I survived my week in hell, but not before making an utter fool of myself before God and a couple of brothers. Of the thousands of movies I’ve seen, and the tens of thousands of quotable lines in them, the one that struck a lasting chord of perfect pitch in me came out of Steve Martin’s mouth in Father of the Bride. He said, “I come from a long line of over reactors.” When I heard that for the first time I underwent a catharsis of hysterics. Suddenly I was no longer totally responsible for my emotional tantrums; my ancestors helped me to carry the blame. I laughed out loud in the heartiest most joyful expression of relief, and since then from time to time I remember the line with no diminution of joy.
It is when I need forgiveness the most, that of course I deserve it the least. Being haunted by my own weakness, as I approached the cleansing purifying Chalice on Sunday, I wondered if I could forgive myself. Weakness is the wrong word. It tries to erase blame. There was no weakness, it was a voluntary and intentional performance staged to express the tumult I felt, like a pinball being jettisoned not just by flippers but in a sea of currents screaming to bust through the wall of conflict, when I should have been a meek and faithful lamb. It doesn’t help at all that I am reading Mark Twain’s Recollections of Joan of Arc. Worse yet, I am at the part in the book that describes her at her trial. Here stands young Joan firm and strong before the most evil opposition. The contrast is humiliating. Please reader of mine, read Twain’s book for the most inspiring tale of a true immortal.
I look ahead at this week with renewed commitment to find my way into the very heart of Christ so I can consciously join Him at the moment when He reunites humanity to God to make the new Eden possible, even here and now. To listen to the echoes of my failure is to deny the power of the Blood. This is a new day in a new week and I have only to experience what is true and real and before me now. I mustn’t look back, but rather set my hand to the plow.
During this Lent in my writing, I am intentionally not on another journey likes the ones you have joined me on so many times before, such as when we walked the Exodus together, or rode in the bubble during Creation (that was fun!). Nope, no journey this time. I know that most aspiring immortals call Lent a journey, but not me, not this year. I don’t want to go from here to there; instead in stillness I want to become aware of being in Christ and He in me. Awareness is no journey, it is an awakening. It is truth revealed in the midst of powerful lies, distortions are like wavy mirrors at the carnival that tickle us with our false reflections. Awareness of truth is the first speck of sunrise over the ocean illuminating what had sat in darkness.
Of course I need help to become aware of being in Christ, the help one can only get from a friendly immortal or an aspiring immortal. I started Lent with one such man, Nicholas Cabasilas, but then needed to put him down for book club assignments and the occasional treat, Joan of Arc. I am almost finished with my book club assignment, Uncle Tom’s Cabin is a beautiful book about how the true Christianity of both Negroes and Caucasians helped to overcome and ultimately to extinguish evil slavery. After the meeting tomorrow, I hope to shed the scales from my eyes and tell you what I see. Till then, adieu.