Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The Street is Silent

The Street is Silent: Proverbs 15:13-14 ESV 

A glad heart makes a cheerful face, but by sorrow of heart the spirit is crushed. The heart of him who has understanding seeks knowledge, but the mouths of fools feed on folly


Last Friday as I was leaving from my work's Christmas lunch I hear on the radio of the heart wrenching horror in Sandy Hook. In an instant  my face was no longer cheerful as sorrow filled my heart. I literally felt crushed.

During my drive home I imagine myself in the shoes of the teachers, parents, and children. Sadness? Hopelessness? Courage? Broken? Sure...all of those I felt. Sadly any feelings were blanketed by rage and anger. I was shaking. I turn off the radio because the Christmas music was making me tremble with fury. Those kids probably walked into school that morning innocently pondering what mommy and daddy got them for Christmas. They don't even quite understand what love is yet but they know they can't wait to share that day with their family. The parents probably spent days looking into what to make their kids happy on Christmas and where the best hiding spot is. But they'll never know.

Slowly I park my car as tears come down and I am angry with God. I am angry at the shooter. I am angry at his parents.

Really though, what is the point of being angry at anyone? Would my anger revive the dead? Would my anger at God change His plans? Would my anger make anyone better off? No my anger is foolish and so is everyone else's.

We can point our fingers and blame the lack of gun control, we can go on for hours on how the killer was a heartless psycho and we can say it was out of anyone's control. We will do all we can to disassociate the possibility that we had anything to do with it. Lanza isn't the first and he won't be the last unless we, and by we I don't mean everyone else in society other than ourselves, do something about it.

I slow my thoughts down and put myself in the shoes of Lanza. Adam was literally the embodiment of anger mixed with hatred and separation. It's easy to label him as just another monster. But I wonder if he must have sustained insurmountable pain for a very long time to have done something like this. He is not Jesus. He is not capable of bearing all of that and overcoming it. 

Yes he was awkward. Don't we know someone that's awkward? Even worse he was creepy. Don't we know someone that's a little creepy? More unbearable was that he just couldn't connect with people. Don't we know someone that just doesn't seem to have friends? But what do we do? We disassociate with those people. They can stay awkward, creepy and alone because I don't want to show them any love. It's too much burden on me.

I am angry at myself. I am one of those people that decided to stay away from Lanza. Multiply that by the size of a town and that was Adam's "life." On that Friday we've lost our cheerful faces and were exposed to a crushed spirit because of Adam. But because of us, I dare say Adam had long lost his cheerful face: his spirit, long crushed before ours.

I ponder had only one person truly connected with Adam; if fate would have changed, not only for himself but the lives he took.

We meet people, see events and experience life; and to cope, we always compartmentalize the flurry of information on a daily basis. "That event was lame, not going ever. That was fun, let's doing it again. I hate this person, they're so awkward. I love that person, they're so like me." We compartmentalize and never let one seep into the other. But love can transcend our walls because it is the key that unlocks those compartments.  

Days like these need silence. Not a moment of silence for those who passed but silence to refrain our mouths from feeding hatred with hate. Instead it is with clear eyes that we ought to seek love which allows us to connect. When we connect we beget understanding. Those two are key pillars to healing not to just others but ourselves. For Christ did not defeat sin through the act of revival. Sin was defeated through Christ's love and revival was merely a metaphor. 

We cannot revive those who've perished. But with love we can revive hope and with hope a brighter tomorrow.


Friday, December 7, 2012

Word.S.unpoken for a Long Time

Stop Moving: Romans 9:20 
But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, “Why have you made me like this?”


Don't we all question our self worth? All of us worry to some extent what other people think of us. Whether we want to admit it or not, if we have the courage to dig deep and admit this truth then we can also admit that somewhere along the line our opinions of our own self worth is intertwined with opinions from society. We strive and operate to be deemed not only socially acceptable but socially revered. Because at the end of the day we enjoy praise, just as God as we're made in His image.

But what happens when we fail? We destroy our self worth as social opinions weigh down on us. We subconsciously accept that our self worth is a function of our own opinions and the opinions of others. Somewhere along there we exclude God; because really, who hears God cheering them on every day?

But where is our faith? We are His canvas and he paints us. To any true artist, their work, no matter how socially accepted, is beauty in their own eyes. It's worth isn't monetary but in every bit of their journey and their experience. Every art piece is different. God does not make strokes or dashes without full confidence. God does not smear and botch details or shades. But we, the canvas, cannot sit still and accept God's work. We move and fidget and WANT God to paint the end product WE envision. We want to be revered as much as the Mona Lisa or be as hilarious as the Ecce Homo. But who are we to have the audacity to ask that for that? Should we not be grateful that a painter is pouring His life into us with joy?

Because we move and fidget and God brushes with decisive strokes we ourselves smudge the vision that God has for us. Correcting a mistake on a painting is hard work. He will do it. Shading is abrasive to the canvas and tiring to the painter. He will do it. Painting details require patience and care. He will do it.
The most difficult parts of painting is what makes it beautiful and timeless. It is also memory and experience shared between the art piece and the artist. From the moment our life begins to the moment it's finished, it is God's painting and his masterpiece to show. Whether other people hold any value to it is irrelevant to Him and we mustn't forget that.

Daily Challenge:
Sit still and let God paint. Hang on as the shading shreds the canvas. Pause and absorb the vision of God.