Sunday, March 16, 2014

A Pause in Lent #2

To begin, two quotes:

"I did then what I knew how to do. Now that I know better, I do better." --Maya Angelou

"It is the things I have left undone which haunt me far more than the things that I have done."
                                                                                                                    --Madeleine L'Engle

I keep thinking I should go to jail. I could be a literacy tutor or participate in a Bible study or just visit someone who doesn't get visitors. It's one of those things we're told to do if we're interested in doing unto Jesus, and I could do it. I worked in a public defender's office in Tennessee back in the day, so I've spend time in jails, and I've spent time around prisoners. It's not like the idea makes me uncomfortable, though between you and me, I hated the way the jails smelled, and the prisoners themselves, after a few months in, always had pasty white skin because they almost never saw the sun. They called it a prison tan.

But I don't go over to the county jail to tutor or study the Bible or just hang out, and the reason why is because I fear the day there's a knock on my door and my newly released prison friend is standing at the doorway. Would I really let him into my house? What if that newly released prisoner is Jesus? Aren't we supposed to assume he is?

Most days it's just easier if Jesus doesn't knock on my door.

See, when you get right down to it, I think real Christianity is really hard, and some days I don't think I'm quite up to it. I'm pretty good with the honoring your mother and father thing, and the not lying thing, and the not stealing thing. I wasn't always so good, but I was working some stuff out when I was younger. Like Ms. Angelou, I know better now and I do better now. But that's only half of the equation.

There's a lot I leave undone. That concerns me so much more than the things I did. Sometimes I imagine Desmond Tutu (in his starring role as God) looking at me with big, sad eyes. He's shaking his head and sighing. I've read the instruction manual, right? Am familiar with the Sermon on the Mount? And what about feeding the hungry and visiting the prisoner do I not understand?

I don't have any great answers here, no great summary--you know, I've decided I WILL go visit the prisoner! I WILL trust God! One of the  purposes of observing Lent is to ponder our sinful ways. And that is what I'm doing. I pray that God will show me how I can serve Him in this world and that He will give me a big push in the right direction so I won't be haunted by what I've left undone.

Okay, I halfway pray that. On my good days. Maybe a halfway prayer is a mustard seed. What do you think?


GretchenJoanna said...

I'm pretty sure God can do a great deal with that kind of prayer.

Tracy said...

Sometimes those prayers are really hard to pray, aren't they. Because the answer might be scarier or harder than we think we're prepared for.

What I know is that whatever it is God calls you to do He will equip you. You will be a blessing and you will be blessed. No doubt the journey will be one where you learn a lot about yourself and about God. That's always something to praise God for!

Pom Pom said...

Wow. What a lot you'll learn about Him when you go to the jail.

Heather said...

I think we are all works in progress. I understand about the whole prison thing. I mean, you have kids. You want to be a good example and extend love to everyone, but you also have to protect your children and be careful what (or who) you expose them to...if that 'who' shows up at your door. Whenever I get that naggy feeling in my gut, though, I usually see it as a sign to take action. I hope you find peace in this.

Susan said...

There are all kinds of prisons that people are in. Sure the state and county jails are places to start. But what about those trapped in self-doubt, despair, greed? Etc. Etc. and on and on.

I'm pretty sure that God is calling us to do the things that use our gifts. We don't all have the same gifts. And that's a good thing because a lot less would get done if we all did the same things really well.

You're right that Lent is a time to think about our sinful ways. It's also a time to remember how much our God loves us. Whenever I begin to wonder how much he loves me, I remember that he stretched his arms really wide on a cross so I would never have to doubt it or wonder for very long.

Kezzie said...

That's amazing! You are following a truecalling, God will be with you x I am challenged.

The dB family said...

I love your honesty!