As I've been working this piece over in my mind these past few days, it's changed shapes on me several times. At last, I'm left with the image of Dorothy in the lull of the storm and I realize, finally, what it is I want to say.
All hell is breaking loose around me.
There's unrest. There's uncertainty. There's fear. Times are treacherous, I think, and then I know as certainly that the times have always been treacherous.
I'm just not always watching. You may just as soon find me singing to the chickens and the pigs about my supposed troubles ~ like the fact that I can't actually fly, maybe.
I've said it before. Were I to write it all down, we've had some actual, real troubles these last few years, but I promise that I know: ours are naught compared to what's going on out there.
Do y'all remember when I started this thing? This writing thing?
Okay, well I do, obviously, and it had much to do with those already occupying this space - those good or Bad Teachers who were putting themselves out there, sharing their wisdom, their experience, or their lack of one or both. They encouraged me to get on with it, my own version of bleeding out.*
But as the days have passed, it seems that they too - (many of) my favorite friends - have passed into the shadows. And I feel a little bit left behind.
Have they given it up? Have they given till there's none left? Have they gone to the hills? Are they busy digging shelters from the coming storm? In any case, I have seen a few farewell posts and have also noted a few sudden, blaring absences. My hope is that they are still out there and still clinging to our one, true hope.
The Coming Storm.
There are still blips on the radar. One such is what Emily Freeman says here, and I keep thinking particularly of her bit at the end about her response to current events.
Current events are scary as all get-out! (But then I know as certainly that they always have been.) How, how do I not sense that the end is near? Maybe you've sensed it too or maybe you haven't. Maybe your momma did or maybe she didn't think the end was due in 1962. Or '91. Or last week. Maybe your granddad had the same thoughts or maybe he didn't. In any case, I have a hard time not wondering about the next big event and who might get left behind. Will I get left behind? (Remember, I'm bleeding here.)
But this is where I have to cling to my One True Hope, my shelter in every storm.
The Next Big Event.
For a long, long time, I had this notion down deep that I would do some kind of important thing in the world. I used to be certain that I would wind up in the mix of inner-city kids - serving them, I mean. And/or that I would travel to do mission work all around the ... well, depended a bit on the means of travel - but I really believed that I'd be going out there.
Nope, nobody needs comment about making God laugh and all that! It's the ones whose lives actually do turn out as planned that are the marvel. (To me, at least.) So I've probably always known better than to have a solid plan. (That just might be my most clever excuse so far!)
But I have had some ideas. And some notions. And some hopes that my life might go in certain directions. Much of that now - you know - has been left behind.
But I do still have hope.
I recently and quite accidentally started listening to a new sermon series. <-I just told a joke.
According to Andy Stanley, I'm not so much in a lull as I am In The Meantime. And it may just be that I'm here for a bit, unable to go in any real direction, unable to affect the changes I'd like to see. I really do feel the way that I think Dorothy must have - frantic to see the chaos just outside her window, yet helpless to calm the storm.
Sometimes, I think that to be struck unconscious would be a welcome relief. Sometimes, I think it's just a matter of time before I receive that blow. The witch is on the loose. The world is tossed about. So little seems certain. There remain certain fears.
Times are treacherous, that is certain.
But these times are not the everlasting Certainty wherein I place my hope.
These times, these uncertainties, these fears ~ they will one day be left behind.
That. That is what I want to say.
*Writing is easy. You just open up a vein and bleed onto the pages.
–attributed to Red Smith