Repentance and Rocks


“Hold yourself responsible for a higher standard than anybody else expects of you. Never excuse yourself. Never pity yourself. Be a hard master to yourself – and be lenient to everybody else.” – H.W.B. Ward Beecher

Browsing various pages online (ie. ignoring my tasks at hand!) led me to the above quote. I’ve read it several times in the past hour and can’t help but consider the outcomes of applying it to life. The statement is harsh, yet there is nothing negative. Whether due to the state of my heart or due to any truth in the quote, I am drawn to it.

Last week saw me back in the full winter schedule, minus my Partner.

J is studying to be a paramedic (while serving as an EMT in our county) and has to take days/weeks away for on-campus study and exams. The campus periods sound somewhat dreadful: intense physical workouts, tough exams, overflowing schedules. It’s tough stuff, it’s the season, it requires various actions and responses from both of us.

When J is present on campus, he is entirely absent from the home. When he is absent from the home, I (without fail) enter a zone of spiritual/emotional/personal scrutiny, challenge, and…failure.

One would think this would have been dealt with by now. One year ago, we were living ten hours apart and there were a lot more stressors and questions in the mix. At this point in the path, I should be able to cheerfully smooch him on the stubble, wave him off, and offer my children a home of Centered love, guidance, support, and joy.

Unfortunately, as he drives away (really, who am I kidding? Even when he’s home, even if the Pope were at my table…!), the elder grabs the other’s toy, or the middle-one dumps out the bucket of {fresh ground organic} flour, or the baby vomits on the couch, or the phone rings or the sun rises or the earth rotates. Whatever the action, I offer the re-action.

And it is destructive. Unkind. Impatient. Loud.
Not centered. Not grounded. Not hopeful.

And then the eldest, the one who is so emotional and so reactive himself…reacts.
And he begins weaving threads of woundedness and question
And so I, in my guilt and regret…react.
And it is cajoling and too sweet and false and resentful.
And then he, so young and so confused, reacts! Of course he does, because he’s four years old and he needs some consistency and strength and JESUS.

And then we fall all over ourselves trying to figure it out and I can’t remember why I chose the word ‘rise’ and I turn my self-loathing onto J as he finally walks through that hungry door and his eyes look for Jesus in me and I cry and the eldest screams and I mention sadness and then think of sorrow and then…stop.

Because sadness and regret and i-need-to-do-better is such bull shit.

Because the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation, but the sorrow of the world produces death. (2 cor 7:10)

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And so I must choose to embrace that sorrow. Not as a reaction, but as a distinct choice and discipline. The sorrow of impatient tones. Angry eyes. Reckless hands. False resolve. Shameful priorities. I will fall fall fall deep into that sorrow…and repentant…and rise…without regret…and be saved.

And I will fall upon That Rock and be broken, so that I can know That Strength: offering true patience, true love, true hope. And to them, I will be that smaller stone upon which they can lean on, bask upon, build with, push, and rely.

{Last summer I wet-felted these rocks saved from years earlier. I didn’t know why. I gave one away and kept the rest on my desk, for no good reason. Now I see. They are a cairn of sorts; a marker point and symbol. They are rocks, just…rocks. But they are warm and approachable and touchable and unique. And still…they are rocks, strong at the core and available. They are a reminder: to build, to be present, to be strong, to be soft; as I am fashioned, as I fashion others, as I am built, as I build, as I fall, as I rise.}

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(Posting Sunday instead of Monday is becoming a bit of a fun habit… ;))

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Comments
5 Responses to “Repentance and Rocks”
  1. kitgonzales says:

    Yes. Amen.

  2. Marissa says:

    I can very much relate…”The sorrow of impatient tones. Angry eyes. Reckless hands. False resolve. Shameful priorities.” And as I learn to truly grieve my own actions and choices, I have become so much more aware of true grace that allows me to keep moving forward and toward Strength. Not to be beaten down by shame but know that I am becoming new everyday as I turn from who I was to who I am being made.
    Thanks Dea for sharing.

  3. wso download says:

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