*This is an older post but one that still describes my current life status. That being said It is the only post that I am transferring over from my old blog archives.
It is the beginning of Autumn here in northern Alabama but summer is not going down without a fight. It happens almost every year as we bounce back and forth from cool breezy weather to hot summer-like days. The trees outside my office window are still littered with beautiful emerald leaves in protest of the coming cold of winter. Maybe they are fighting the inevitable or maybe they do not know what the weeks ahead really holds for them. I can relate in so many ways to the later and it seems like the older I get the less I actually know about everything I once was so certain about. These days I have more questions than answers, but one thing I am certain of is that sometimes shit happens.
ugly face crying,
Sometimes people we love die. Sometimes we work our fingers to the bone and still do not get the promotion we thought we deserved. Sometimes we get bad reports at the doctor. Sometimes we lose things that we thought we could not live without. Sometimes our lives fall apart. We lose our home, our jobs, the bills keep coming, there are not enough hours in the day, we lose sleep, we have anxiety attacks, we dread waking up in the morning, and the list goes on and on. We find ourselves wondering how in the world we ended up in this godforsaken place feeling so dead. We wonder where all the people are that said they had our backs. So we hold onto what little we have left and try and convince ourselves that it will get better.
We cry, we scream, we pray, we curse, and drink and hope to find some way to distract ourselves because sometimes shit happens and sometimes that shit is just too much to deal with. Unfortunately death is an inevitable, inexplicable, and a necessary part of life. Our solar system came into being in the wake of the violent death of a star. Everything we can see, hear, smell, taste, and touch is here because something else before it died to give it life. The whole universe sings this bitter sweet song of death and resurrection. Even you are in a constant state of death and resurrection; roughly three-hundred million cells in your body die every minute and somehow your body creates new cells that still know how to be ‘you’. That is not really comforting but it is the truth. Death happens, but sometimes so does resurrection.
“Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.”
-Jesus of Nazareth
Icling to those words like they are oxygen for my tired lungs. They are a promise of resurrection and hope of life after the fall apart. They exist as some strange form of assurance that I will find out who I am in the mess of shattered pieces of failed dreams and broken relationships. These words are encouragement to let go of all the things that have long been dead that I keep trying to resuscitate;
And a decade of relationships.
It all died two years ago anyway but I keep trying to make something out of all the bones by playing some sick game of necromancy to keep that era of my life alive in my heart. I told my best friend a few weeks ago that I did not know who I was anymore and that somehow after two years of leaving the pastorate, at a church we called home for over half a decade, I still had no clue how to live life not being ‘pastor’ Ryan. So I held on to those bones and ghosts of what feels like a past life hoping against hope that something would come from it all. I held on to my ideas of ministry, church, and the relationships we had built like they were the source of my life. I held on to the hurt and anger I had toward people we had called family because in some twisted way it kept those relationships alive. I desperately scrambled to catch every “grain of wheat” that fell toward the ground, and you know what happened? I just ended up more dead in the end.
Sometimes the best thing we can do is let it die and hope for the best. Letting those things die is a way to find new life and sometimes it feels like resurrection takes to damn long but I am finding out that it is usually because I will not let go. On more than one occasion Jesus said that when we try and find our life we will lose it and when we lose our life we will find it, so I am doing my best to lose it all and stop trying to resuscitate what needs to be buried. I am trying to let the Spirit in all Her wisdom teach me what it means to die well and let the grains of wheat hit the ground and trust that “it bears much fruit.”