. With every stagger grains of sand and flecks of mineral clawed at my useless eyes. Tears ran down my face mixing with the drying spit on my cheek. Rage for the man who had done this to me and the agony of having the faintest hope shatter into another filthy trick played by hateful humans radiated from me. Shrieking children dove away as I crashed my way towards the pool.

“Go wash yourself in the pool”. How could he be so calm and sound so gentle while handing me the nastiest trick I could imagine?

The pain stabbed my eyeballs as I slammed into the corner of each familiar building, crashing into them instead of my normal cautious fumbling along. The scraping torture in my eyes blinded me to my bleeding knuckles hitting stone walls and shins finding every low obstacle. Inside the pain boiled an exploding confusion and fury at this man who claimed to be God but turned my hope for healing into torment.

When I finally felt the steps downward beneath my feet I dove recklessly towards any kind of relief. Anything to get the fire of Christs cruel spit out of my eyes. My elbow smashed into the stone corner as I splashed in, ignoring the laughter from the men sitting poolside.

I rested my head under, gently letting the cold water filter in and the pain soak away. Rest.

The first thing I ever saw was light. The sunbeams flirted in and out of the ripples on the surface and then drifted down to bounce across the stone on the bottom of the pool. Gigantic Diamonds of sunshine worth more than a cart of gold to a man who had never seen them.

The pain of the sand, the bleeding elbow, and battered, torn shins were forgotten in the beauty of seeing at last. For a moment under the water the God I had begged as a child and cursed as an adult held me close and washed away the agony of twenty-nine years of utter darkness. The lifetime of confusion, terror, frustration, and furious bitterness at my Creator sank down to burn in the flickering flames of the sun around my feet.

The moments after gasping up from underwater are a blur of racing through the streets, looking for a man I would recognize only by the sound of his voice. No desire to stop and soak in all the things I had only smelled, heard, touched, or tasted. Only time to rush headlong down those same paths seeking one face out of all the faces I had never seen. The recklessness of pain had been replaced by a reckless need for answers. The confusion of his shocking cruelty was conquered by shocked wonder at why one would do a miraculous work and then disappear.

“Why God, would you do this to me?”

Gaining Time

Thursday night, Jan. 2. These things established,— That time gained in things of lesser importance, is as much gained in things of greater; that a minute gained in times of confusion, conversation, or in a journey, is as good as a minute gained in my study, at my most retire times; and so, in general, that a minute gained at one time is as good as at another.

~ Jonathan Edwards, applying the ‘penny saved is a penny earned’ mindset to Time. Soon after writing this critical entry, it appears that Edwards deactivated his social media accounts and burned his television in the Northampton town square.

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The Thirtieth of April

What did you feel, Lord, when you came along and found me lying there in the shallow grave I hand dug for myself? Were you angered by the evil one chuckling there with my muddy shovel in his hand? He and I both smelled this death coming months ago and he had anticipated celebrating my funeral, finally confident in his victory. He saw you leap toward him over his shoulder as he bolted for cover.

Did you wince at the sight of the bloody smudge where my autobiographical eulogy was stapled to my chest? Could your eyes find the lies there in my obituary? Did you see all those slimy deceptions I heaped on myself until I suffocated under their weight? The shame, disapproval, and the loss of hope were heavier than the pile of dirt and gravel the devil had been so eager to scoop over me.

There were no folded hands or walnut casket, no piano playing Amazing Grace. Just filthy broken fingernails and scrabbled grass uprooted around the edges of my rut. I had tried so hard and failed to hang on to my tiny piece of earth.

She was standing there by my side, right where she had been all along. How had I lost sight of her there in the dark? You wept together over my open grave, your arms wrapped around her heaving shoulders and gasping lungs, her agonized tears falling in agreement with yours and intermingling in your beard. She heard you sing a quiet song of sorrow over this loss of life and love. My few friends stood by, each of you carrying one last time the burden of my failures.

What was your emotion as the old undefeated power began building within once more? Could you feel the voltage of your blood surging upward with every beat of your heart? What was the wattage of the sunlight burning in your heart for me? You never flinched as the lightning leapt from your outstretched hand and knocked me rolling from what should have been my final hiding hole. You laughed as the thunder shook the ground around us all and light exploded into a better day. Newborn hopes and ancient dreams blossomed instantly in soil recently tilled by my desperate fingers. Soft gray ashes rained down on the petals, fertilizer made from the strangling shame going up in smoke.

How can it be? Who is the God who boldly strides among the darkest tombs in the deepest night? Give way for this King of Glory strutting through the fading gravestones of the hopeless. Dance with him as he revels in bringing help to the helpless and light to the lost. His twin swords Love and Forgiveness are stained with the blood of shame and despair. The king has conquered death, defeated hell and has no fear in the dark. The victory has always been his and he will overcome. He is bringing new life again and again.

“I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die”

~MB

10 Tech-Wise Commitments

  1. We develop wisdom and courage together as a family 41ZsoH6R2bL
  2. We want to create more than we consume. So we fill the center of our home with things that reward skill and active engagement.
  3. We are designed for a rhythm of work and rest. So one hour a day, one day a week, and one week a year, we turn off our devices and worship, feast, play, and rest together.
  4. We wake up before our devices do, and they “go to bed” before we do.
  5. We aim for “no screens before double digits” at school and at home.
  6. We use screens for a purpose, and we use them together, rather than using them aimlessly and alone.
  7. Car time is conversation time.
  8. Spouses have one another’s passwords, and parents have total access to children’s devices.
  9. We learn to sing together, rather than letting recorded and amplified music take over our lives and worship.
  10. We show up in person for the big events of life. We learn how to be human by being fully present at our moments of greatest vulnerability. We hope to die in one another’s arms.

~ Andy Crouch, The Tech-Wise Family: Everyday Steps for Putting Technology in Its Proper Place, pages 41-42