Homecoming and Hospitality
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Everything external is shaking and changing and moving to an uncertain, but certain, future. Ending. Beginning. I’m not sure which. My kids are growing, my husband and I are aging, the times they are a changin’, but all of that is external.
Inside, things basically stay the same, right? We basically feel the same and think the same and look at things the same as we did yesterday. Maybe change inside is imperceptible. Maybe our days are long strings built thick, fiber by fiber, stronger each week, and it will take a year of hindsight to really see we are changing, inside, too. We are thickening.
I’ve been working on some plans for the future which required a looking back, just back to the last year but back…and I thought I was good at this. I thought I specialized in reminiscing and reflecting. Turns out, my introspection is more about what’s up, inside, right now.
I’m not good at looking around.
I work on this by looking at people and wondering what they are introspecting. With my kids, I ask too many nosy questions and if I’m suspicious I’ll just come right out and ask the most embarrassing things. They are shocked. I tell them this is my job. Then I’m embarrassed. Then I brush over all the questions that naturally ensue and am back to introspecting my own self. Looking in on me. Looking at everything spoken into existence (Genesis 1) as it relates to me—the trees the grass the birds the flowers—all for me.
Looking back at what happened in the last year was not easy. Not very many things came to mind. I had to consult Google for my calendar, and two bullet journals for the details of the year. I looked through my Bible journal. I scrolled my Instagram feed. Turns out lots of things happened in the last year, things worth remembering and things better forgotten or learned from, but I had to consult external sources to bring them to mind. I am not google. I do not store the shifting, changing, moving of a year. Do I?
Things are changing outside and my insides stay wrapped up in immediate needs and those daydreams, the conversations, the letters, the things. Thank God for calendars and pictures and paper-recordings of life. Thank God for time keeping. Thank God for God.
God is all-consuming. My mind is slow but steady and I feed it a diet but is it good? Is it nourishing? It is full, I know that. With everything stretching away from me and daydreams to keep up with and conversations to have, to really have in really-real life, my mind is full and I never think it can take on more. It can’t take on more. My mind is full. Consumed.
God is all-consuming and my thoughts are too thoroughly digested. I have them all, I look at them frequently and evaluate them but I seldom chuck the useless ones quickly enough. I hold on to them a second too long and they latch, like donuts to the waist. The pants are tight these days, the thoughts have lingered.
God is all-consuming and I haven’t made sufficient room. No. That’s not right. God doesn’t need room in my thoughts—He is room. Space and time and forever that is unshaken, unchanging, unmoving. God is external and internal, if I let Him be. If I welcome Him to be. I can frame all the thoughts in light of His presence and see them illuminate or darken. Consumed in Him.
Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. For our God is a consuming fire. \\Hebrews 12:28-29 NKJV\\
I actually have held on to the shifts and changes and all that has moved through. I have the events in my fibers, thick ropes stretching long into almost 41 years now. Young. Old. I’m not sure which but I’m sure it doesn’t matter. God is all-consuming and I am feeble in the fire, burned in a gaze and thankful.
All those thoughts in captivity are subject to becoming ashes; all my thoughts before Him are consumed one way or another, eternal and beginning. God is all-consuming and the best parts of me are soaked in His word and presence and grace; fireproof, everlasting. The best parts of me are not worried about change or devoured by my own thoughts. I am all-consumed.
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