“This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.” John 11:4
I like to think that I can find security in counting on my past. Somehow I have in my head that where I’ve been and what I’ve done simply can’t be done by anyone else – it is exclusively something that only I was able to do and it is now who I am and it is what made me all because I was there. Summed up, I have somehow convinced myself to believe this mantra – if I build on the past then the future will be ok. Just hang tough – do what you can do best, I advise myself.
I want to believe that I own my past – I lived it so I think I own it. Finders keepers. I am who I am because of what I decided and what I did and what I figured out and what I sorted through… Ad nauseam. With hardly any effort at all, I am able to decide that my past is all about – ME! Look at ME!
I’m reading from one of my journals from Apr 1978. In small part, it reads, “I don’t feel like I’m apart of this. I feel like I’m along for a surreal ride. All time is stopping. I’m stepping, for a moment, into a new world for a taste of something – I know not what. This uniform I wear isn’t mine. It just allows my passage into this make-believe. Only occasionally, maybe, will I be aware of reality.”
I’ve never been sure of what is real. Is it the stuff I can touch or is it the stuff that I can feel? Is it driving a car down the highway or is it the love I have for a friend? Is it the self-induced stress from managing a very difficult work-related project or the heart-hurt from watching a marriage implode? Is it the end-of-year bonus or the taste of a fresh mango? A new stripe on the sleeve or a pat on the back? A routine or a mystery?
I’m leaning toward mystery, I think. Perhaps the true reality of things is that I have my own little Stimple bubble that’s floating along in an eternal ocean of mystery. And maybe sometimes I get really comfortable with my tiny bubble – experiences, people, past, now, money, accomplishments. But it isn’t until my little bubble starts leaking that I realize – again – that I’m floating around with billions of other little bubbles in a vast and endless sea of universal and spiritual mystery.
And I must say, I get more and more comfortable with this image as each day passes. I do have some responsibilities in my Stimple bubble – I get it. There are things that need to be taken care of.
But I think I need to spend more time being thankful for sunrises. For tears. For love. For peace. For smiles. I think these things are the essence of the mystery – things that can’t be touched or held but things that can be sensed and felt and known.
My reality – I don’t think – is any longer my stuff. My reality is becoming more and more where the mystery takes me – where it floats me.