Family photo 2013

Family photo 2013

Thursday, November 07, 2013

Joy, Vulnerability, Impending Doom, and Jesus

So, I had a moment. It was last weekend.

Where the kind of supernatural bliss that sporadically spontaneously erupts way down in the very depth of your natural being collides with colossal gratitude for all that you have to count as blessing at this very instant and you realize you are on of the most fortunate souls that has ever graced the planet earth to be entrusted with such savory goodness and sublime favor. I felt like I was high on nothing more than the ordinary endowment of the ability to see sunshine and breathe oxygen and experience the love of my people and pets.

Two consecutive warm days in November in Colorado can have that kind of effect on a body.

It was quickly followed by a couple unusual events during the week that led to an eerie sense of doom that has lingered ever since. Like this is all too good to be true. I don't deserve such happiness. The gifts I call my own are all too uncommon in the world. Why do I get to freely drink of the river of extraordinary abundance as often as I choose to recognize its presence in my life while so many suffer tremendously?

I have been reminded of the words of Brene Brown where she said that joy is the most terrifying, difficult emotion we face as humans because when we lose our tolerance for vulnerability, joy becomes foreboding.

It's true. What is held can be lost. It made me think of this verse in Ecclesiastes that the older I get, the more I come to understand:
This is what I have observed to be good: that it is appropriate for a person to eat, to drink and to find satisfaction in their toilsome labor under the sun during the few days of life God has given them--for this is their lot.
My fragile state might explain the reason I was hugely moved by a stranger at Wal~Mart yesterday. Onyx wanted to plan a day of meals for the family on $30, so he and I were there together to collect his items and I had a few things to pick up myself. As we walked in the door, much to my surprise, Mr. Independent grabbed his own cart. (He also brought his own allowance money to pick up the tab, which was really sweet and news to me. I insisted that he should hold onto his cash and let me pay with my credit card because when you swipe those pieces of plastic you don't have to ever settle up.) Oh, I jest. Where was I?

Ah yes, we're strolling through the store, me with my cart and him behind me with his, carrying an ardent warning that he'd better not run into my heels with that blasted thing. Before I know it I hear a crash (WHAM!). It was loud. Like an automobile accident on a grocery store scale. I turn around and my 10 year old has boomed his cart right into the cart of another person. Then, he just stood there, flushing bright red, saying nothing. I may or may not have exclaimed with an obviously perturbed voice displaying annoyance at the fact that a license is not required to drive one of those rattly squiggly wheeled contraptions, Onyx, WHAT ARE YOU DOING? I can not remember for sure...

That's when something truly outrageous happened.

The woman pushing the other cart summoned the overwhelming courtesy and polite decorum to cover for us all. She gathered her senses, smiled at me, then at him and told him that she was sorry. She said she should have been paying closer attention to where she was going and she would do better now. Her eyes were soft, her face kind.

Taken aback, I smiled too and thanked her for being so nice about it.

Then, we moved on, parting ways.

We left the store and drove home and I could not stop thinking about that woman who freely gave gentleness where harshness was deserved. She overlooked a fault, covered a transgression, allowed her offenders to save face.

I may never see her again, but in that single moment under the blaring fluorescent lights in the monstrosity that is home to the yellow smiley face, she ministered goodness and mercy and grace to my heart as she showed herself an example of the kind of person I want to be.

It occurred to me then how very touching unwarranted kindness is and how monumentally counter intuitive it can be to bestow grace where wrath is due. Justice can be so much more satisfying to dole out.

Given my vulnerable state this week, I probably cried a couple real live tears.

For just a second, she was Jesus in the flesh to me.

And again I was glad for such uncommon gifts.
The 2012 blog book arrived this week.
The stack of them piling up proving that I have not shut my mouth since sometime in 2007...

1 comment:

Owlhaven said...

Love this! I am loving that lady right along with you. That's the kind of person I want to be.

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