So I heard somewhere that we should celebrate our own Jubilee, the day when we learned that there is a way for all our debts to be forgiven and that Jesus makes everything new. The day we, personally, spiritually, returned to our ancestral home on earth, as one of God’s chosen. For me, that day was July 24, 2008. Seven years today. I am 41 years, six months and two days old, so that is just a smidge more than 1/6 of my life thus far. Maybe God really does make us new because some days, I don’t even remember that other 5/6, or the fact that I lived them without Jesus. Those are good days, the days when I live like there was no “Before”. But there was time before that, and that day I was kind of wallowing in the fallout of that life before. And there was a moment that ended that life before. Come back with me.
I was two months and four days out of a relationship that I had been in for 14 years. I had left, filed for divorce and was living with my three fairly young kids in a domestic violence shelter. It was the bottom of the bottom for me. I had realized that I was afraid of the man that I had really given up everything I possibly could to love. We had filed the first round of paperwork, I had said terrible things about him and he had said terrible things about me. I would like to say that I told the truth and he lied, but…who knows? And it really doesn’t matter. Either way, I was completely devastated. I had no idea what I was going to do with the rest of my life, including, but not limited to, where we were going to live and what we would eat. I was immersed in the really ugly parts of my memories of my marriage and, yet, wondering if I should go back and, yet, knowing that it was too late for that. I won’t go into details but, I can say, it was dark up in here.
After walking out, I had gotten back in touch with a friend of mine from high school. He had just gone through a divorce as well and he had told me that the only thing that got him through his rough times was his faith in Jesus. His hope, if he had any at all, lay there. And I figured I could use a little hope (and a little distraction), so I started asking questions. And, in faith, he did his best to answer. Or, at least, point me in a good direction for the answers. =)
So we were doing sort of an impromptu “Bible introduction for the heathen.” And I comprehended it, but, it didn’t mean anything. It was mostly a literary exercise for me. I didn’t really know what Eli was getting out of it, if anything, but he kept coming back, so I did, too. Anyway, I knew what the Bible said. God created the Universe, man sinned, chaos ensued, Jesus came, more chaos. *shrug* I always believed that something created the Universe, I just wasn’t so sure about the Bible and the picture of God that it painted. I didn’t really get it, and what I did get, I wasn’t positive I liked. I kind of liked the idea of some of it and I wanted something to believe in, but I just wasn’t sure. I guess, like Tenth Avenue North, I wondered: “Could the Maker of the Stars hear the sound of my breaking heart?” Seemed unlikely.
Then, after about a month of this, Eli sent me an email with a link to a blog post.
This is something I believe, too, only have never said as well:
“Science thrives on open questions. So does faith rightly understood. Both are journeys into the unknown with the lightest of equipment: a metanarrative or mathematical formula for a compass, and a few fixed reference points on a map that may, who knows, be turned upside down.”
Journeys into the unknown, with the lightest of equipment. Bravo!
And when I got there, I followed a link in the post to a beautiful translation of Psalm 8 that changed my life. (It’s still there. You can go read it, too, if you haven’t already. It’s really good. I’ll wait here while you do that.) God uses what he will to change and turn us. I am grateful for John Hobbins and his lifelong love of Biblical language because God used him to change me. Him, and a guy who kept me too late at a gas station more times than I can count. =) Anyway, I don’t have to tell you about that moment in retrospect, I wrote about it while it was happening. I just had to. Happy email stimming, I guess.
Wow, all I have to say is “I. Love. Kung Fu.” Seriously, though, that is beautiful.
Speaking of beauty, I went to the post and read it (you know, you are the only personal correspondent I have that I have to do research to reply to his emails…). I’m reading it but it’s not making any sense cuz I’m like “what’s Psalm 8?” </end mongoloid voice> so I go read the text and translation post. I’m looking at the Hebrew and I don’t understand it but it just looks really cool (thanks, btw, I just barely started learning Latin and now I want to learn Hebrew) so I go to the English.
I kid you not, I’m reading it and I just start tearing up. I’m trying not to cry because Mae’s right there and I don’t want to explain to her why I’m bawling over the computer but, honestly, if she weren’t here I’d just have been sitting here bawling. I think it was that line – what did he call it? – the pivot: “what is man that you mind him; children of dust, that you note them?” I was just overcome by this sense of awe and humility and the beauty of the language and I just can’t even express it. Children of dust. I suddenly got it. How miniscule must a person be to God, just one more thing in a universe of beautiful things that He created and yet He has a plan for us, He actually gives a rip. He actually loves us, Eli. I can’t describe it, I don’t have the words. I’m having an actual physical feeling in my heart. From reading a Bible passage. I mean, I have had physical reactions to literature and music and art but this is something entirely different. I think I’m high on God’s love or something. And I don’t know what to do with it. But I know it’s gonna be okay. Everything is gonna be okay because God loves us, Eli. And, right now, that’s all that matters.
=) (that’s not an indication of a joke, that’s actually me smiling),
PS Thank you for being there because you are the only person that I could tell this to and I had to tell someone.