OK, I know I've always been a late bloomer ... the story of my life. A couple of weeks ago I was reading a book that contained a quote from "The Book of Bebb" by Frederick Buechner. It's one of those quotes that, in a way, sums up how I've lived my life up till now ... and one of those quotes that made me know that this way I've lived my life hasn't worked out so well for me. This is it:
"We all got secrets. I got them same as everybody else - things we feel bad about and wish hadn't ever happened. Hurtful things. Long ago things. We're all scared and lonesome, but most of the time we keep it hid. It's like every one of us has lost his way so bad we don't even know which way is home any more only we're ashamed to ask. You know what would happen if we would own up we're lost and ask? Why, what would happen is we'd find out home is each other. We'd find out home is Jesus that loves us lost or found or any whichway."
It's strange. I grew up in a fairly normal (normally dysfunctional) family. I grew up going to church every Sunday morning and evening and every Wednesday night. My grandmother was the church secretary and she also taught children's church every Sunday morning. I grew up hearing all the stories of Jesus, attending every vacation bible school, and every session of summer bible camp. I decided at age 9 to give my heart to Jesus and to be baptized.
But I remember something ... I remember being afraid not to accept Jesus as my Savior. I was scared to death of judgment day, and having all my sins exposed, at that day, for everyone to know and to see. I also wanted my grandmother's approval. I guess at that age there's no way to fully understand what it means to walk with God, and I guess that was one of the first steps I took on that journey.
I always knew I had to hide who I truly was. I knew there was something that wasn't right in my family, and I knew that there was something wrong with me, that somehow I wasn't enough for my mother. I knew if I didn't make the right choices my grandmother would be disappointed with me, and I knew I didn't want to disappoint my grandmother.
And I guess what I'm trying to say is that when I read this quote from Leo Bebb (ultimately from Frederick Buechner) it confirmed what I finally have already figured out .... all the pain, all the fear, all the loneliness, all the shame ... it's okay. It has all been used in my life to draw me to Him. And not just to Him but to the ones in my life who see every tiny flaw there is to see in me, the ones I try so desperately to fool by covering up that myriad of flaws when really the flaws are part of my uniqueness, things to be accepted and loved as they are by God. What I'm starting to see is that what happens here on earth in my horizontal relationships reflects what's going on in my vertical relationship with God. And I can't hide from Him and I can't hide from my family .... and truly, finally, I don't want to hide anymore.
I want to be at home where I am knowing that the ones I love most are my travelling companions to a distant shore ... the one we see as the sun sets every night and turns everything to a rosy glow, the one we hear in the songs of the ocean waves, the one we taste in our tears, the one we feel as the wind blows through our hair, and the one we smell when we hold our newborn baby to our cheek ....
My life feels a bit changed today. I know Leo Bebb is a fictional character, but reading this book has helped me to see more clearly the message God has given to us ... life on earth is messy, painful, ridiculous, insane, beautiful, sad, mysterious, crazy ... but this isn't the end, it's only a taste of what's to come .... my home is Jesus, my home is my family and my friends who are wanderers with me through this human experience ...