“You are tired,
Of the always puzzle of living and doing;
And so am I.
Come with me, then,
And we’ll leave it far and far away -
(Only you and I, understand.)
You have played
And broke the toys you were fondest of,
And are a little tired now;
Tired of things that break, and -
So am I.”
Listen to me. I know. I know.
You want to run until the breath curls up inside your body like a question mark sick of its own asking. You want to run until your chest splinters from exertion rather than emotion, run far past anything familiar, anything that can trigger memories (or sadness) or fear (or sadness) or nightmares (or sadness). I know. You want to run until you can retrieve every piece of communion love you’ve ever handed out. “Eat and remember”; you want to grab it all back because you didn’t realize remembering might mean forgetting first, leaving first, but you also want to run hard from that very sentiment, run because you know it is not true, because you know that you a better person for the giving. And yet you still want to run. You want to run from the claustrophobia of emotion choking your heart, from the hemorrhaging of thoughts bleeding out from your mind. You want to run, run, run – away from everything, away from people, away from friends, away from family, away from (and toward) hope, away from (and toward) the words, away from (and toward) the places inside of you burning a hole through your skin.
You want to run from him. Because he’s too bright, and your eyes are watering from the pain, and his bright illuminates your shadow. Because in his bright you can see your own tired. Too clearly, you see it. All the stitches from your scars. All the bruises from the times you’ve thrown the first stone at yourself. All the rope burns on your hands from clinging so tightly, so desperately. You see it all and it is too close and so you want to run from him. (I know. Trust me, I know.) You want to run from him.
Run toward him.
Right now. Run. Scars and stitches all, watering eyes, bruises and rope burns, your splintering chest, your hemorrhaging thoughts – run like the broken that you are. Run toward him because it is the very last thing you want to do. Run toward him because he is Gospel and Kingdom and this is Heaven being brought down to earth, this is faith and hope and obedience. It hurts like hell. It hurts like toxins, like forgiveness, like Christ. Run toward him because this is Kingdom inauguration. And inauguration can be found even here, even on this side. When your fingers are slippery with hopelessness, you reach out and you grope blindly for the cloth of the Kingdom – soft and waterproof to all your stains – and you pull, pull with your hands, pull with your love, pull with your pain, even when your hands are raw and bleeding. Bring the Kingdom down, down, down to earth, down to here, to empty, to need, to longing; tear open the fissures of your world and let Heaven billow…and then settle…and then rest…and then resurrect. There you will find him and there he will match you – scar for scar, stitch for stich, bruise for bruise, burn for burn. It is an echo of love. You will not find it anywhere else. Run toward him.
If you do this, you will not have wasted your hurt. You will not have “squandered your hours of pain.” You will have used it well. You will have invested it. Those who reap in tears will sow in joy. It may be joy “with tears in its eyes,” but it will be joy because it will be Jesus. If you run the wrong way, he will become less real to you than he has in a long time. If you run toward him, you will find him bigger, and wilder, and deeper, and richer, than perhaps he ever was to you before.
“How is faith to endure, O God, when you allow all this scraping and tearing on us? You have allowed rivers of blood to flow, mountains of suffering to pile up, sobs to become humanity’s song–all without lifting a finger that we could see. You have allowed bonds of love beyond number to be painfully snapped. If you have not abandoned us, explain yourself.
We strain to hear. But instead of hearing an answer we catch sight of God himself scraped and torn. Through our tears we see the tears of God.”
-Nicholas Wolterstorff, Lament for a Son