"The sweetest thing in all my life has been the longing —
to reach the Mountain, to find the place where all the beauty came from —
my country, the place where I ought to have been born. Do you think it all meant nothing,
all the longing? The longing for home? For indeed it now feels not like going, but like going back."

~C.S. Lewis

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Out here where I can breathe

I am high above the timber line
Where the sky and mountains meet
Up where the air is very thin
Somehow it's easier to breathe
Like the wind in the canyon echoing
The spirit is calling me whispering

Out here
In the wild and the wonder
Where the lightening and the thunder
Serve a great awakening
Out here
Where the One who did the making
Is still in me creating
A place where I am free
I can hear
I can breathe
I believe
Out here

I am knee deep in the chaos
Of another crazy day
It's me and all the other rats
Just trying to stay in the race
I close my eyes and I try listening
And I find the spirit is still calling me

Out here
In the wild and the wonder
Where the lightening and the thunder
Serve a great awakening
Out here
Where the One who did the making
Is still in me creating
A place where I am free
I can hear
I can breathe
I believe
Out here

I will remember
And I will keep it deep inside

~Geoff Moore, “Out Here”

Sunday, February 19, 2012

The loneliness of the wild at heart

It is lonely for the wild at heart.

I speak to Jesus, and am reminded, over and over, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life. And do not just guard a pale, stagnant heart, but a wild heart, a heart that rips away from the status quo and longs to do—and does right now do—something different—something impossible—something amazing—and not just one something—but a dozen—a hundred somethings. To act and live in abandoned wildness and change the world.

Change the world. People laugh at young people when they say that. I suppose we do seem naïve sometimes. But I cannot help it. I dream, and I dream of doing such impossible things that I rarely even tell my dreams to anyone else. The right people, I tell.

The right people. The right person? I have met a few—a few people, a few families, including my own—but so very few, so few, that sometimes you wonder if you missed something, somehow, a road sign everyone else saw, and now you’re on this road nearly alone. But with those former people, you can express what you have always kept quiet for fear of it seeming too silly, too naïve, too foolhardy, too much of a dreamer. You become captivated by the realization that you are not alone.

Not alone. C.S. Lewis says, we love to know that we are not alone. In this romance-saturated world, we speak so much about “true love,” but perhaps true love is not just for one person, but for many. Perhaps love is when a person sets out on a secret road, guided by a light no one else sees, in pursuit of an adventure no one else follows, realizing she is entirely alone and may travel that secret path forever by herself. This is living a life of love: loving life and those in it.

True love is when she finds another on the same road.

It makes me think about marriage—about finding another, a “true love,” in this sense, on the same road. Indeed, it would seem less lonely, the adventure. It is not that my identity is not in Christ, that I think loneliness of any sort is fulfilled apart from Him; it is not that kind of loneliness I speak of. No, it is the longing for what He has made true community, and, perhaps what He has made marriage to be: a joint mission.

Maybe, then, it’s not so odd that I am torn between living wild at heart on one hand, and coming close to wanting to reject it all if there is not another to do it with. Perhaps that is because to be truly live wild at heart, you cannot live alone. You cannot always be strong; you cannot always push on alone; sometimes you need another to accomplish tasks in this world that neither could have done alone.

Sam: I wonder if we'll ever be put into songs or tales.
Frodo: What?
Sam: I wonder if people will ever say, 'Let's hear about Frodo and the Ring.' And they'll say 'Yes, that's one of my favorite stories. Frodo was really courageous, wasn't he, Dad?' 'Yes, my boy, the most famousest of hobbits. And that's saying a lot.'
Frodo: You've left out one of the chief characters—Samwise the Brave. I want to hear more about Sam… Frodo wouldn't have got far without Sam.
Sam: Now Mr. Frodo, you shouldn't make fun; I was being serious.
Frodo: So was I.

Arwen, Frodo, and the woman's quest

To all the girls who have been heard little more on godly femininity than to have an "internal beauty" (and felt ashamed), "be a helper" (and tried to not be bored), and study Proverbs 31 (and gotten totally overwhelmed)this is for you.

When God creates Eve, he calls her an ezer kenegdo. 'It is not good for the man to be alone, I shall make him [an ezer kenegdo]' (Gen. 2:18). Hebrew scholar Robert Alter, who has spent years translating the book of Genesis, says that this phrase is 'notoriously difficult to translate.' The various attempts we have in English are "helper" or "companion" or the notorious "help meet." Why are these translations so incredibly wimpy, boring, flat... disappointing? What is a help meet, anyway? What little girl dances through the house singing "One day I shall be a help meet?" Companion? A dog can be a companion. Helper? Sounds like Hamburger Helper. Alter is getting close when he translates it "sustainer beside him."

The word ezer is used only twenty other places in the entire Old Testament. And in every other instance the person being described is God himself, when you need him to come through for you desperately.

There is no one Like the God of Jeshurun who rides on the heavens to help you…
Blessed are you, O Israel! Who is like you, a people saved by the Lord? He is your shield and helper and your glorious sword.
(Deut. 33:26, 29, emphasis added)

May the Lord answer you when you are in distress; may the name of the God of Jacob protect you. May he send you help. (Ps. 20:1-2, emphasis added)

We wait in hope for the Lord; he is our help and our shield. (Ps. 33:20, emphasis added)

O house of Israel, trust in the Lord—he is their help and shield.
O house of Aaron, trust in the Lord —he is their help and shield.
You who fear him, trust in the Lord —he is their help and shield.
(Ps. 115:9—11, emphasis added)

Most of the contexts are life and death, by the way, and God is your only hope. Your ezer. If he were not there beside you... you are dead. A better translation of ezer would be “lifesaver”. Kenegdo means alongside, or opposite to, a counterpart...

You see, the life God calls us to is not a safe life… God calls us to a life involving frequent risks and many dangers. Why else would we need him to be our ezer? You don't need a lifesaver if your mission is to be a couch potato. You need an ezer when your life is in constant danger.

Picture the character Arwen in the mythic motion-picture trilogy The Lord of the Rings. Arwen is a princess, a beautiful and brave elf maiden. She comes into the story in the nick of time to rescue the little hobbit Frodo just as the poisoned wound moving toward his heart is about to claim him.

It is she, not the warrior Aragorn. who rides with glory and speed. She is Frodo’s only hope. She is the one entrusted with his life and with him, the future of all Middle Earth. She is his ezer kenegdo.

Their longing in the heart of a woman to share life together as a great adventure—that comes straight from the heart of God, who also longs for this. He does not want to be an option in our lives. He does not want to be an appendage, a tagalong. Neither does any woman. God is essential. He wants us to need him—desperately. Eve is essential. She has an irreplaceable role to play. And so you'll see that women are endowed with fierce devotion, an ability to suffer great hardships, a vision to make the world a better place.

~John and Stasi Eldredge, Captivating, pg. 33-34