It is most difficult to see things through proper perspective in the midst of negative emotions such as pain, anger, jealousy, insecurity, etc. Even during these periods, the truth can (through the Divine) pierce through like a single ray of sunshine through a dark storm to elucidate our plight with truth for perhaps a moment and provide some peace. I have written about times such as these over the last month or so.
But lasting proper perspective typically takes time. I have survived the last month of anger, pain, mourning, but I am not proud of the shape I'm in on the other end. I feel like I'm starting over in some ways because I made emotional survival a priority over health and fitness. So I drank and indulged in comfort foods to escape the worst of my emotions. But things are beginning to appear to me in their proper context, and the crisis, what felt like a violent storm, is over. I feel like I am in the aftermath of it, surveying the damage.
I haven't felt like writing because there was not much to say. I was hurting and getting through it.
I have a lot of work to do now.
One night a few months ago, I had one of those glints of perspective that I have often thought about since. I was reading an old French book on prayer called, Lord, Teach us to Pray by Paul Claudel. The book is out of print, but I had seen it in a library one night at a Catholic retreat center, and was able to find a used copy on Amazon. I was reading it for probably the third time, when I came across an aside by the author, saying that he could hardly read Ezekiel chapter 16 without crying. Well, I turned to it, and in it the prophet is speaking as God to Israel. Read it yourself, but here is the unpoetical gist of it:
It unfolds that a man takes in an abandoned and penniless child, gives her everything he has to offer, even making her his wife, and she ends up not valuing any of it and whoring herself out to his enemies.
As this story was unfolding, I welled with emotion. "Oh my God, I know what this feels like!! It's an awful feeling, and it is what SHE HAS DONE TO ME!"
All of my painful and self righteous feelings came to a crescendo in that moment. And then...
The warm hand and silent voice of God came over me saying, "Gabe, this is what you have done...to Me."
I collapsed, and the perspective that I needed washed over me in a way that is a signature of our powerful and gentle and loving God. I had done that to him. Things do not happen in a vacuum. The road that led me to that vulnerable and miserable place was one I chose. Had I remained dependent, had I waited on God, I would not have been in such a place, and I knew it.
Could it be as simple as I had been taught as a child? "Draw near to me, and I will draw near to you."
It is a beautiful and mysterious God we worship. A simple faith, but infinitely layered and complex.
I wore a letter-man jacket in high school on which I had had inscribed "Isaiah 40:31."
I am finally learning what it means to 'wait on the Lord.' I had to review over the last ten years of my life and identify the things that I have 'waited on' in order to begin to understand it.