Thursday, March 28, 2013

"Create in me a clean heart..."

"Do you realize what I have done for you?"

I can imagine the night when Peter sat down for the Seder with Jesus. The stuffy warmth of the upper room full of conversation, prayer and song, and in the midst of it all, a torrent of emotions.

Judas' impending betrayal. The devotion and zeal of the Eleven. Jesus' fear, pain and doubt.

And I can imagine the awestruck hush that settled over that room when, moved by love, the Messiah stooped down to wash the feet of the one that would deny him the very next day.

Can you imagine it? By then Peter knew the truth about Jesus, but didn't quite grasp its full implications. He knew that he had been named the Rock, but didn't understand what that would mean.

And now the Christ was condescending to him?

Peter's reaction to this gift — vehement refusal — rang familiar in my heart. "But why?" the both of us seem to think incredulously, "Why are you doing this? This shouldn't be!"

Yet Jesus did it anyway. He washed Peter clean knowing full well everything that would transpire in mere hours between them.

He wanted to set a precedent. Serve even when you are no longer served. Love without limits. Give without expectation. Forgive before the apology, or better yet, forgive even before the sin.

His is a radical, earth-shattering, life-altering love that offends our sense of justice. With Jesus, we never get what we deserve.

Or perhaps we do. In the midst of our grit and grime, sin and shame, failure and floundering, we are still children of the God who loves us with immeasurable depth.

And he will continue to wash us clean. All we have to do is ask.

Sunday, March 3, 2013


I've been joking lately that my hair is becoming my vanity.

I'm a brunette with the blessing of natural highlights in auburn and blonde; it's almost radiant when the sun catches me just right. And these days it's longer, falling to my shoulder blades.

It's a beautiful thing, but more hair means more maintenance.

And more maintenance means more hassle.

I get these awful knots almost every time I wash my hair, tiny, impossibly tight tangles that take ages to work through. Most of the time I get impatient and either leave some in or rip through them.

Last night, standing in front of the bathroom mirror and attempting to tame that knotted mop got me thinking.

The state of my hair was a reflection of my heart: a mess.

So many different elements have woven together at the wrong time and place. They were pulled, twisted, bent and broken until all that remained was an incomprehensible, painful web.

It got that way by accident. And now, my task is to untangle those knots.

It took care and patience to fix my hair last night. Slow, gentle working strand by strand, first with my fingers and then a brush. I couldn't just run a comb through my hair from roots to ends and expect results. That would have just left me with a pound of hair in the sink, and less of it on my head. Ouch.

I had to take my time. I had to go slow. I had to be compassionate and careful.

Yes, it took longer than I hoped and I was certainly frustrated, but after some honest effort, I was back to looking my best.

I have to step back and remember to treat my soul with that same tenderness and love.

I'm realizing that I'm not going to get to where I want to be overnight or as quickly as I expected. It is becoming a true test of humility to accept that the journey toward healing will be a long one.

But if I'm prepared to truly take my time, to respect what my body and intuition are telling me, and to allow others in to give me the help I need, I think I'll be okay eventually.

Scratch that. I know I will.