Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Metaphor for Life?

What I'm listening to: Nickel Creek's This Side

I was visiting my very good friends in Wyoming last weekend and they are going through "The Purpose Drive Life" for the second time at their new church. And my friend had a revelation for herself that I am still thinking about and pondering - yes, it’s that good.

What is your metaphor for life? Rick Warren asks. Is life a journey? A test? A bowl of cherries? [Insert obvious Forest Gump quote here. I always hated that movie.] The first time my friend went through this, she decided that her metaphor was "Life’s a roller coaster". And she hates roller coasters. The unexpected drops and turns … the feeling of completely helplessness … the huge peaks and valleys … a huge sense of dread. She realized she approached her life with a "what now?" kind of attitude.

Me? I love roller coasters. But I’ve also never considered my life like that either. I’ve never read "The Purpose Driven Life" and never had an occasion to think about my metaphor for life. I’m just trying to get through it the best I can with tools I’ve been given. It isn’t easy, it isn’t tough. It’s just life. A series of lessons learned to make me become more like Christ.

But the great thing? She now realizes life is not a roller coaster. It’s a test. One God has given her all the answers to – "an open book test". A huge burden was lifted; I could see it in her face. I’ve known this friend almost my whole life and I never felt she had a defeatist attitude. But I could visibly see in her a change that made her happier. So I asked myself why now, all of a sudden? After all, she’s known her whole life that God’s been there with her, so why is it now this burden is lifted and given her this extra joy?

I’m a firm believer that God will show us lessons when we are ready to really hear them, but it takes (sometimes) a long journey to get there. No matter how long it takes, the journey to get there is always worth it to me. It’s the extra reinforcement I need to learn the lesson well. [Insert lyrics from Godspell here.]

I’ve seen so many times in my life that where the big lesson happened only after I learned all the little ones leading up to it. It’s like a puzzle. Abstract enough that you have no idea what the big picture will be, but the more pieces that fit together, the clearer the picture becomes. And when the last piece is snapped into place is when I can finally go "Oh, I get it. It makes perfect sense – now." All the baby steps and puzzle pieces (which if you read my other entries, you’ll see pretty clearly take place) are absolutely needed to prepare my heart for the big lesson.

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