Tuesday, July 18, 2017

“The Caveman Who Forgot Who He Was”

For much of the past 20 years or so, I have lived in a cave. Well, let me clarify.... not a literal cave...not yet anyway. I'm thinking that once we hit a “certain” age or place on our journey of grace and recovery, IF we are willing, there's an invitation we receive--an opportunity to a pilgrimage into solitude and silence away from the call of the clamoring culture or the watchful eyes of peers, fans, critics, or rivals. Maybe I was a freakin' idiot, but yeah...I accepted that invitation into the cave. Of course, at the time, I had NO clue what that would entail. I was thinkin' more of an occasional visit into the cave, nothing too long or too intense, but just an optional, casual jaunt into that setting--really more of a sightseeing excursion from which I could return to "normalcy" and the demands of reputation and image, at will. Yeah right! Did I get an industrial sized dose of reality!!! The door of this cave, once you're inside, can only be opened from the outside. You don't have to enter, but if you do, you're there! Life seems to leave THAT little tidbit out of the "Caveland Brochure". So anyway, for around fifteen years, I've been here. Oh sure, I've had contact with the outside world; I’ve interacted with my family, and have had occasional opportunities for "flashes" of community and relationship. But at night, when I sleep, or in the serenity of the morning drinking coffee, I'm reminded.... in my "situation", the cave is only intended for two...Love Himself and me. While a citizen of "Caveland", you see faces, hear voices, watch people pass, and observe life happening around you, only it seems like you're watching it all unfold from behind a glass wall. You can't "really" take part in what's going on. You attempt to engage, awkwardly try to communicate, and try talking to people who are looking at you with confused, blank stares. No one seems to understand what you're saying, where you are, or what YOUR life is about. Many times, it's truly as frustrating as heck! The cave experience affords you plenty of time to think, to evaluate, to reveal, and to learn. The choice is yours. You can do your time there in pity, pouting, and anger, or, you can surrender to the seasonal surroundings, sort of like Tom Hanks in the classic movie, "Castaway". Should you choose to accept this mission, an incredible process awaits you! It is futile to "logically" anticipate or speculate about the series of often enigmatic and confusing events that might happen while "hangin" in the cave. Doing so only sets you up for frustration and fear. It's best to go with the flow of the cave, embracing each moment in trust and rest. The cave can offer a time of repose and stillness EVEN in the absence of any foreseeable answers or direction. You will never feel more helpless than when you are in the cave, but you will never be more safe, more loved, and more significant in the heart of Love Himself. As I sit alone in my own corner of this cave, I have fewer answers than I had when I entered. I had more plans, goals, and strategy when I entered than I do now. I was more self-assured, manipulative, and intelligent when I entered than I am now. But somehow, as my process in this cave has progressed, I find a strange peace in the unknown, an inward strength that is not my own. I am beginning to see a recovery of my true identity form out of the pain of my frustration, out of the bitterness of perceived rejection. It's almost like a cleansing--a stripping away-- is taking place, and a childlike wonder and untainted trust is beginning to awaken inside a new heart where skepticism and cynicism no longer have a home. And my mind is no longer obsessed with knowing every answer, or being able to arrive at a logical conclusion for every when, where, why, and how, but simply resting in THE Answer--my identity in Christ--and finding the grace and faith to believe in the security of that identity, regardless of present circumstances or emotions. I'm learning to see EVERYTHING through the lens of who I am in Christ, and what that looks like in everyday existence. You see, in this cave where I'm still hangin' out I've been made aware of how distracted I've been through the years, and how my perspective on so many things has been grossly distorted. I have been searching for significance from the outside in, and holding other people unfairly to standards and expectations that I, even in my wildest dreams and fantasies, could never reach. What the cave has been revealing, though painful and sometimes paralyzing has started to bring healing. And the simplicity of it all is beginning to shine through, how Love Himself is my purpose, my identity, my "calling" in life. Circumstances change, and emotions waiver. They are as fickle as shifting sands and fading shadows, certainly not foundations that life can be built on. I don't know how much longer I'll be in this cave, or if "achievement" and "opportunity" will knock on my door anytime soon. I guess I'm okay with that, because "those" don't define me anymore. I'm significant in the watchful eyes of my son and daughter, and I'm a success in the smile of my beautiful bride! It is a most baffling paradox that I'm learning in this cave-- I'm growing stronger in the power of Love Himself--Christ alone-- by becoming weaker, and not fighting for myself. What a freedom I've discovered in surrendering to the cave. I am finding who I am by losing who I thought I was suppose to be. So the journey continues, and I breathe in each new day with no allegiance to worry anymore. My relationship with Love Himself is leading me ever closer to His heart, even here in this cave.

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