Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Breathe in Bare

I hate being told I cannot.  As a toddler and right on through my young twenties, "you can't" immediately transformed into "watch me".  I'd set my jaw, get creative, and prove someone wrong, with tunnel vision as my best friend. But the hard truth is, there are things I cannot do and my will cannot make it happen, no matter the effort.  I hate it, and I've had three year old adult fits because I simply cannot do.  It makes me so angry.  We grow up believing we can do whatever we want to do.  We grow up with possibility and dreams.  With hard discipline, these birth into beautiful realities, relished because of the sweat broke and the dedication instituted to bring them about.  But what happens when your goals cannot, no matter the grunt and the time and the planning, cannot be realized?  What do we do with that?  How do we reconcile the unfairness?  How do we drench the fire of anger and dream again?  Who do we become?  Because the results of dreams realized or dreams fallen short will shape us.

My dryer broke. Dead. Twenty-four years old.  I love my dryer.  I love its large capacity and its literal three settings and a start button you actually push in.  I didn't want a new dryer with all of the options, small drum, and a mother board that can overheat, burn out, or spark and die.  Give me less that can go wrong.  Needless to say, I was determined to fix the thing.  That's how I grew up.  Dad fixed our dryer at least seven times so I thought, "No biggie. I got this."  With my trusted friends, Google and YouTube, I narrowed my issue down to it being the belt.  Apparently the most common breakage among dryers.  Peter and I discussed it, researched it, ordered a new belt and we were well on our way.  According to YouTube, this was a cinch.

YouTube informs me to take off the front panel.  Done.  The belt needs to be placed into a groove in the back of the drum.  Hmm.  Why the back?  Who designed this?  I'm immediately out of play because I cannot contort my body to reach behind the drum, while remaining on the outside of the dryer.  My arms are simply not long enough.  Enlist Peter.  He also tries but, too, doesn't have the length or the balance to NOT lean on the drum but rather over the drum, putting no pressure on it, while reaching his arms over his head and trying to attach the belt into the groove.  This is all done blindly.  Whatever.  I'm annoyed.  He's annoyed.  Enlist Maxwell, the man-child.  He has the balance and the reach but apparently, the belt is a tight fit, and he's still doing this blindly.  So, now we have Peter perched on top of the dryer, dipped over the back being Maxwell's eyes and attempting to use his stellar communication skills to guide that stupid belt into that groove at the BACK of the dryer drum.  We are ALL annoyed.  WHO, again, designed this?  Did this require an engineer?  Why does this need to be in the very back of the dryer? 

Maxwell throws the belt after attempting three times and says, "Seriously.  This is a stupid design and I'm pretty sure, impossible."  But he's our only hope and I need my big ole' dryer, with the enamel scratched off the front, and stains littering the top.  It's not  pretty but it's so amazingly functional.  So, as all good mamas do, I say, "I hear ya, bud.  But too bad, so sad.  Suck it up and get back in there."  He doesn't swear, but if there was a time to, this would  have been it.  A little more guiding and boom, the sucker pops in.  I hear a few more grumbles of frustration but at the sight of my joy, all is well.

It works.  Not with a quiet whir and a cheery ding but with a hearty tumble, a bit of a screech, and an abrupt buzz at the end.  I'm fine with that.  Completely rejoicing over my large capacity dryer!

Here I was, once again, faced with something I could not do, no matter what I tried.  I know it's just a dryer.  I know it's not my life's dream to fix this thing.  Big deal, it's  a dryer.  Kind of.  Kind of is a big deal because the reality of not being able to do something slammed into me and the rushed feelings of rage and wrongness, and questions of why, instantly flooded my mind and heart.   I don't want to depend on others.  I want to provide and fix - by  myself.  I hate asking for help.  I literally swallow my lump of pride every single time I have to ask for help.  I was raised to be self sufficient and to help others, not to be on the receiving side of help.  Twenty years ago, I would not have been so kind as to say "suck it up and get back in there".  I would have launched into a two day grieving period full of mumbling, anger,  frustration, tears, and finally some sort of defeated acceptance.  I want to do it myself.  So, I have grown.  Being faced with the not being able to "do" every day has taught me the corner doesn't move, just because I have a fit.  My grieving has gotten streamlined and channeled to create a more relaxed being.  I cannot change my situation.  I can only settle into it.

When we are naked, left with no talent, no beauty, no words, who are we?  When we can't accomplish or shine or when our dreams fall short, where does that leave us?  Strip it all away.  Who are you left with? What are you? Where are you? 

Bare. Having nothing, doing nothing, creating nothing... and even in  this, you are still incredible. Your core is still a child of God.  And, yes, you can still be frustrated. And yes, you can still cry out to Him who knows all things and even this has not taken Him by surprise. And yes, it's not fair. But STILL, you bear His image - in all your imperfection. But STILL, your value has not been measured by the weight of your human impact. You are simply and astonishingly an Image Bearer - at your bare core. A whispered existence after a twinkle in His eye.  He is already in awe. Who else are we trying to impress? There is nothing greater. The bells and whistles of our lives cannot make or break us. We cannot fail to  nothing or excel to  prove. We can rest in the being... because we are image bearers.

What kind of impact is that? Where do we go with that? How do we love with that? If we do not settle in the privilege of being - being an Image Bearer - then we will be frustrated. We will explode with anger turned bitter. We will cry, claw, and fight but the effect will not be sudden perfection - just because we want perfection. Nor are we thrown into contented surrender. No, our minds spin with comparison. What will calm us is the stark nakedness of the being... being His. Bare.

Recognize who you are... at your core.

A broken dryer, or anything I need to ask help for, will always slam me into my cemented reality... but the quick slide through the grief will only solidify me in the land of Image Bearer. Breathe. Smile. My reactive emotions broadcast where on my recognition road do I stand with the gravity of being His child. The gravity of a whisper turned Image Bearer.

Recognize whose you are. Incredible. Breathe.

Genesis 1:26-27 Then God said, "Let us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth." God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.

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