Today in class we took the Meyers-Briggs personality test (which I have taken more than once before). However, the difference this time was that I got a slightly different personality type/description than I have in the past, and that got me thinking about what has or hasn’t happened that could’ve influenced how my personality has changed in the last year. As I was processing that, I was catching up on my blog subscriptions (yeah, I really like to pay attention in class) and read this post:
“I was again reminded of something I knew but need to stay rooted in as I teach: at a certain point, transformation in our lives and our communities comes not only from more knowledge, but rather from engaging a hope that has the courage to hold deep communion with grief. I do not know how it is possible to arrive at new visions of justice on this earth unless we are willing to enter the sorrow of all that is not well, and yet everything in me wants to resist that sorrow. I am still learning how to grieve; I am still learning that if I have the courage to enter the most broken parts of myself, that new life will be found in the journey. For people who know me well, they know that I like to grieve alone. I rarely bring my tears before others anymore. And yet, there is something profound and healing about communities who are willing to sorrow together...as they collectively long and labor for more justice and mercy in this hurting world.”
I really think that I (and apparently my Meyers-briggs personality type) have been changed by my life circumstances recently. In the midst of grieving over this broken, painful mess of my family (and identity therein) being pretty thoroughly disassembled--where I feel conflicted and angry and sad and about 547 other emotions that I'm not sure I can even identify. I have never been so aware of God pulling me towards some sort of purpose. I have no idea what it is--but it’s kind of exciting. I have been experiencing a new excitement for life that I haven't felt for a while (even when things were awesome). This is God changing me, this is God pulling me though this pain and into something better. I’ve not only felt grief….but I’ve also felt life. Sometimes the exploration of the broken places of ourselves, through looking at the pain, through giving up the need to hold it together…that is where God meets us.
Friends will fail friends, things will break down, the father I am supposed to have will let me down, I will fall short of the person I was created to be. People pass away, things change, what was won't be again. And where do we go from there? It’s in those moments where all you have is a cry from the deepest parts of your being--"This is not how things are supposed to be!" that God is shouting back, “I know! And I’m weeping with you!”
Everyone at some point in their life will deal with grief, and everyone at some point will feel joy and excitement--usually in some strange combination. We will feel it and we will feel for others when they are experiencing it. It reminds me a lot of the kingdom of God and how its a constant tension of the already and the not yet, the brokenness and the redemption, injustice and justice, the mess and the beauty, the profane and the sacred, the grief and the joy. It’s when someone dies, that you see the friends rally with the family. It’s when there’s a natural disaster that you see cities pull together to take care of each other.
We must live in healthy, loving community with others, because sometimes you can’t keep it together—but it’s in those times that God will use those around you as witnesses to the fact that it’s ok to fall apart and as reminders of the relationship with God from which you feel so distanced. We all feel and experience the brokenness of the world, but we must always remember that God is pulling us towards the "not yet", towards the time when he will fully redeem everything, and he wants us to participate with Him in making this a reality. When things are good, we must remember those in the broken, messy, grieving places to remember who we are. While there is pain and sorrow, there are so many more awesome, wonderful, happy, beautiful moments where you can spot what the Kingdom is, where God’s will is done, where things are how they’re supposed to be…
"How many of the most significant moments in your life came not because it all went right, but because it all fell apart? It's strange how there can be art in the agony..." -Rob Bell