Monday, July 11, 2011

Beauty and the Beast (Sort Of)

I had an absolutely sublime Sunday afternoon yesterday.  I spent several hours floating in the middle of a rock quarry lake in Durham that I didn’t even know existed until yesterday (this fact is slightly embarrassing as Durham is my hometown).  This relaxing, blissful afternoon was spent in the company of friends underneath a cerulean sky amidst Carolina pines (it was a James Taylor kind of day).  I went home with a song in my heart to the One who graces me with such good gifts and provides beauty to my life.
                I was also reminded yesterday of the brokenness that exists in and among all of us.  I have recently created brokenness in a handful of situations around me.  Yesterday, I had a conversation with a friend about the brokenness in her own family, as well as about concerns we both had for a mutual friend.  Another friend called me last night because her romantic relationship is newly broken.  And I received a text from someone else asking for prayer for brokenness in a friendship.  These aren’t extreme examples.  I don’t live in the middle of abject poverty or deal with victims of heinous crimes or injustice on a daily basis.  These are all people living “normal” lives in normal cities and towns in America, just like me.  And yet people hurt us and we hurt people, and relationships of all kinds are hard, and life is messy and broken.  We sin and are sinned against.  We are called to apologize and to forgive.  There are orphans among us, widows too, and people who do not know where their next meal is coming from. 
                But somehow, in the middle of all this brokenness, God is still good.  I do not understand it.  I don’t know what the whole beautiful tapestry of my life, of all of our lives, will look like when it is unfurled.  I do not know why my heart can break over the pain of people that I love the same day that I am astounded by all that God has rained down upon my life.  It is contradictory and crazy and topsy-turvy.  I am thankful and joyful for sublime moments, laughter, wonder, water, prayer.  I am angered and confused by lies, injustice, cruelty, carelessness, pain—in my own life and in others.’  I do not understand how these things can coexist on the same planet, on the same day, in the same hour, in the same heart.  But I do know that I worship a risen Creator who brings beauty out of brokenness, joy out of sorrow, laughter out of tears. And I will learn to sing a new song in the dark as well as in the light. 

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