Saturday, January 2, 2010

Confessions of a Spiritual Stumble-bum

Dear Reader,

Do you ever feel as if spiritually you’re looking into a fun house mirror where everything is grossly distorted, and nothing looks right no matter which way you turn? This can happen for many reasons. For me it's usually due to forgetting. Forgetting what Jesus said about Himself and focusing instead on the negative/legalistic messages which often abound in the lives of those who are not abiding in Him, but are convinced they hold the sum of all truth.

When I listen to others rather than to the Word, everything becomes distorted and I soon find myself spiritually and mentally disoriented. Not unlike an incident which happened years ago when I was living in Chicago.

Son #5 and I had parked in front of a Subway store to pick up a couple of sandwiches. Two young men seated at a table in front of the plate glass window were the only other customers.

As we left the store, stepping carefully along the snow encrusted walk, I felt a twinge of annoyance when we reached the car and my son outdistanced me, stopping in front of a line of parked cars a few parking slots over. Sending him a pointed look of irritation, I opened the driver side door of the car, vaguely noticing as I slid behind the wheel that the front seats were covered in lamb's skin. Before that had time to sink in, I sent Son #5 another look of annoyance (ok, a glare, really.) Much to my surprise (and anger) he stood pointing and laughing at me!
Plotting his upcoming punishment upon his arrival home (which I pictured as an event separate from my homecoming, seeing as how he’d be walking home if he didn’t cut out the nonsense and get in the car), I glanced over my shoulder and took note of the college stickers peppering the rear window. Strange, I thought idly, I don’t remember seeing them before. Well, one can’t remember everything.
As I fumbled under the dashboard for the jury rigged switch to start the car, two things happened: the plush-ness of the seat covers finally registered in my brain. At the same moment I discovered that there was no switch, jury rigged or otherwise.

My head snapped up to take in the fact that my son was still out in the cold, laughing like a hyena... and that (uh-oh), this college-stickered car must belong to the customers inside, wolfing down their food with the greedy abandon of college students who never get enough to eat. Need I spell out the rest? I’m sure I hold the world’s record for the fastest evacuation of a car, ever.

God, long used to my shenanigans (He really can’t take me anywhere!), must have given the two young men a dose of temporary blindness—it’s the only way I can explain the fact that they were oblivious to the whole I-Love-Lucy enactment right under their noses.

The point of all my ramblings? That just as by getting into the wrong car I experienced the strange feeling of everything being off kilter, so I am bound at times to get off on the wrong track spiritually: to open the wrong door, or to miss the obvious signs along the way that point out I am not where I should be (as I did by ignoring my son’s laughter, so sure that I knew what I was doing.) When it comes to spiritual confusion—especially regarding my concept of God’s character—I have only to recall that Jesus said, “If you’ve seen Me you’ve seen the Father.”

Why is that so hard to remember? Especially since oftentimes, everything else is just the equivalent of looking into a fun house mirror...


1 comment :

  1. A good story - and an interesting parallel to one of my own. I went into a drug store for something and when I came back out found a man sitting in my car trying to figure out why his keys would not work. Someone else was standing there wondering the same thing and so I just stood around waiting for them to figure out the problem without saying anything. I didn't want to embarrass them by telling them the obvious knowing that when they finally figured out that their car was right next to this one they would feel silly enough without my help. I actually enjoyed the humor of the situation while it lasted and it all ended when they finally noticed something wasn't quite right. Actually our cars were two different makes altogether but looked so similar anyway that there were a number of times I myself easily mistook other cars to be mine though I didn't go as far as they did.


Comments, anyone? I'd love to hear your point of view.