Sharing the Human Experience
God gave me the idea for this post. Sitting at church, a question was posed asking if anyone there ever felt hopeless.
Well I have and most everyone’s hand shot into the air. There is something beautiful knowing that hopelessness isn’t an isolated experience. It feels isolating as you go through it, but knowing others have driven down that same rocky path is somehow comforting.
I say this because I just left a season of hopelessness- the kind that breaks your back and bends you in two. The kind that makes you scream “Uncle!” because there is not a milliliter left to go downward. Rock bottom is the place I landed.
When you are sitting at the bottom and looking around, you can’t see much. It’s pitch black, you hear drips of running water. It smells dank and the cold nips our skin.
There are echoes of others living life around you, but you can’t engage because you are chained in this place. They live life. We live blackness.
How does this happen to all of us? How do we take turns holding a reservation in this desolate place? Is it avoidable and how do we get out?
Life Above Us
I believe we are carried out. I believe the only way we can end the time squatting on the concrete in the small, underground cell is if someone climbs down and sits with us for a while. They bring with them some sliver of light and we begin to see our surroundings a little clearer. It doesn’t change our mind yet to leave, but it draws us to the stark contrast of the isolation we are living to the laughter and noise we hear up above.
It sounds like they are having some fun.
We may still not be moved, but the thought has been planted. Maybe there is a way out. I mean, He climbed down to meet me, maybe I could climb up to meet Him.
We try to stand, but our legs buckle. They have gone numb from the many days, weeks, and months that we sat criss-cross on the cold concrete. Plus it hurts!
Then we second-guess ourselves. If we do climb closer to that sliver of light, all of our sins and weaknesses will come to light, and we can’t hide any more. At least down here, we can keep our secrets hidden. It can feel like the unveiling of our sins is worse than death itself.
Choosing the Darkness
But He came to sit with me. He didn’t care about my baggage. But what if they do? What if they can’t see past my brokenness? What if they wish I would stay in the crawl space under their lives?
We decided to sit back down. It seems easier that way. We make the decision that this is as good as it will get. We have other options-death being one of them. Who would care if I died? I mean they won’t notice. I am covered in darkness. They won’t see whether I am actually here or not. Fading into the shadows seems so freeing. It beats living in this cell any day.
Then the hatch from above opens again. Someone else is climbing down. Won’t these people leave me alone? I’m busy making plans. Who are they to bring their light? I am tired of being blinded. They will just leave again anyway and never look back.
As we sit in this dark place, our dialogues may have variations, but ultimately they all sound the same. We are lost and broken, the world around us is better off without us, and in a game of chess, we have been check-mated.
Their hope brings more pain. Their light makes our darkness seem even darker. We shield our eyes and try to shoo them away. Some will go. Some stubbornly will stay. Stop bothering me!
I have found that no matter how much we have given up on ourselves, Jesus will not stop bringing His light. It could be in the form of a friend, a phone call that interrupts the thoughts running around our mind, a song or show that speaks to our plight, a reminder from someone that reprograms the hard drive of our brain attempting to erase every good memory we ever had.
Oh yeah, I remember that.
And then there are the voices of those who love us. What would they do without us? What would they do if our voices went silent? Would they care about the circumstances that locked us in the cell, or would they do whatever they could to help find the key?
How Will You Answer?
If you are in this place then ask yourself this, if someone you cared deeply about decided the road was over for them, would you step out of the way and allow them to drive faster towards their destruction, or would you put up as many road blocks as humanly possible? Would you care what about the sins, hurt, and disappointment that formed their car, or would you help them shop for a new one?
Maybe it is time to end the reservation you have held for so long, and be willing to climb those stairs.
It isn’t easy, but the lie that this will never end will be revealed when you confront it with light. This lie can only survive in the dark. Shadows of objects appear scary when the lights are turned off. Especially when we are staying somewhere new. When the light turned on, how scared would you be of that vase you thought was a head? It seems silly. The truth is, that vase is still a vase no matter if the lights are on or off. It’s our perspective and objectivity that changes it from a haven for flowers into a monstrous, death-eating head.
Before you give up, at least allow the lights to turn on so you can make an educated decision.
Because Jesus will never run out of light bulbs to send your way.