I lost one of my books today. One that contains months of writing practice. One that holds all the drafts of the pages I am writing for my memoir. One that I was finally excited, and worked up enough courage to read to people, in the effort of "coming out" with my book. I haven't felt this distraught since I lost my portfolio in a snow storm the day before I was supposed to hand it in to Rhode Island School of Design. I remember that night so clearly, I had knelt at the foot of my bed in the senior dormitory I was living in at Brown and I apologized that I had ever thought that I could have done this without Him. Forget the fact that each recommendation was written by a RISD professor, forget that it was one of their ideas that I applied, forget that now I had gotten cocky and surefooted. Now that I was finally "smart", my portfolio, my entire portfolio just ups and gets lost in luggage on a trip cross-country. It was the only time I ever lost my luggage. I only stopped getting anxious at the SFO luggage claim this past year. The feeling is not unlike the one I felt 2 nights ago, when I had this sinking feeling I misplaced this book. The dread, the sinking dread wasn't that it was gone forever, but that I deserved it somehow. That I had gotten to a place of arrogance, surefootedness and entitlement with this book. That I deserve or could write this somehow. It's such an awful place. It's the place that I am always bracing for. It's the place I imagined my practice to be month to month whenever I felt the slightest bit sure of myself. "Be careful, whatever you love -- God will zero on in and kill it" It will be Isaac and He will want it on the altar in the morning -- dead. Oh and you get to do the killing. YOU kill your dream, you son, your desires. It's such a horrible view of God. This morning as I moped around with remorse and shame under the weight of a God that I felt I had failed and had failed me. I thought of the Fall in the Garden. How Satan got a hold of Adam and what He said that tripped him up. " Are you sure....?" "Are you sure He is for you? " That totally epitomized my struggle the last couple of days -- what is more heart breaking than losing the book, is believing that the God I serve is one that would hurt me this way. He would take something that means the world to me and kill it just because. " Am I sure, Am I sure that He is for me? That this isn't another one of His horrible plans to show me who is boss." I imagine Him and Satan up in the clouds looking down on me like Job. "Let's see if she loves you now " both of them embroiled in some kind of perverse cock fight.
Yet this morning, what comes to me is an invitation I made to one my clients to imagine God as gentle and loving parent. He never grabs. He only trades. This is the hard one for me: He only trades me for something better. This morning, as I am still nursing the loss, the potential permenant loss of some of my most key pages. I dry my tears and try to imagine a God that is for me. One that has something better, that it is stretched out towards me with generosity, with love and with wisdom; that He is broken hearted at my inconsolable grief around my loss, around the idea of a God who would grab, that I would imagine that somehow this is punishment. He is broken hearted about that. But He is waiting to give, waiting to bless me, waiting for me to see that amazing provision He has in the other Hand.
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