Sometimes I feel like an overstimulated raccoon.
Seriously. There are just too many shiny things to look at. Emmett used to love it when I got my engagement ring cleaned because I'd play with the light to make it sparkle, and then he'd feel all manly like he'd just dragged home a buffalo he'd shot or something. We were definitely ridiculous.
I took a class last year where we looked at a lot of poetry, and the teacher would often read a poem and then ask something like, "What sticks out to you? What shimmers?" I began to realize I am continually asking myself that same question as I walk through life, like I'm on a covert raccoon mission to find all the "ooh shiny" things I can before I die. If you don't know what I mean by those little "ooh shiny" moments, think of a conversation with a good friend where they say something that sticks with you, or that Bible verse you've read a thousand times that finally makes sense, or that song lyric you can't get out of your head.
Sometimes I go weeks without any shiny moments. Those are hard weeks, where I can't see the shiny because I'm not looking outside of my self. And there's nothing shiny on the inside of this girl. Trust me, I've looked for it, dressed it up, painted over it, and still can't make it shiny. The past few weeks, maybe even months have been hard ones, difficult to see anything shiny.
But then someone says something and everything I'm reading or working on or studying begins to fall into place. I got an inkling that something was brewing when I was working through one of John Newton's letters. In a letter about the fallen state of man (because that's what I write letters to my friends about, sheesh!) he says, "but for the grace of God, the Earth would be the very image of hell."
That quote was the first bit of shiny I'd had in weeks, and it was like the snowflake that starts the avalanche.
But for the grace of God, the Earth would be the very image of hell.
Wow. If that doesn't sum up how depraved we are, then I'm not sure what does. I'm not sure why he even wrote the rest of the letter. I'd have written that single sentence and then been like, "boom! I'm outta here!"
One more time. But for the grace of God, the Earth would be the very image of hell.
I've been a Christian a while, and I'm not sure I've ever really understood what the grace of God means, but that sentence gives me a much better idea.
I have lots of friends who either are counselors or are in counseling, so I feel like I'm constantly using counseling lingo. Shoot, I could probably play one on TV. I can't even remember which one of my friends said this, but it went something like, "If you're not in love with the idea of marriage more than the person you're married to, then you won't stay married."
Genius. It was like God slapping me upside the face with a truckload of shiny.
Yeah the quote's about marriage, but it was like God was telling me, "you have to love the idea of me more than your experience of me in this moment or we ain't gonna get anywhere sweetheart."
I mean, duh. It's so obvious after it hits you over the head.
In the book Where The Red Fern Grows, they make a raccoon trap where the hole is big enough for the flat hand to go in but too small for the fist to come out. I've always wondered if this trap was legitimate, but apparently raccoons are so stubborn they won't let go of something they've picked up. So the raccoon just sits there, stubborn to the death because it won't let go of whatever was in that hole.
And I got my fist wrapped so tightly around my own agenda that I'm sitting on a log just mad as can be at God for not working things out like I asked. Here I am shaking my fist that's stuck in a trap and looking like an idiot and missing all the shiny things out there because I'm so fixated on this one little piece. All I have to do is let it go. Why is that so hard?