Tuesday, January 8, 2013

The Way.

Somehow, God's mercy has led me through another tunnel of despair.  I am back on the road of "healthy" brokenness, my feet pointed towards glory, the Holy Spirit as my guide, leading me in the Way...

The Way...  I recently watched this movie, starring Martin Sheen, about a father who mourns the sudden death of his son by finishing The way of St. James, a great pilgrimage route to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia in northwestern Spain, El Camino de Santiago. (*Google search)

Tom (Martin Sheen's character) carries his sons ashes in a box attached to his pack and pushes himself forward, doing the work of grief as he puts one foot in front of the other, walking somewhere around 200km, maybe more?

The work of grief...  The english dictionary says that grief is a noun, but I am quite certain it is incorrect.  It is most definitely a verb, requiring specific and intentional action.  It is a pilgrimage.  A journey upward towards the call to abundant life, towards the life that we are all called to live in Christ Jesus our Lord.

I am struck, however, by the various characters in the story, each with their own losses, dreams, and purposes... Together they walk, and take respite in the small villages and towns along the way...

Grief allows for these periods of respite.  Seasons of distraction, light-heartedness, coping mechanisms...  But how tempting would it be to camp out in one of these adorable villages, drink wine and eat with beautiful people, and lay a blanket over the past, over grief, over the pilgrimage onward...

I find that my mind plays tricks on me during my periods of respite.  It seeks to forget the pain and grief and seems to say, Camp out here for a while!  This is a wonderful life!  It will not disappoint!  Look at the opportunities ahead!  Life can be better than ever!  These words sound mysteriously similar to Satan's attempt at wooing Jesus in desert...  Leave your pilgrimage towards death, pain, and suffering!  Bow down to me and I will give you everything!!

Grief is hard, exhausting, devastating work.  It is a wilderness season to be sure... But it is the Way everlasting. And it does lead to abundant life.

Father, help me enter into this pilgrimage of grief, allowing the Holy Spirit to stretch and grow my soul so that I do not live a diluted, North American, prosperity driven version of the gospel of Jesus Christ, but instead share in the fellowship of his sufferings, invite death, pain, and suffering into my life knowing full well that Jesus will rise again in the midst of it, bringing healing and light and transformation... the fulness of salvation in Christ Jesus my Lord, the abundant life of joy and perfect love and true contentment in Him...

...that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead. (Philippians 3:10-11)

Father! Lead me in the Way everlasting!