reconciling things

“Allow it all to happen: beauty and terror…” Rilke

You know that Kanye song, All of the Lights?

“Cop lights, flash lights, spot lights, Strobe lights, street lights, (All of the lights, all of the lights)”

How about the check engine light? Mine has been lit up for six months. It’s a faulty O2 sensor and not essential to my commute. Nevertheless, I just blissfully drive on with that light in my face all day. Also, my tire pressure light is on. Also, a faulty sensor on the back tire. Tires are fully inflated. So, drive on, drive on.

I guess I like to live life on the edge.

Problem is when something actually does go wrong, I won’t know, because I am so accustomed to the light being on.

Analogous to life, no? I ignore warning lights because I am so familiar with the cause and comfortable with the source of it. So, all the lights could be on and I say, “It’s fine.”

Then one day the damn thing blows up. My life, not my car, thank God.

Did you ever wish there was a “restore to factory settings” button for your life? No? Just me? Sometimes I wish I could just reset. Or maybe like a “Clear Cookies” button so I could reevaluate every risk taken and all the access given. Maybe “Manage Storage” and I could scroll down in my heart to the “Delete Large Attachments” button and offload some shite.

I have been working through Jordan Peterson’s Self-Authoring Program and thinking deeply and honestly about the past and the present. (I haven’t even touched the Future Authoring yet.) Writing out the thoughts about what happened to me, what happened by my own hand, the choices I made and the ones I refused to make, has brought a lot of clarity. It has all dovetailed nicely with my theme of “Letting Go” this Lent. Who knew though there would be so much to let go?!

The thing is, I look back on my mistakes and can cringe so hard. And yet….I am not entirely sure I would make different choices even if I could go back. I almost understand the Felix Culpa. (Oh, Happy Fault that won for us so great a Redeemer.)

I like the person I am now a thousand percent more than I liked who I was 20 years ago. I am more honest, more willing to offer my heart in truth, more loyal, way less judgmental, far more empathetic. This person I am now—well I know her. She is unapologetic and doesn’t walk on eggshells. I can trust her. You can trust her. She listens, she cares, she is tender, she feels everything, but she won’t knowingly lie anymore. And that is huge. Would I be this person without all the missteps, mistakes, poor choices, and broken-heartedness that got me here? A bigger question would be would I want to avoid all that hurt—both that I caused and that I experienced—and not arrive where I am now?

Felix Culpa, I understand it a little.

And maybe I will understand it more 20 years from now. If God lets me be that older woman, living alone in a cottage somewhere, drinking herbs and writing pages of more truth than nonsense. Maybe then I will see more fully all the missteps in the right direction still counted as stepping stones to truth, goodness, and beauty. Maybe the regrets won’t sting so much. Maybe forgiveness for myself and others will flow like a river, the way my tears do now.

My pastor once told me, ”Daja, Faith doesn’t mean you have all the answers. It means you are not scared away by the questions.”

I have so many questions, most of which I haven’t dared to ask, because maybe I don’t want to know the answers. So instead of asking them, I will just borrow this from the Psalmist, because all my questions I guess could be summed up in this:

Whom have I in heaven but you, Lord? (Psalm 73)

At the end of the day, I guess this is the only question I actually have to ask. But just for the sake of comfort, I will hold onto the whole passage, because no one could convince me this wasn’t written by a woman with a very broken heart.

21 Since my heart was embittered
    and my soul deeply wounded,
22 I was stupid and could not understand;
    I was like a brute beast in your presence.
23 Yet I am always with you;
    you take hold of my right hand.
24 With your counsel you guide me,
    and at the end receive me with honor.
25 Whom else have I in the heavens?
    None beside you delights me on earth.
26 Though my flesh and my heart fail,
    God is the rock of my heart, my portion forever.
27 But those who are far from you perish;
    you destroy those unfaithful to you.
28 As for me, to be near God is my good,
    to make the Lord God my refuge.
I shall declare all your works
    in the gates of daughter Zion.

One thought on “All of the lights

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