Thomas: An Old Poem

With the utmost contrition
I endeavour to speak into
a deep silence that acts as
a punishment all on its own.
Innocence and naivety are
no longer viable excuses
for my lack of faith, I am
Peter on the lake, I am
Thomas holding Your hands, I am
Judas, leaving supper early, I am
not worthy of your patient
understanding, and much too
wayward to ask You to walk
with me, but You still choose
to. You still choose me.
And I consider asking you
why you cling to a broken
child such as me, but I’m
too scared you’ll change your
mind, so I finally open my
mouth, and speak loud and
clear: Thank You. 

Moving Forward

Here’s the thing about loss: it’s never made right, but it is made easier to bear. 

Wether we’ve lost a loved one, lost a relationship, lost a dream, a hope, an expectation, the aching doesn’t last forever. I’m not going to be so foolish as to say that all is made right again, and we feel completely and wonderfully restored, but we are often given the strength to stand up again. And when we do, our resilience writes a beautiful chapter in the story of our lives. There has never been something as lovely as when someone rises from the ashes. 

I’ve lost a lot of things in the last little while, as I’ve shared on this blog before. Hopes, dreams, love, and trust were snatched away from me when I was silly enough to believe they were mine to keep. And I would be lying if I said I was okay. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t angry and that I had moved on completely. But here’s the thing with life: it keeps going, and time really does heal. We are given new hopes, new dreams, new things to love, and healing. It is when we wallow in our grief, when we only mourn and refuse to rejoice, that we are drained of our hope and our joy–and this is simply not the way any Christian ought to live. It can often be comforting to hold on to our pain as some mantel to remind us of the injustice done to us. We feel like if we forget it, then that makes it okay. But let me tell you friend, this is not the case. If someone has wronged you, or something has happened in your life that has brought you great sadness, no amount of forgetting will make that event “okay”. No amount of forgiveness or grace will make that initial event “alright” or “permissible”. But that is what you leave in the hands of God, who is just, and will deal with it Himself. 

Please be free to live a life a beauty and joy, free of those who have hurt you or left you. You’re wonderful and amazing because God Himself made you that way, and anyone who doesn’t see that is missing out. And let me tell you, they’ll regret giving up their place in your life before too long. You will heal, and you will be shown the amazing journey before you. And if you’ve lost a loved one, remember that your living brings more honour to them then your giving up. They loved you. You loved them. What an amazing gift in a world of pain. 

And to those who have lost love: it will find you again. Because you’re worthy of it, and there are not many others in this world like you. You’re a rare find, and when you are discovered by the right one, you will see why every other candidate was unworthy. 

“And the woman…

“And the woman who stays up too late to write poems, love her.”
— “All of It, Every Bit,” Rosemerry Trommer

Love her for her quiet strength, her meekness, her soft heart. For the words she spins in order to stay sane, and the stories she tells with every stanza. 

Maple (2)

The bottom of the maple tree

suited my purposes, so I

dug down with my bare hands

until I uncovered the roots.

I took the tin box filled to the

brim with you, and stuck it

between those mighty veins.

The dried blushing roses,

the letters and the poems,

and even your marbled heart

arranged between the tissues

that dried all the tears you

gave me, buried in the ground.

And there my love can grow,

warped in the roots of that big

maple tree, rather than inside of

a heart that can no longer

sustain life. The only evidence

left behind is the black dirt

on my hands from covering

it up.

You no longer deserve

the cries of my heart.

On Anger

I’m fairly certain that it’s safe to say that I’m not generally an angry person. I can’t remember the last time I yelled at someone, or the last time I was upset to the point of declaring myself “angry”. In my mind, I see anger as yelling, fighting, becoming physically upset or violent. I’m just not the sort of person who reacts in that way when conflict arises. First of all, nearly everyone I know has to ask me to speak up, so yelling is out of the question, and second, I’m 5’1 and the least intimidating person in the world. Up until recently, I just would have assumed that I don’t really get angry. That the most animated emotion I felt was frustration, and that was it.

That was, however, until I learned what anger really is. And when I learned this new definition of anger, I realized that I am in fact a fairly angry person at times.

Anger is an emotion just like any other. It doesn’t have a place in a filing cabinet somewhere inside of us, it’s just there. God has given anger to us to illicit some kind of warning. When someone gets angry when they are wronged, the anger warns them that things are not how they ought to be. Our bodies know when we’re angry. Our minds won’t move from a situation, and our temper becomes very thin. Anger isn’t bad in and of itself. We all can feel some kind of righteous anger when we’re wronged or when we see others being wronged. When an action takes place that goes against what we know to be the natural moral law, anger can result. Each one of us knows there is an innate sense of right and wrong in the world, and when that law is violated, we know it. We feel it. It causes us to react.

Recently, I have been trying to deal with a number of overwhelming life-situations in which I have been blatantly wronged, or someone I love has been wronged. I’ve noticed that these issues are not being resolved in the way I would like them to. I feel consistently frustrated and confused, and whenever I feel myself becoming angry (righteously so, for the most part) I instantly try to squash that feeling. I explain away people’s wrongdoings and sins against me/others in order to be a “proper” Christian. I douce people in grace in order to push the situation away. I might not be ready to forgive yet, but at least I can have some grace for that person. And it lasts for a while. But I find myself back in a position where I can no longer reconcile the actions of this person anymore. The truth of the matter is, if I were really in a position to show grace to a person, I would also be ready and willing to forgive them. But because I’m actually angry, that forgiveness isn’t readily available to me yet.

All of this is to say, I am angry. I am angry at people, with situations, with myself, and sometimes with God. I am learning to moderate and use that emotion to bring about healing, rather than have it destroy me. I am learning to take that anger as the warning I need to realize that things are not how they ought to be. I am also learning that God himself gets angry over the things that happen to his children. He is not okay with the situations in which people have deeply hurt me. Just like he wouldn’t be okay if I had deeply hurt someone else. He is a just God who wants good and right things for His children.

But forgiveness, grace, and reconciliation is the goal. Anger is just part of that process. Scripture says “be angry and do not sin” and this is to be taken into careful consideration. Let someone know that you’re angry. Open up that door for possible reconciliation and mutual forgiveness. But don’t absorb the wrongdoing of someone else, making it okay for others to treat you poorly, in the name of being a “proper” Christian. Righteous anger is a fine balance to strike, but we must do it. Always explaining away your anger and hurt feelings and looking to the “best” in the wrongdoer can be dangerous. Not always, but if it’s a consistent habit, then yes. There are some people who are not good to be around. Some wrongs that have been done to us that have natural consequences. Sometimes when people hurt us, there is not going to be a restored relationship. Sometimes that person isn’t actually a safe person to have in your life. And if such a person has hurt you, it’s okay to be angry about it.

And all of this is to say that I, Lena Rigby, am angry. And that’s okay. And I won’t be forever. And that’s okay too.

I Don’t Have Time

Granted, there are plenty of things in life that drain us. There are struggles that we face that take all of our emotional energy, our patience, our joy. Sometimes life itself just “gets in the way” as it’s prone to doing, and we feel spent and exhausted, frustrated and out of touch. And because we’re weak and feeble creatures on our own, we are defeated. You all know those people. The ones who are bitter and cynical, tired and burnt out, and who never really rise above. I think at times we can all be those sort of people.

In my own life, the past year has been incredibly exhausting. I wouldn’t have asked for it if the Lord had’ve told me from the beginning what it would be like. I would have run for the hills, to be quite frank. I’ve cried more in the past six months than I think I have in my whole life. I’ve given up, been angry, and hidden away from the world. I’ve surprised myself with the amount of pain I could possibly feel. All of this was certainly caused by a combination of factors, all resulting in a terrible series of events, but even still–I felt like I’d been hit by a Mac truck. Again, life had proven to be full of hurtful people and stupid emotions. I trusted people who let me down, I believed promises that people couldn’t keep, and I saw the true colours of people I thought I knew. Reality and humanity crashed down around me like an unrelenting rainstorm, and from the ground, I asked for God to bring me into the light.

And again, Lewis is right when he said : “Experience is a brutal teacher, but you learn. My God, do you learn.” In this season of doubt and sadness, uncertainty and brokenhearted-ness, I have learned not only what I am made of, but who God is in relation to my pain, and what my specific purpose is in this life. I have learned that I am someone who loves deeply. And while that opens me up to the possibility of great pain, it also opens me up to the possibility of great joy. I have learned that I’m not nearly so awful and dreadful as I often think I am. I have been taught to see myself through the eyes of my Maker, and when I look in the mirror, what I see isn’t half bad anymore. I have learned that to love anything truly is to do so to the abandonment of oneself, without considering what is in it for me, or what I can gain from another person. And while that love can be abused, used, and rejected by other people, I have gained more in loving someone as such than I would have if I didn’t. I have learned that God’s way is the best way, and his timing is perfect. I have learned that He forgives and forgets perfectly. And while his children hurt and mistreat each other, He still loves them. He wishes all things to be restored to their proper order, and He will set the world to rights again. I am now impatient for that day, when the Lord sets heaven and earth right again, when before I was stuck in this present age.

With that, I have learned that this life is incredibly short and will pass in the blink of an eye. In my relationship with the Lord, I have been commissioned to a great task. One that He specifically created me to accomplish on this earth, while I’m here, that has eternal significance and consequence. Only I was made for the particular job God has for me. My skills and talents were breathed into me for this very task. The Kingdom is to be advanced through my life, and that is its sole purpose. To glorify the Father and to rise to the occasion of the holy vocation I have been given is my life’s main aim. This is part of what it means to die to self: to realize life isn’t about you. It never was. It never will be.

In light of this reality, I’ve learned one of the most important things I might ever learn: I don’t have time. I don’t have time to count my battle scars and seek vengeance and justice over each one. I don’t have time to be hateful and bitter towards the people who have used me, mistreated me, and lost me. I don’t have time to wallow, retreat from life itself, and carry around a chip on my shoulder. I don’t have time to wait around for things to change into what I want them to be. I don’t have time to sit around. I will give an account for every wasted minute. Every single one.

See, here’s the thing, Christians: when you accept the task of following Christ, you were asked to count the cost. Will you give up everything you have to follow? Will you forsake every human desire for the heavenly role of being a child of the King? Will you partake in the war for heaven or will you become a useless, rusted tool in your inaction and complacency? Will you allow your pain, your hurt, your exhaustion, and your citizenship on earth to leave you “good intentioned” but useless? These questions are beckoning to be answered. Because when you became a Christian, and you counted the cost, you were then asked to hit the ground running in the race for the Kingdom. And that means that you simply don’t have time for anything else.