Monday, April 24, 2006

foundation

What are you made of? What’s at your core? How deep do you go? Or maybe the question is more importantly, what’s your foundation laid upon? I’ve rolled that around in my brain so much lately I’m beginning to suffer from a bizarre sort of motion sickness.
I’ve been totally out of sorts lately, enough so that I wonder about things like the stability of the human mind and the limits that each individual are capable of. The Bible tells us that God will not give us more than we can bear “through Christ”. I’m not sure that this is much comfort. I use these thoughts at times as I talk to people about brokenness and life and things troubling. These words seem nice at the time. I’m not sure if they’re comfort or denial. I am sure that I don’t want to test that theory. How close to that line am I? I remember watching “A Beautiful Mind” for the first time and totally missing, the later on obvious fact, that the college roommate was the only one who never aged. He was merely an illusion of his mind. Sometimes I wonder that people I interact with might never age, just illusions of a brain totally out of sync with reality. I now look suspiciously at friends who seem not to age. I deal with the destructiveness of denial all the time. I wonder if I could recognize it close up. It all comes back to the depth of my being. Where is my faith? Just yesterday I found myself, during a time intended for meditating on a sacrifice more wonderful than has ever been made, instead contemplating the flow of the message that I was about to deliver. Did I miss the point? Was the messenger more important than the message? Is my foundation built on grace for me or responsibility and image and appreciation and all that gets thrown my way? They are all fleeting, some good some bad, some encouraging some not. Then I wonder, is my responsibility for leading others into God’s presence a liability for my own spiritual well being? I fear that I may become merely the bellman at the Hilton, ushering guests into an elaborately gilded lobby while remaining outside at my post. I can sit here this morning admiring the majesty of mountains etched in the sky across the water and find my thoughts focused on conveying to others the beauty of their pure white faces rather than on my own gratitude to their creator. Foundations are the key. My time spent on trips to New Orleans has brought me face to face with those struggling for all they are worth to rebuild, wondering what kind of foundation will hold them up the next time. It’s a battle that not only takes place through Home Depot, but also in the depths of their being. How much more can they take? How deep can they go? I’m impressed by those I’ve met who are battling inner doubts and outer barriers to their very existence. They tell me stories. They convey resolution. They reconfigure their priorities and shore up foundations, but always with an eye to the next test. Inside they all struggle with “how much is too much?”. I’m reading “Unspeakable” by Os Guiness which deals with the depths of evil and suffering and I wonder “how much is too much?”. I’m reading the news headlines of teenagers plotting in groups to massacre their classmates. I’m jumpy. I’m nervous. When will I turn on CNN and find out that someone will again have succeeded. When will the “Big Quake” hit, the next hurricane, tornadoes? The phone rings, I cringe inside. What does someone want to tell me. I don’t want to be away from my wife. I breathe a sigh of relief every time another school day has started and I know that my daughter has safely made the commute. I think that I know where some of my limits are and I’m terrified of being brought within sight of the line. Do you remember the part in many movies where one of the characters walks right up to the edge of a cliff and the cliff crumbles out from under them? I know many people like that. I’m surrounded by them here. At the edge, their foundation is very fragile. All of the anxiety may at times rise up like the long predicted Tsunami, threatening to wash over me…..BUT….The sun is still gleaming off of the snow canopied peaks this morning. God is. When all else fails I am reminded that God is. God was. God will always be, and I will always be his. I get tired of this world, but when it becomes overwhelming, I can reread the end of the story. My foundation is built on the end of the story. It is strongest at the edge of the cliff. I’m still not excited about going there yet.

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