Tuesday, August 19, 2008
Therefore The Redeemed
Job 19:25 I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth.
As I've lived here in my grandparent's house, it's been a slow process of envisioning what I want to change to make it my own. When we first moved in, everyone was asking what I was going to do in terms of decorating. After a month of so of lengthy conversations and magazine searching and deciding what we wanted we gave up. We quit trying to decide realizing that we needed to live here to know what we wanted, a sort of settling in. Five months later I am starting to have more of an understanding of this house and me in it, memories making it that much more complicated. I'm almost ready to put paint to walls. And almost ready to let go what was for what will be.
Jay is moving into my other grandma's house. He's ready for home ownership and dreams of his own. So he sits and talks to his grandparents, his aunt and us about what he wants his own new old house to be. We look through magazines and try to help him identify the commonalities between this picture and that to steer him toward what he seems to like best. We envision walls torn down, flooring and function that will change what this little house has always been. Much like his dad and I on the other side of town. Dogs living where they never lived before. A young man starting life in the house his grandfather lived in. You might think of opportunity and blessing and time moving on.
I think of redemption.
It is the desire of man's heart to claim life and make it his own. To mold our lives into something that in turn molds us. We desire a home that reflects past, present and future if our pasts have been happy and we embrace the future with hope. We greet the present as the starting gate. I watch my son's eyes light up as he talks about copper pipes, mortgage rates and how long it takes drywall mud to dry. He is captured by redeeming what he has been offered to make it even better.
Life is continual redemption. It is carved within us, being the only thing to turn us toward our own redemption. The ability to see what might be better. To admit that all is not well and to reject the things that are less than they could be.
Isn't it familiar to us, to know what we want to change and yet struggle with the most obvious ideas? Eat less. Exercise. Save money. Mop the floor. Study. None of these are mysteries we cannot solve and yet we struggle. We want the better, we are dissatisfied with what is and still...
I can look at many years of knowing that all was not redeemed and knowing how to fix it. And doing nothing. It could weigh me down with suffocating regret should I let it. The inner voice that knew something better was within but not being able to make myself find that better something. Not being able to let go of the things that stood between me and redemption. That same battle lives inside of me. Lessons are learned slowly and often learned, lost and relearned as regrets pile higher.
I have understood so acutely that so much needed to be redeemed that I've thrown up my hands knowing I just couldn't do it. Days became weeks became months became years until I suddenly realized I had made some determination that just never happened. Shame almost convinced me that the redemption clock had run out.
Now I know that life is like this new old house, you have to live in it to understand. It isn't a matter of hopelessness or opportunities lost forever. Redemption is just the opposite. Redemption of life, like new old houses, just requires someone to dream and reach for it.
Along the way, some things get left behind. Sometimes you can't reclaim the stuff you lost. The Mr. broke a vase I got from my grandma the day after I put it on my kitchen table. Broken vases and broken hearts cannot always be restored to what they were. That vase that survived decades in my grandma's basement survived twenty four hours in our house. It hurt my heart to put it in the trash. For a while I thought about it being the favorite of the things I had from her, that nothing would ever replace it. There's a certain panic to losing something that you know cannot ever be replaced.
That is the magic of redemption. God never leaves us surrounded by broken glass. The panic isn't real. I am not a creator, I cannot form another vase and if I could; it wouldn't be my grandma's anyway.
But the Creator redeems life in a different way. He doesn't fix, he recreates. He makes us into something new, in fact he uses the broken pieces and creates something glorious out of it. His redemption is the ocean that my redecoration represents as a droplet. His plans are beyond my imagination.
He allows the broken vase to go into the garbage can without suffocating regret. He says to us, "It's OK, I can fix it."
We hunger to redeem, our homes and our bodies and our finances; because we hunger to be redeemed.
Now we need to realize that redemption is never finished, like the repair of a house. It's forever until we are forever.