It is Sunday afternoon and I am sitting here listening to some beautiful music and I have a cat in my lap that is happy as long as I let her rest her head on one of my hands. Of course, this makes typing somewhat difficult, but it’s a dance we do often if she wants a soft place to nap.
She is a very strong willed cat who rules her territory with a swipe of the paw if her sister cat comes near me while she is resting here, but this does not stop her sister from coming back often to see if it is going to be her time in my lap. I believe that there is a lesson here. How often do we find ourselves in a comfortable place and decide we have found "nirvana" and try like crazy to stay there? We "swipe out" at things that happen along that are upsetting us, keep people away, close ourselves to the new avenues that are presented to us because we aren't sure that they will be comfortable, we are afraid of all of the hassle that comes with having to leave that wonder and comfortable "lap" we found.
At Worship this morning Jackie talked about being free to be faithful. Jesus only said “Follow Me”, and there were no explicit directions on how to do that other than to love God and love your neighbor as yourself. This is hard to do, and fear can hold us back, but, remember, Jesus going into Jerusalem in a Parade of followers dancing and celebrating. He was in a place of being adored and worshiped and He could have just enjoyed being "loved up" by all of these followers. What He did, however, was go to the Temple. He knew what was coming, he would be scorned, ridiculed, and denied by these very same people and others as well. Rather than stay in the comfort of being worshiped, He went forward, with fear, but knowing that He had to do this. How difficult this must have been!
I lived in fear for over thirty years of my life. I did not face it, I just tried to pretend it wasn't there. I learned to live as the happy one, the person who would do anything and everything that I thought was expected of me, and because of this I did not know how to relate to people, I had no friends, I had no Faith, and I had decided that I just didn't belong here on this earth. I had no more energy to continue to run away from my fears. It doesn't matter what my fears were or whether they were well founded or not. You cannot compare your fears to anyone else’s. Then, I had a melt down and I happened to be in the right place at the right time when this happened. The first of my many angels appeared. I am alive because of them.
I wish I could say that things in my life changed quickly, but the truth is it took many years to pull my life together. I had to learn to trust people, to trust myself, to face some of my fears. This was just the beginning. I can only say that facing these fears led me toward life. I got the help that I needed to do this. I could never have done it on my own. I still have fear, because I am human. It is hard for me to meet new people, but I do it because I believe that I will grow with every relationship that I have. Everyone I meet is not a friend, but they are a person, a child of God with some kind of lesson to teach me and I believe that I can teach them something.
So, like the cats, I look for that "comfortable lap", and I keep looking to see when it will be time to "swat" things away. We all need comfort and it is good to rest there once in a while to get refreshed and renewed, but we can't say there. We have to stretch and step into that unknown place of fear and see what gifts it will bring to us.
I am so blessed to be able to share my journey with my UCH community, with friends, "Family", the love of my life, and most importantly with the Lord who is my foundation.
It's a wonderful life! Amen! -Chris L.