It’s our anniversary today. Except it’s not. It’s our official “We are an item” anniversary that we agreed several years into parenthood. When both daughters’ birthdays sandwiched our anniversary – the first just four days before, and the second just one day after. When our girls decided that they wanted their special day to be special (and not a prefix/suffix to our “special day”).
So this day in February is when it’s just us: husband and wife, mother and father, grandad and nana. Except it’s not.
Our youngest daughter is giving birth at any time. We are on standby for those elusive contractions when we will also swing into action. When their nearly three year-old is delivered to us before they head to the hospital for child number two.
Although it might be more a houseful than that.
Our son-in-law (eldest daughter) is in agony with medically over-the-telephone (assumed) kidney stones both last night and this morning. So he is off to the hospital to have that confirmed and to find out how to “give birth” to those little rock stars!
So we are on standby with their four young children as well.
They don’t teach this stuff in The Facts Of Life. The facts of life are about how to make a baby (and hopefully how not to make one as well). That Special Wedding Day is pure expensive fantasy. Just as “I will” has no concept of the reality it is speaking-committing. Which is why so many break it so easily and intentionally in the months-years that follow. In fact they don’t teach much about what happens “after” with anything very much.
I remember the “Mid Life Crisis” phases … the “Empty Nest Syndrome” crises … so many “labels” that hide reality deep within. Lived and learned as though for the first time every time. Like “getting saved” … “making disciples” … all those labels and phrases that also hide reality deep within. And – now – my least ever favourite phrase: “in-person worship” and the logistical problems not of “The Church” but “my church” and “your church” and “their church” over there – the bricks, bills and habit stuff that is the reality of “The Church” (we all waffle on about conceptually).
I got saved. I got involved in making disciples. And each time the reality following it was way different than the neat cliché before.
Getting saved was easy. Just like saying “I will”. Everyone was happy for me. I was one of
them us for real now. But just as the wedding reception comes to an end … the honeymoon comes to an end … the naivety ends and the knowing begins …
Promises are easy to break.
Just as in making disciples. Easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy until “volunteering” is questioned, or why perpetuating “traditions and habits” is queried, or the reality of “giving my life to The Lord” is evidenced in giving my life to “my church” for stuff that seems unrelated mostly to much else than counting numbers.
How much money in, how much out, how many members in, how many out, how many bills paid, how many not, how many to take services, how many not covered, how many dying and how many not staying, how many this and how many that.
Remember that bit in the bible where Jesus tells them how it is and “many went home” – not to their godly home but to their earthly bricks and mortar home?
“We” teach that to be backsliding … to be “those of little faith” … to be “seeds that got swallowed up” or “overgrown by the weeds” … We love numbers that tell us if we are doing it right for
We seem to love numbers more than love.
The reality for me is Love. Love for you, love for me, and love for something that binds us together (if we each allow). Something bigger than each of us – that is all of us. Not love used to describe sex. Not love used to describe transaction. Not love of I will if you will back. Not love we have made into counting and numbers. A “love” that the world defines and we have made The Church. Made a “love” that needs me to do and believe so much stuff in order to be loved. That needs me to fit-in. Needs me to stand-up and be counted. Needs me to be there when I am needed. Love that “needs” when real love is needless and love that is “a verb”- a “doing word”. The church loves doing. The church counts on “doing” being done.
And many went home.
I did. I went home. And found Love I see in the bible. Love that is not a verb but Being.
I am. That Love. That being. That I am love or I am not love.
Not doing – not a verb. Not any clichéd label. Not a belief structure, not a fitting-in, not a standing-up, not a being there because I think I should.
Just a “being” always everywhere all the time and with everyone. And I found something else. That is where the wonderful word “no” comes from: No comes from love without condition.
As in … No double-booking. No letting me or another down. No making that more important than this. No giving more there than here. No smiling to my face and bitching behind my back. No seeing God in a homeless person but not in the smarmy git in bible class. No seeing God in those who think and believe as I do – but not in those who don’t. No as in no regrets or guilt or shame or blame.
Seeing being saved as saved for Love rather than “God”. Seeing being a disciple not as becoming a good Christian but as becoming a Being of Love. Imagine that – if we all aspired to become a Being of Love (without condition).
It’ll never catch on.
How many thousands and thousands of years have we been doing this God stuff in religions, faiths and beliefs and “The Church(s)” … ?
For me Love (without condition) is the only reality.
If I allow.