Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Loving Lasts

We were sitting on our friend Gabe's couch when his phone rang. We sat for awhile trying to look like we weren't listening, but as his face grew more intense, we stopped pretending. His eyes were wet.

He told us the story when he hung up. A story about people we knew, our friends. A story of betrayal after betrayal. Our hearts broke. Why do we ever even risk this? I thought. The pain is so great; it seems so inevitable. I went home and cried and wrote this.

Awhile later, my husband wrote a piece of music. He asked if I had anything to read over it. We recorded this in our basement: Love Remains.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Loving Ritalin

As the mom dropped off her daughter in my cabin the first day of this particular week of camp, she explained to me that she had left her daughter's Ritalin prescription with the nurse. I asked her, like any good camp counselor would, when I should send her daughter to the health lodge to take them. “Oh,” she said, “just whenever you feel like she needs them.”

I wondered what that meant and how that conversation would go with a camper. “Hey, Jesus loves you, you're driving me crazy, go medicate.” I decided I wouldn't do that unless the camper herself said she needed them. She never said that.

I kind of wish she would have.

It was one of the last weeks of the summer. I was exhausted. They were short on high school students to help out as “counselors in training” that week, so I was solely responsible for these 8 girls, one of which was a little off the wall.

I took ten minutes to myself, that was it. It was after dinner and I stayed back after my campers so I could help wipe down tables and talk with my friends. Then I slowly (very slowly) started the trek back to my cabin where I hoped they would all be peacefully waiting for me on their bunk beds, hands folded or something.

As I climbed the hill, I heard them. Chanting. As I urged myself to continue walking, I saw the top of a tree moving frantically, much more than the top of a tree should be moving. I reached the top of the hill and looked down at my campers, in a straight line, following their leader- my Ritalin deprived camper- chanting as she carried a tree (I did not say branch or sapling, but tree) in a wild march in front of the cabins.

In the moment, I had a choice.

I wanted to yell. I wanted to crush this. I wanted to scream, “WHY?!” “What are you DOING?” “STOP IT!” “THIS IS SO STUPID!” “I AM SO TIRED!” “HEY! JESUS LOVES YOU, YOU'RE DRIVING ME CRAZY, GO MEDICATE!!”

Love is like this: It reminds you to take a deep breath. It helps you walk calmly down the hill. It helps you remember the joy of chanting. It grins as you take the tree into your own hands, carry it to the courtyard, prop it on a chair. It celebrates as you join hands with sweaty, funny, loud twelve year old girls. It spins with you, around and around, it SINGS. Love gives life instead of death.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Loving Corelle Dishware

When I was in high school, my mom had a set of off-white Corelle dishes with a single Calla Lily winding up the sides. And somehow, I came to believe that Corelle dishes did not break. Around this Corelle dishware era, I was given one of my most favorite assignments: we had to write a short play for English class. I wrote an intense fight scene in a kitchen. I wanted someone to throw a plate. How would we manage this without getting shards of glass everywhere? Obviously, we would throw a Corelle plate. They don't break.

(They do).

It really made for a better acting moment in the long run. Both myself (the plate thrower) and the person I was yelling at, had very believable reactions to the plate shattering. I threw it down and it was a thousand pieces in a thousand directions. We swept the stage every day for a week and still found shards of it glittering under the lights.

Christians use the word “broken” a lot and in a variety of different phrases, as in “I'm realizing how broken I am and so I need God.” I thought it meant, “I realize that I am defective, and I need God to fix this fundamentally wrong thing about me.” In simple terms, I realize I'm a “sinner” and I need God to make me right.

God is giving me a new understanding.

My heart is broken. It's not defective. It's not wrong. It's shattered on the floor in front of me. I can't take a step without treading on it, breaking it more, cutting myself. I will never be able to even find it all, let alone glue it all together again. And it's not just me. Yours is broken too. Our hearts weren't made to live in a world like this. At some point they get dropped, thrown, wrecked. We are in a very real sense, broken beyond our own repair.

God gave me the picture of me standing on that stage, my heart shattered and everywhere, and I'm standing there frozen. Then he reminded me of the parable of the lost coin. The woman in the parable searches until she finds the coin. She checks under the table, she pulls up the rugs, she sweeps out the corners. The woman in the parable is a picture of what our God is like: relentless, thorough.

“I'll sweep it all up, Kylee.” That's what he told me. He will sweep up our shattered hearts. He'll find it all. He'll put us back together, and he'll make us beautiful. That's what it is to know brokenness. That's what it is to need a Savior who loves like that.