Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Where I was, Where I am, and Where I hope to be

Threshing Wheat, Thomas Hart Benton

I'm not a person who especially enjoys living in the 21st Century. I don't own a microwave. I don't own an ice maker. I don't have cable television. My house is 97 years old. But there's one concession I make to the modern world: I love blogging. It gives me the opportunity to recast and clarify my thoughts. And that makes me a more sane person. Consider this post a reclamation of sanity.

Here goes.

People have been talking a lot to me lately. When I lie down to sleep, I hear their voices in my mind saying the same things over and over again. In a sea of words, I've collected a few I think are especially worth saving, the rest I'm going to put out with the garbage. Here are some of the keepers:

When it all finishes, in the long term, we're all going to do what we want to do.

You didn't want to be that person anymore.
That's what you were.

You know what the boxers say? They say if you've got a mean right hook, lead with your left.

You wouldn't stay in an abusive relationship sitting around thinking it was your fault, you'd just walk away. Now, just walk away.

I'm trying to figure out what makes all of these statements fit together for me right now. They seem to be what's left after the wind blew the rest off the threshing floor. The first two statements have to do with a changing heart. Human beings live according to the pleasure principle. We can't tame that drive toward pleasure and away from pain. It can't be helped, modified, ignored or dressed up and made appropriate for modern society. What pushes us away from sin and toward virtue isn't willpower, it's the singular power of Christ to change the core of our being. I believe that the Gospel does change everything. I used to be a great many things. I don't want to be those things anymore. That's who I was.

He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
out of the mud and mire;

he set my feet on a rock
and gave me a firm place to stand.

The second two statements have to do with action. I lead with my left and was sorry that I hadn't done what I was capable of doing. I regretted that I was tongue-tied and twisted. Now, I remember that I have a right hook. My best is yet to be if I can manage to walk away from my better. The truth sets me free. There is some evidence of regeneration in my heart if I do say so myself.

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