New Year’s Revolutions

by Shari on January 2, 2013

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”.

The triumphant songstress and the proud mother.

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.

{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

hilljean January 2, 2013 at 6:27 am

I had chills throughout this whole piece. Les Mis is so special to me–my daughter is named Cosette :) And I just saw the movie a few days ago. WOW! I was not disappointed. In the last scene I kept picturing the Sandy Hook children standing up with everyone who had passed. Sweet smiles and restoration.

Ok, I still have chills. I think this is the most beautiful thing I’ve read all month–not just January ;) I mean all December too!

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Shari January 2, 2013 at 2:49 pm

Oh, thank you, thank you, my friend. xxoo

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Lady Jennie January 2, 2013 at 3:16 pm

My Shari. Love you! :-)

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Shari January 2, 2013 at 7:34 pm

Love you too, LJ.

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Shannon January 2, 2013 at 5:05 pm

As someone who is not religious, I have to say that I love this post. Your journey to faith is worthy of writing and worthy of reading. I’m so glad you shared it with me.

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Shari January 2, 2013 at 7:35 pm

Thank you, Shannon, that does my heart good. xxoo

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kathryn Stamas January 2, 2013 at 5:20 pm

Beautifully written my wonderful friend. xoxo

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Shari January 2, 2013 at 7:38 pm

Love you, my dear Kate.

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Deena Lynk January 2, 2013 at 5:48 pm

Shari,

I would be remiss if I did not comment on this. It is beautiful, just wonderfully beautiful! Thanks for sharing. Thanks for living your life as a testament to your beliefs. We have a saying that our youth repeat at our church: “Integrity: Having the moral courage to make my actions consistent with my knowledge of right and wrong.” Wonderful to observe a person who does this each and everyday.

Love,
Deena

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Shari January 3, 2013 at 2:32 am

So glad you left a comment, Deena. I pray every day that I will live up to what I’ve been given. Just let me know when I blow it, okay? :-)

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Alexandra January 2, 2013 at 6:21 pm

I’m always there, Dusty, on my knees, thanking God. What I call God, saving me from myself. There are those tell me I’m wrong, that I understood God in the wrong way: that there is only way to know God, love God.

But God is the energy around me, the protection and strength I pull and make it through life with. Because I can’t do it alone.

None of it, could I ever do alone. And I look at the miracle of three children that were in NICU, each one-with 50/50 odds and I think, What if I had NO ONE to pray to turn to hold me up at that time when I almost lost my mind over this??

How would I have made it, without hope, without knowing that if my children were not given to me to come home with, that there’d be no one holding them in their arms for me until I got there?

I couldn’t.

LOVE TO YOU, My Dusty.

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Shari January 3, 2013 at 2:33 am

And love to you, my Empress.

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Ann January 2, 2013 at 6:41 pm

So brave and beautiful–you and this post. xo

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Shari January 3, 2013 at 2:34 am

My dear Ann. xo

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Wendi January 2, 2013 at 8:22 pm

Beautiful, Shari.

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Shari January 3, 2013 at 2:37 am

Love you, Wendi.

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MAMA ROSE January 3, 2013 at 9:08 pm

I HAVE NO WORDS MY DARLING SHARI. YOU HAVE SAID IT ALL. I LOVE YOU.
MAMAROSE

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Shari January 3, 2013 at 11:28 pm

Wow, Mama Rose, if you have no words, then I really done good. :-) I love you.

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Karen January 6, 2013 at 12:54 am

This is so beautiful. There is so much in your writing that i recognize. You are the best writer EVER and as a fellow revolutionary Glad to be overthrowing our broken down dictatorships witness to you my beautiful steadfast friend. Karen

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Karen January 6, 2013 at 12:55 am

Darn auto typing meant to type” with you “

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dusty earth mother January 6, 2013 at 1:58 am

Love you, my fellow revolutionary. With or without autocorrect.

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Anna Lefler January 8, 2013 at 2:32 pm

What a gorgeous, heartfelt post, Shari. In a world where it sometimes feels unsafe to disclose personal beliefs – particularly ones that might be viewed as (gasp!) traditional – you have done a beautiful job of sharing your faith and its meaning in your life.

There is a light that shines from you, Shari. I think you should have your own action figure.

XOXO

Anna

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Corrine January 9, 2013 at 3:13 am

Just beautiful, Shari. Lovely, funny, sweet and powerful. Like you.
Love to you & your family!

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