I’m reading One Thousand Gifts and I’m afraid.
Afraid that if I fully accept what life has to offer–the joy in all things–the joy that can be found in the way the sunlight glints off my engagement ring, the way Lily’s eyes look when I come home, the smell of bread–that, then, God(dess/e/s) will take it all away. That enjoying–truly enjoying–will be like giving permission to test my ability to live fully in the moment, in the joy.
A young boy dies, in the book. “The family accepts. God meant it this way.” I’m afraid that if I strive to live with that kind of grace, that kind of pure devotion to joy, that it will be an invitation to The Power(s) That Be to take it all away, to destroy me in order to build me back up again in an image, a reflection that I will no longer recognize.
I’m afraid of this. Afraid of a change in myself that will radically reorganize everything in my life–even though as I write, I realize that that has already happened.
I moved 1300 miles, didn’t I? I learned what it means to be independent. I am afraid and I am learning, slowly, that I will deal with this fear for the rest of my life. That there is no magic pill, only what medication can give me in strength to fight. I will always, always be afraid; it’s the way that I handle this fear, this burden of mine, that’s the lesson.
Yet I am afraid of joy. Afraid of the consequences of joy. Afraid that joy will bring more hard times, more loss.
How can you ever sign up to live fully in joy if you are so totally and completely terrified that God will use it in ways that will hurt you beyond reckoning? Does God work that way?
Will I ever know?