The sun is shining today for the first time in weeks, but today I find myself in the basement- the place where I go with arms full of dirty laundry and everything that stinks. Today I am hiding out here in this cold dark place in my soul. To be honest I have been here all week.
I was hurt this week. The kind of cold, shocking hurt that takes away your breath.
And it is not for lack of trying that I am still here, still shaken and hurting. I want to shake it off. Truly friends, I am drawing on all of my resources of love and grace, quoting to myself every verse on forgiveness. I lie awake at night begging God for that mysterious power to forgive, to let go, to love love love.
And this is what I know:
I have no love in me, no kindness, no mercy or grace apart from Christ.
I have no ability to forgive- it is supernatural. All I can do is hope to forgive, desire to forgive, and in the way that He has given it to me in the past-- slowly, eventually, one day, I will find that I have forgiven. I am still waiting and hoping for that day.
I know that this is the stuff of faith. This hurting, this wrestling, this trying and failing to love is the real grit of what I claim to believe. My love for Christ is only revealed by how sincerely I love others.
There is no "unfriending" in Christ; no hardness, no revenge, no record of wrongs, no root of bitterness. We are not given the option of isolation. There is only vulnerability, gentleness, peacemaking; bear all, believe all, hope all, endure all.
This is what I know: I know that prisoners reside in basements. Grace throws open the windows, grace pours into every corner. I know that there is no freedom, no deep resonating laughter, no green glory of life in basements. I must find my way to the light again, however painful it may be.
I know that Christ was wounded, that I wounded him, and with every wound he just opened his arms up wider and wider, letting the whole world in. I must open wide my arms too.
I know that I have life
only insofar as I have love.
I have no love
except it come from Thee.
Help me, please, to carry
this candle against the wind.
-Wendell Berry, Sabbaths, 2005