"We are never safe, but we have plenty of fun, and some ecstasy. It is not hard to see why. The security we crave would teach us to rest our hearts in this world and oppose an obstacle to our return to God...
Our Father refreshes us on the journey with some pleasant inns, but will not encourage us to mistake them for home." C. S. Lewis
I pulled a favorite book about hospitality off my shelves last week, at first to look for a particular recipe and then to set aside and re-read evenings when I was too tired to think.
For I have found the re-reading of favorite books to be the best way to relax when exhaustion or illness or anxiety is present. They are like comfortable people who require nothing but your presence.
So... I had read the above quote by Lewis before but this time it jumped out at me, gave me a big hug, and brought calm to my soul. For in the midst of everything going on to cause life to become anything but smooth, the words brought with them Wisdom. He won't ever let me get too comfortable on this the most fallen of planets.
I like comfort. I like my Lazy Boy sofa and a throw on chilly evenings. I like air conditioning and Starbuck's Frappuccinos in the heat of summer (with a gift card from someone I care for) and that first sip of pumpkin spice latte in autumn. I like soft pillows and sturdy lawn chairs and the patio umbrella that blocks out the sun on my deck.
I dislike cars that break down, washing machines stopping their spin cycle, another round of warfare with ants in the kitchen, weeds overtaking the lettuce, and springs that feel like July one day and January the next and back to July a few days later.
I dislike living in a fallen world.
Fallen worlds are uncomfortable and inconvenient. They make me long for all that is Perfect. Oh... that's what Lewis is saying, isn't it? He puts into words (as he so often does) what my heart has been saying all along.
There will be events of joy and days of love and breathtaking beauty and overwhelming majesty and the wonder that tiny seeds stuck in dirt give life to an abundance of vegetables and flowers.
There are mornings with the aroma of coffee brewing and the scent of grass after it has been mowed in the afternoon and the forest in October and Lake Michigan after a summer storm.
He knew this world would not be easy and once He became man and walked the sod for thirty-three years... there is nothing we face each day which He does not understand.
For if anything, we have a God who can empathize with our human limitations... He gets it.
He is always with us in the fallen-ness of a world scarred by the battle between good and evil and He sends His angels to have guard over us. We can rest assured that all the bumps and bruises of the journey will result in our good and His glory...
and along the way...
In the midst of all that is inconvenient and uncomfortable and disappointing and exhausting... He gifts us with blooming dogwood trees and John Denver singing from the itty bitty iPod and hugs from family and friends who share our burdens and spring weddings and kitties... and once in awhile those rare moments when we sense we are full to the brim of what mere mortal bodies can contain of joy.
Lewis is saying it isn't Heaven, yet. We are not to get too comfortable here as we long for that which is cozy and convenient. He won't let us. As he says of Aslan... "He's not safe but he's good".
All ponderings will be few and far between from now until the end of May. :)