life in abundance.

i came so they could have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of…
-Jesus, John 10:10

if my plans had succeeded, i would be writing this in a sweet little coffee shop in Toronto, after having spent the day in Kensington Park, watching hippies and babies and musicians play side-by-side.  instead i am home.  shortly after making the plans to go, i had a deep anxiety i couldn’t shake.  for whatever reason, i needed to stay home.

it’s been a good thing, considering 3 out of the 6 of us at the coffee have had to be away this week; my absence would have been crippling.  like the mother of a sick child, i’ve been sequestered to the house.

bittersweet, at best, as i mourn the opportunity to see Toronto with my good friends, yet enjoy the benefits of working and serving and meeting good people.

i am reminded of Christ’s words, his invitation to live life to the fullest.  we have so often used that as a sort-of selling point for Christianity.  see, we point to new believers almost immediately, this is the way to having it all.  Jesus says so.  we begin to dream of an easy life, with a steady job and good car and kids that are always safe and grandbabies.  our life with Christ strangely mirrors the American dream as we painfully fail to see what it really means to be fully human.

a second look at the life of Christ reveals something altogether different from that train of thought.  we see a man fully human, yet fully God.  perfect in every way, yet homeless, dirty, smelly, unemployed.  a vagabond who understand pain just as much as joy.  loss just as much as gain.  betrayal just as much as love and friendship.

his invitation was not only a call to “eternal life” but to life, fully lived, right here and now.  an invitation to awake and be fully alive.  and being fully alive includes just as much the bitterness of pain and loss as it does the fulfillment of dreams.  to be fully alive is to have a heart that breaks for brokenness, yet still believes in the redemption of all things.

there is comfort in this realization for me during this season of life, where i have some great new ventures on the horizon, beautiful dreams i’ve dreamed of for a long time, yet i am deeply grieving the loss/change of a close friendship.  i pinch myself amidst tears, trying to remind myself that i should be happy and excited.  grief, it seems though, is a part of this being fully human.  as much a part, if not more, of it as the joy is.

so may you (and i, and we all) walk out and embrace the pain with the joy, laugh in the midst of tears.  live into the fullness of the humans we were created to be.

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