Delight with TeRRor in It!
The marrow is where the richest flavor is. It was, also, the source of blood and life when the bone was living.
I have my own bone that I have been chewing on for what seems at least three or four years, and longer than that I am sure. I have written about it before, posted Blogs about it; friends probably hear about it once in awhile from me in conversation and might wonder if I have issues. (Which if they are truly friends, know I have issues, and still listen.)
Once again, I am back in this section of the book "Perelandra" by Lewis, where Ransom and the Lady are discussing disappointment and expectation. There is so much in there that each time I read it, something new pops up that I’d missed the previous 2,000 times I read it. (Which to me is always a sign of a well-written book) When Ransom tries to explain what disappointment is – a concept the pre-fallen Eve has no mind for – it gets turned into something in the Lady’s mind that isn’t what Ransom intended, something better. And she responds:
“I have thought that I was being carried, and behold, I was walking…what you have made me see is as plain as the sky, but I never saw it before. Yet it has happened every day… that it is I, I myself, who turns from the good expected to the given good. Out of my own heart I do it… I thought that I was carried in the will of Him I love, but now I see I walk with it. I thought that the good things He sent me drew me into them as the waves lift the land, but now I see that it is I who plunge into them, with my own legs and arms, as when we go swimming.”
There is some marrow here.
The Lady has moved from thinking that she was just this child, a baby carried in her Father’s arms, to realizing that she is more than that. He has given her arms and legs and the ability to walk, and along with that ability is the choice to make a move. Thus, she says, “Now I see I WALK with it.” As I seem to be hearing much the same from God, lately, too, this resonates. It as if God is saying I am no longer a little, babe, in His eyes; that to be in relationship is to walk alongside. And there might be times when I look ahead and perceive that the path is headed somewhere of which I do not like the looks, and stop dead in my tracks. If ever I am carried again, it seems it is in these times of being too scared to move forward, but even then to be carried is out of my own heart, is something He will only do if I am willing to at least consider moving forward. Now there is grace for you – grace to let me wallow in fear, and grace to respond to even the slightest spark of hope. In the words of the Lady, “it is I, I myself, who turns from the good expected to the given good.” Even that which looks ominous and might scare the shit out of me is a given good.
Ransom’s humanity isn’t settled with the idea of everything given by Him as being a good thing – which is why he is the fallen Adam in this tale Lewis tells. So Ransom says, “And you have no fear that it will ever be hard to turn your heart from the thing you wanted to the thing [God] sends?”
To which the Lady responds, “I see. The wave you plunge into may be very swift and great. You may need all your force to swim into it. You mean, He might send me a good like that?”
Ransom: “Yes – or a wave so swift and great that all your force was too little.”
(Do you see the contrast in perspectives?)
The Lady puts it beautifully, “It often happens that way in swimming. IS NOT THAT PART OF THE DELIGHT?”
My guess is Ransom would not have put it in such words, nor we for that matter. What delight can there be in something bigger than yourself taking you for a ride that requires everything in you and even then that is not enough? Oh, but there is a delight.
There have been days surfing or surf-kayaking that I have enjoyed with all that is in me the ride I just had on a certain wave. It is completely absurd to think, though, as I paddle my way back out to the line-up that I would look for the same exact experience in the next wave that comes. There might be similarities to the last wave, but it is never the same twice, and that is why it is so much fun to surf. Now there are, also, times when the wave comes and it is much more than I am ready for. No matter how much energy I put into making it, I have been thrown over the top, out of my boat or off my board, and thus rumbled and tossed in the whitewater… so swift and great that all my force was too little. I have been scared shitless during such times, thinking surely I will die, but I haven’t yet. If there was death anywhere, it was a dying of my understanding, of my perspective of what “too much” really meant. And when the wave is past, I am sitting in the water… honestly…full of laughter and delight, whooping and hollering.
Because, you know, it often happens that way in swimming.
My hope is that the crossing of metaphors – walking & swimming – hasn’t left you somewhere back on the road.. or on the shore, as the metaphor may fall.
Lately, God seems to be getting at me in all this. He seems to be asking me to let go of all my previous understanding of what and how He has done things; to let go of even my speculation of what is next; to not try to guess what the next wave will look like; to let go of all the goods he has given; It’s as if he is exploding with delight to take me to where “next” is, but before I can go there he ask that I come with him free of expectation.. ‘cause what he has in mind.. well…he won’t say just yet…
And it very well might be that all my force is too little, but is not that part of the delight?
The Lady describes this whole way of living in words that I could do no better:
“It is a delight with terror in it!
(Another photo, I couldn't resist :)