The Pistol asked me today, “Mommy, did you make your New Year’s revolutions yet?”
This may have been just a “kids say the cutest things” slip of the tongue, or may have stemmed from our discussions about “Les Miserables”, as my 8-year old sat through not only the three-hour+ concert version that her uncle had recorded from PBS, but the film as well, and on the very next night. We may have not ventured down the primrose path of six hours of musical theater in a twenty-four hour time span if not for the fact that she had just completed her first chorus concert for school and one of the songs they sang was “Castle on a Cloud”.
I was misty-eyed through the whole thing, but one line in particular made me sob.
“I know a place where no one’s lost, I know a place where no one cries…”
Because, of course, I couldn’t stop thinking about the children of Sandy Hook. And how I believe that they are in a place where there is no more heart-shattering loss or anguished weeping. And how I pray that their parents can somehow believe that and it can give them some measure of comfort.
It is never an easy thing for me to write about my faith and particularly the topic of Heaven. I tread very, very carefully, very lightly, fearful of being misunderstood, fearful of offending, fearful of being mocked. I suppose most of that fear comes from the fact that I was once that mocker myself. I was once a person who was offended by any mention of Heaven, or God, or God forbid, Jesus. I was that person who shopped for a Jesus action figure just to prove that I found him worthy of ridicule.
But on a New Year’s Day in 1991, I had a Revolution.
Yes, I’m aware that the word revolution means “a forcible overthrow of a government or social order for a new system”. And that is exactly what happened. I forcibly overthrew my own government of my life and replaced it with a new system. And I did it because I was an evil dictator and there was someone who was going to do a much better job.
“From the ends of the earth, I call to you; I call as my heart grows faint. Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.” Psalm 61:1-3
I am not ashamed to admit that I needed new leadership. If you had seen the state of my life at that point, trust me, you would overthrown my government, too. I wanted to love, but I was ruled by my own selfishness. I wanted to give, but I couldn’t stop thinking about how much it would cost me. I wanted answers, but I was too lazy to actually go and find them. I was powerless.
“I do not understand what I do. For the good I want to do, I do not do, but what I hate I do… For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do–this I keep doing. What a wretched person I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?” Romans 7:15-24.
The first time I read those words, I felt like someone finally understood me. And not just a random someone, but someone who actually had his own action figure. My spiritual GI Joe had arrived.
But it wasn’t until I read this, that the deal was sealed:
“And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power to grasp how long and high and deep and wide is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge…” Ephesians 3:18-19
It’s 22 years later and I can still remember where I was sitting when I first read this and how I felt. Because this is what I had been looking for my entire life: Love that surpassed knowledge. I had plenty of knowledge, but I still always felt powerless to change my own heart. I knew many people who had enormous amounts of knowledge, deep reservoirs of facts and learning and insight and intelligence that put my knowledge to shame, but I saw their lives and they were as lost and as powerless as I was. And here was someone telling me that there was a love that was greater than knowledge and infinitely more powerful. Well, whatever that was, I was buying.
And here I am on New Year’s Day in 2013 and there has not been a day, not one single day in 22 years, where I’ve regretted that coup d’etat. The love that surpasses knowledge has lived up to its hype. The rightful ruler sits on the throne that once housed my sorry butt. I know a place where no one’s lost and no one cries.
Thanks for listening. Long, high, deep, wide love to you all in 2013.
And viva la revolution.