Posted by: karanoel | November 29, 2018

Walking into love

walking shoes

Walking is the part of my day I would call communion. Not the bread and wine kind, but “the sharing or exchanging of intimate thoughts and feelings.” As I set off in a quiet rhythm, my lungs draw deep breaths of the fresh air all around and my senses quicken to perceive the beauty of creation that envelops me – the textures beneath my feet, the earthy fragrances that greet me, the penetrating warmth of the sun on my skin. My heart rises in worship before I’ve even left my driveway, unable to resist the holy space that opens up before me, drawing me into the bright, welcoming presence of God.

My thoughts start to tumble out in this safe space, exposing themselves to the light of day. The tension between what is and what should be raises its voice, wanting truth more than answers to its endless questions. And my heart: this is where it pours itself out freely. Wanting to be known and to be loved; wanting to know and to love. When my soul has spent itself, I walk side by side with my Creator in the quiet, my steps falling into rhythm with His, my ears attentive to anything He might want to say. It is what I live for. His words, His heart – shared with me.

It was into this quiet, a day after writing about my magical walk with Cole, that He spoke. He reminded me of how deeply I was moved when my much-loved son wanted to join in my activity for the sole reason of being with me. So often, I chose him. But that day, he chose me. I paused to remember again, letting the sweetness rise. With my heart all soft and open, the Lord went on to say that He understands that tenderness all too well. It is exactly what He has felt the times I’ve sought Him out just to be with Him. The experiences He has shared with me are as precious to Him as the ones I’ve shared with Cole are to me; guarded in His heart like priceless, irreplaceable treasures.

What He opened up from there made me come undone. He spoke into my heart as a parent because it’s the kind of love I can grasp; the most unfiltered love I’ve experienced. It is raw and real. It is passionate and relentless. It is costly. But most of all, it’s relational. There were many hardships I experienced as a mom during Cole’s life and there was great pain in his death, but I would chose it all again for the sake of knowing and loving that boy. With that tangible reality in hand, the Lord said, “THAT is how I love you. Not in a neat, tidy Sunday school way, but with a burning passion that thinks nothing of your imperfections and failures and doesn’t count the cost of sacrifice. I just want relationship with you and would experience every hardship over again – even death – to know and love you.” You guys, it broke me. Tears poured out of my insides that had melted to liquid. And I continue to be undone. Not only is He my Father, but I am His daughter.

I have blogged about this passage before, but can’t help but include it again here because it is exactly what I experienced that day on the trail. This is a conversation from Tattoos on the Heart between the author who is a loving, down-to-earth priest in a rough part of town and a recently-released-from-prison gang member he had known since his childhood.

At three o’clock in the morning, the phone rings. It’s Cesar. He says what every homie says when they call in the middle of the night, “Did I wake you?”

I always think, “Why no, I was just waiting and hoping that you’d call.”

Cesar is sober, and it’s urgent that he talk to me.

I gotta ask you a question. You know how I’ve always seen you as my father – ever since I was a little kid? Well, I hafta ask you a question.

Now Cesar pauses, and the gravity of it all makes his voice waver and crumble, “Have I… been… your son?”

Oh, hell yeah,” I say.

Whew,” Cesar exhales, “I thought so.”

Now his voice becomes enmeshed in a cadence of gentle sobbing. “Then… I will be… your son. And you… will be my father. And nothing will separate us, right?”

That’s right.”

In this early morning call, Cesar did not discover that he had a father. He discovered that he is a son worth having. The voice broke through the clouds of his terror and the crippling mess of his own history, and he felt himself beloved. God, wonderfully pleased in him, is where God wanted Cesar to reside.

My prayer today is for each of us to have an ever-deepening revelation of that very trusth: Not only that we have a loving Father, “but that we are kids worth having. That the voice would break through the clouds of our terror and the crippling mess of our own history, and we would find ourselves beloved.”

p.s. I do realize any love I had for Cole is just a tiny little drop compared to the love God has for me.


Responses

  1. Ah, heck, now you’ve gone and got me all choked up, Kara. You hit my dad button and my child button. Lovely post.

    • Thanks Mitch! Seems to me that the whole gospel is wrapped around those buttons so we must be onto something 😊


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