Even the word feels like it's definition when you say it. See how your voice sorta falls at the end of the it, even when you try your best to say it with authority.., it still sounds 'fragile'. This isn't an homage to Sting. His lyrics are mostly about the fragility of war and how carelessly we can take another's life...
"If blood will flow when flesh and steel are one
Drying in the colour of the evening sun
Tomorrow's rain will wash the stains away
But something in our minds will always stay
Perhaps this final act was meant
To clinch a lifetime's argument
That nothing comes from violence and nothing ever could
For all those born beneath an angry star
Lest we forget how fragile we are"
But, it's the chorus of that song that has me thinking about my own life and some of the recent decisions I've made..., the good, the bad and the indifferent.
"On and on the rain will fall
Like tears from a star like tears from a star
On and on the rain will say
How fragile we are how fragile we are
How fragile we are how fragile we are"
See, I've lived long enough to KNOW that we are but 'vapor' on this planet. Before you think I'm brilliant for that illustration, let me stop you now and let you know that I'm just quoting from the book of JAMES in the Holy Bible:
"4:13. Come now, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit."
14. Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away.
15. Instead, you ought to say, "If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that."
16. But as it is, you boast in your arrogance ; all such boasting is evil.
17. Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin."
You would think that if we 'know' that we are vapor, we would live life with more of an open hand.., and certainly with more of an open heart. But, we're arrogant people, at least I have come to realize, I AM. And, as painful an admittance as this is, it's simply the truth and I must tell it, to someone, TONIGHT, if I'm ever going to get pass my dark heart. If I were Catholic, I might save it for 'confession' in the morning, but I'm not. Protestants believe that we can come 'boldly' to the throne of grace and simply 'be forgiven' because 'Jesus' paid it all and 'when God sees me, he can't see my sin 'cause it's covered by The Blood'. While that is certainly true in theory..., we hide a multitude of unconfessed sins in that comfort blanket and move along in our ignorance believing we've gotten away with something 'till God orchestrates a series of events that truly rocks our world and literally shakes us out of our veiled complacency. I know it, 'cause this week, I'm right dab in the midst of it and I'm here at this early hour to confess it all, so I can have a peaceful rest and prayerfully, a good morning.., whenever that comes.
Here's the deal:
Someone stole my car stereo.
In the middle of the night, about 30 feet from my front door, while I slumbered.
Now before you think it's trivial, let me share with you a little back story...
If you look around my pages, you'll see a photo section called EDEN's LATEST BLESSINGS and in there is a little pictorial essay about my recent car, a 1989 Toyota Corolla, which my church gave me around the time of my 51st birthday in July. The first thing I did when I got that car was replace the stereo. It had a 'cassette' player.. and in this modern age, how could a serious musician drive a car with a cassette deck??!?, so, I spent a little over $200 and put a new system in this 'gift'. In hindsight, I can see the beginning of 'pride' at work in my heart, even while I smiled so beautifully for the camera. That simple defiant act to 'improve' upon the blessing which nearly cost 'half' of what the car had been purchased for would probably have been performed by many and in that assurance I felt comfortable improving upon the 'gift' that had been given me. This vanity was further demonstrated as I spent countless hours downloading and recording music that I would play in this new toy while I rode my three minutes to work every day, to and from home! Oh how I loved my car stereo, especially on those rare occasions I got to listen to five songs on my way to church!! Yes, what a necessary expense and tool this was and I cherished every penny spent to elevate my mood while I dealt with the unpleasantness of driving my 'vintage' car!
Then, someone stole my car stereo.
When I discovered the door handle pried open like the lid on a jar and the errant wires hanging from the dash, I had a moment of gratitude that they hadn't broken the windows and was thankful for their meticulous removal of my system. As the day progressed, my heart grew dark and angry and a whole host of thoughts washed over me and opened up the depth of my despair (read, disgust) in a wave that truly frightened me. I wanted to curse the day that I was given the car.., that would be vandalized and take away my peace, my carefully constructed peace that was already unraveling with the lost of the job that I had come to trust and rely upon (through no fault of my own, I would tell myself, but that's a whole 'nother blog!!) and now THIS!! What have I done to deserve this treatment, God??!! Why wouldn't you protect me and all believers from this kind of injustice??!! How dare they 'touch' one of your anointed!! HOW COULD THIS HAPPEN???!!! ....TO ME!!!!
But, why not me?
At the end of the day, no matter how 'righteous' I live, or attempt to live, I continue to discover there's still 'miles I have to travel' before I can sleep in the calm assurance that I've truly done all I can for the kingdom of Heaven, which, by the way, is the point of our existence on this planet. Our fragile state is a blessing, especially when we realize that we are truly only here for a brief moment in time and in light of that brevity, I really don't want to waste another minute stressing a stolen car stereo.., or for that matter, a stolen car, if or when that fateful day comes, too.
ONLY WHAT WE DO FOR CHRIST, LASTS.
And, I don't need a soundtrack playing in the background to be hospitable, kind, generous, loving, compassionate, thoughtful, graceful, gentle....
We have come to value our 'things' over and above our humanity and I tell you my truth.., I'm embarrassed by my behavior and I publicly lay these details before you now, in prayerful hope and expectation that like Jonah, as God has allowed the worm to destroy my 'shade tree' that HE so lovingly caused to grow, I won't curse the lost of the shade, another minute longer.., but go back to 'One' and begin anew with the simple, yet profound, truth JAMES teaches me:
"Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin."
It's right for me to say in closing, I'm grateful that
'someone stole my car stereo'
especially if it reveals my own fears, insecurities, indignation, anger, doubt, mistrust, frustration, vanity, pride...
...But 'vapor, folks. We truly are only here for the briefest of time. What are you equally holding onto that you need to confess and let go? What 'injustice' has been done to you that you can't forgive? What are you using like a weapon to defend your own shortcomings? What are you secretly angry about?
Don't take that dark heart into another new year.
Confession is good for the soul.