Jesus is my best friend.
Because he is the best kind of friend. He’s says hard things. True things. True things are hard things. Harder than diamonds. They have to be so they can split coconuts. So they can split the hardest heads before the hardest heads split everything else.
What happens when an immovable object meets an unstoppable force?
Heck if I know.
All I know is the collision between myself and the hardest thing left a crater a thousand miles wide, east to west. And the person who walked out found existence softer and easier than he ever imagined. He could somehow feel the earth again in his fingers. A new ability to flex; to bend but not break.
“One day” it seemed my whole world was resentment, bitterness and contempt. That is to be in exile. That is the moment when suddenly you wake up to the fact that you are on a raging sea and the the captain of your ship says that it’s going down. You have been sailing away as quickly and as far as possible from your assigned task, anywhere but your destiny, and all of “what you should have been.” The lots are cast; and it turns out: fate is against you.
Whose fault is it, this storm, this foundering ship? It is the one who stopped listening—stopped paying attention to the wind. The one who knew what he was supposed to do and didn’t.
That person has to go. It’s the only way. That person must be tossed overboard.
And God provides a fish. A big fish. And down to the bottom you go.
Don’t be angry.
It’s not right to be angry.
It’s just how it is.
The one who needs redemption is also the one with the task to redeem.
The one who needs healing is also the one with the task to heal.
The one who is hungry is tasked to feed.
The one who is dying is tasked to save.
“Where does your amazing strength come from to defeat the enemy?”
Samson replies, “Alright, alright. You keep nagging me and I keep telling little lies about myself, but here is the real truth. My strength lies in my hair.”
NO! WRONG! Samson’ strength was a gift from God. The hair was a gift—a symbol—gifted; given—but still just a material thing. Anything that is given comes from a source. Where the gift comes from—who the gift comes from—the “relationship” to the source—is what infuses it with power. And the source is what replenishes the gift with the power to defeat the enemy—as long as you remain mindful of—have a relationship with— the source. It is just the same with any relationship. The “gift of strength” does not reside in the thing itself. It is a terrible mistake to confuse symbols for the actual treasures—abstractions for the actual gifts, for power. To confuse this, is to disconnect, to shear, to “let a hand touch your head.” And when this disastrous mistake occurs; the symbol is gone, and with it, the gift. Delilah did not trick Samson. Samson was the one playing tricks. And like all tricksters, he relied on distraction, confusion, and lack of attention. Samson tricked himself. Samson betrayed God, and in doing so, betrayed himself. He became blind. Only when he grew the strength of character to talk to the Lord again and ask one last chance to change—to make things right—did he reveal his understanding of who his real enemy was. Samson is the one who had to go—to die. It is the last place anyone wants to look—it is dark, deep, lonely. It was in the filth, in the dust, in the dirt, at the bottom, in the belly of the beast, that he found what he needed most. When Samson finally discovered who was the true enemy, the true betrayer, he knew what to do. “And in his death he defeated more enemies than when ‘he’ was alive.”
I remember feeling like Dorothy waking up at the end of Oz, in her bed with her family surrounding her, for the first time with joy in her heart. The great lesson of “The Wizard of Oz” is not that the source of power resides in the ruby slippers (Dorothy had those on right from the start). The great lesson is that the power to get home springs from one’s deep understanding and admission after defeating the enemies within, that “there’s no place like home.”
Home is what is always there. It is the truest; the only; destination. To get back to what always was. What was lost. To what is. It is your truest self. The thing you are searching for the most is the closest thing to you. It is home.
It is connected to the idea of identity: “Who am I?”
The most fascinating question. It is in the wilderness of rationality that the burning bush of “Who am I? Who are you?” calls in the distance. The adversary’s desert is the middle years. The 40 years—that empty landscape of “I finally arrived and…this is it? This is a rip-off.” It is the place of realization that I am the butt of my own terrible joke. I am the king of a wasteland. The answer to “have I been wandering in the dessert for 40 years?” is: yes.
“Who I am” is looking back at you in the mirror. Because to look at yourself you need to look in a mirror. To look at your spiritual self is as dangerous as it is fascinating, because the thing—the mirror— that is going to show you who you are is the God of the entire universe—“That which is.” And since you are a mirror for him, then it is the same as turning a transmitter towards a receiver, or turning two mirrors towards each other. A positive feedback loop--an endless, infinite pattern upon pattern upon pattern—manifests. When the microphone is held to the speaker—when that which is spoken to, is close to that which speaks—violence occurs! Everyone shrieks, shrinks, closes their eyes, grabs their heads, closes up, folds over. It is difficult to withstand, to understand.
Is who I am what I think I am, or what you think I am, or what I think you think I am? One day you will have to figure this out. The answer is none of those things. The answer is in the abyss— below the surface of deep waters—in the void. Are you ready to jump? Are you ready to create new heavens and new earths. The answer is only after the jump.
“Help me to understand.”
There is nothing else. The path of the ego is the path to the lowest place. Ends there. But it is also where humility Begins—must begin. Humility, if it is ever to be found, is found in the abyss—where profound things always are. And then, down there in the dirt, an amazing thing happens: the eyes begin to lift. The journey starts to climb upward. It is the place of “levavi oculos.” It is elevation. It is the place of revealed truth, rather than argued truth.
What more do I need?
Jesus—the mode of being that redeems—is all the sign I need. All the miracle I need. Am I not amazed at this life? Do I see only my tiny years, or do I see the eternal moment of right now? Do I simultaneously look one way and say, “My time on this earth is too short!” and look another and say, “I have plenty of time;” never able to live right now—the ONE AND ONLY place where life actually happens; refusing, rejecting, ignorant—waiting for some other time, some other life?
Jesus says,”Do you want me to exceed your expectations? What do you expect?”
Faith happens in the absence—on the other side; in the letting go—of my wants. My wants are marred by smallness; tarnished by fear; pushed and pulled by the external. In their absence, ONLY by their removal, can I finally see the one who says, “Ask me anything? And as long as you do it my name—the name of redemption—in the name of that which exists outside of what you know—it is done.”
It’s like, “The unknown can either be trusted or feared. I am asking you to trust.”