Monday, 5 October 2015

On not bracing for impact

This post is following a conversation I had with God the other day. I don't want to forget it and move on, I want to dwell on it and change.

There's a reason your young years are called "formative years". They truly are, no matter how much change you go through later... in my formative years, I lost people I loved. I learned that trust is stupid, and that just when I'm having the best of times, the biggest of blows is sure to follow.

So I learned to brace for impact.

Things right now are good, in fact they are wonderful; therefore the blow to come must be devastating. Brace.

Of course this isn't a conscious thought process... but just the other day, I was reflecting on how wonderful life is for me right now and all I've been given and immediately a deep sense of foreboding descended. Of something awful ahead, undefined and vague. The response to that is what I call "bracing for impact" - hardening, not letting people in too close, being as ready as possible for the blow.

And then, as I reflected, I felt God's gentle prompting to stop protecting myself. He reminded me that He is good. He doesn't give good things in order to "soften us up" for the blow ahead. Disasters don't come because we've had it too good for too long.

In fact God himself feels deeply, and He never braces for impact. He feels it all, intensely. He loves fully and completely, and grieves to the depths of grief. Love and grief, devastation and delight - they are divine experiences we get to live. Without God of course it makes sense to brace for impact, because horrible things do happen and without this rock to cling to, we better protect ourselves.

But He reminded me that He's my refuge in times of troubles, if and when they come, but to live to the full today I need to walk tall, love hard, and allow it all. Enter into life. Let my heart be so filled that if it does get broken, it's not just cracked but utterly shattered. That, too, is life.

Maybe one day I can live in the sunshine of today without that sense of foreboding. Maybe the fact I'm even sharing this, despite my sense of unease at "tempting fate" by saying these things out loud, is a step forward.