Friday, September 18, 2009

Burdened

I am writing this at 12 30 AM. I'm getting up at 6 to catch my flight home... can't sleep yet. By the time this posts I will be on the plane.
Amidst all this joy, amidst all this celebration of Jacob's homecoming, I am finding it difficult to fell "happy." For some reason, in the middle of this great step in Jacob's recovery, there is one word that describes how I feel: burdened. As I think about what I am going home to, I feel beat down, tired, weary... utterly scared of what God is doing.

It is crazy for me to just peruse through the archives of this "Journey Through Fire" blog... if you have time, do it. Maybe read an old one, or just browse. It is overwhelming, and I get this sense of despair thinking about what we have been through and where we have come from. It is overwhelming. It is a burden. But God isn't done.

Earlier I posted about how encouraging it is for me to see examples of Jacob's faith through this time. Finding sorrowful, burdened joy in that. My dad told me that the speech therapist asked Jacob if he practiced a religion. He answered, "Christianity." After the therapist went out, he turned to my dad and said something to the effect of: "I wish I had said something different. Robbie and I had been talking about that." Something deeper.

Which leads me to expand on something that my dad wrote in the last blog.

Maybe our role IS NOT to come to moral decisions via all means of theology and philosophy, thus being able to offer judgment on others and tell them how much they suck. We see someone who does not follow our moral code and we say, "Wow, they are really screwed up. If they only were to be like me, then God would approve and love them and save them." I cannot express how much I detest this. This is so far outside of the actual message of Christ as I understand it. And it shows up in some of the ways we operate, at least things that I have observed. Christians today seem to be replacing spreading "Christ" with "spreading the Christian worldview." Whatever the heck that is. Basically saying that we need to get people to "think like us so that God can love them," rather than learning how to love people and help people and care for creation, we learn how to "defeat" atheism, how to intellectually persuade people, and how to develop our "personal" relationship with God as independent from everyone around us; we effectively throw up more and more walls around our ivory towers, rather than open up to the destruction of humility. Is this the right way?

Maybe our role, instead, is to offer hope to the hopeless. Offer love to the loveless. Offer homes to the homeless. Offer healing to the brokenhearted. To be a love and a hope for people that are broken and bleeding and scorned by society and shut out by institutions.

Maybe the message of Christ is not just one more set of beliefs to ascribe to, but is a literal way to inject hope and love into the broken, to be able to humble ourselves and sit down next to someone as they wallow in the mud, crying out to God, and simply cry out to God with them.

Maybe this is why I feel so burdened. Because I now see how many other people in the world are feeling this same burden.

How do we offer hope and love in this way? Look around you. Who are the people who are rejected? I mean really. Who are the people who you feel uncomfortable around? Who are the people who we are told to be scared of and avoid, who are bad influences? These are the people that need the hope that you have. The people whom Christ spoke against after all were the Pharisees, the people who were so wrapped up in their religious institution that they had forgotten how to love. Think we can draw parallels between then and now?

Here is a song by one of my favorite bands, Thrice, called Come All You Weary:


Come all you weary with your heavy loads
Lay down your burdens find rest for your souls
Cause my yoke is easy and my burden is kind
I’ll take yours upon me and you can take mine

Come all you weary move through the earth
You've been spurned at fine restaurants and kicked out of church
Got a couple of loaves sit down at my feet
Lend me your ears and we'll break bread and eat

Come all you weary
Come gather round near me
Find rest for your souls

Come all you weary, you cripples you lame
I’ll help you along you can lay down your canes
We’ve got a long way to go but we’ll travel as friends
The lights growing bright further on further in

Come all you weary
Come gather round near me
Find rest for your souls

Rest for your souls

Come all you weary
Come gather round near me
Find rest for your souls

Rest for your souls [x3]

-Rob (Jake's brother)

5 comments:

rcktgrl88 said...

I have been following this blog for some time now, and I am not a Christian. On the other hand, I donated an unused bedside commode to your brother, Robbie, and to your son, Tom, for his homecoming. I would like to think that you wouldn't be uncomfortable around me because I don't ascribe to your faith.

There are a lot of good, non-Christians in the world who are perfectly satisfied with where they are in God's eyes. Don't try to change me; rather, just try to accept me for who I am: a fellow traveler.

Congratulations to all of your family for bringing Jacob home today. What a blessing. I am so sorry for all you have been through.

Blessings,

Cathryn Alpert

einbildungskraft said...

I am also not a Christian. Yes, a fellow traveler.

I also contributed in a small way (financially), to help Jacob and family.

Re: "Maybe our role, instead, is to offer hope to the hopeless. Offer love to the loveless. Offer homes to the homeless. Offer healing to the brokenhearted."
This is inspirational (writing)~I have been priviledged to be exposed to your (and dad's) deeplysoulful musings.

And also like the writer above, Lily and I send all the blessings in the world to you, your family, and JACOB in this new phase.

Beth, mother of Lily, a senior at Harbor

Sheryl said...

Interesting thoughts, Robbie. Last night in Bible study we were looking at John's account of Jesus' first disciples found in John 1:35-51. We noticed that when people met Jesus they went home, told their friends, and brought them to meet Christ too. It was neither a great teaching nor a convincing argument but the person of Christ that transformed the disciples' lives. As you said, our role is not to make moral judgments or spread our worldview. We merely introduce people to Jesus and allow him to transform their lives just has he has transformed our own.

My heart sings for joy with you and your family as you celebrate Jacob's homecoming.

Anonymous said...

amazing, I love reading your writing. I work as a 911 dispatcher, and whenever I get a chance I go to this blog for inspiration, and truth. You write the truth, god has given you an amazing talent to capture your readers heart. I feel mine.

Tom Kirkendall said...

One of the huge blessings of this journey that we long for and love is the variety of faiths. That we would be able to sit and love each other and understand each other despite differences within our community is life-changing. Thanks for blessing us commode!!! We love you.