So, every day, usually twice, I seek out my reading chair and coil myself into my favorite posture. I do what my Auntie tried to break me of when I was tiny. She said, "Don't sit on your feet. You'll ruin your circulation." Yet, here I am - excellent circulation, & I can make an environment for my body in pretty much any chair as long as I can curl up in it.
One of the ways I do that best is with words. Words help. Words color. Words pick things up and move them around. Words keep space for ideas and the flicker of homegrown hope.
The environment of what we say and how we take each other in happens like this: by holding the gaze until it’s awkward, the prayer long past the silence, and by taking the ride our stories steer despite our harried hearts.
A coworker accepts a small kindness, intended for her, after a very long stretch of invisibility.
His spine stretches taller because he got to feel a child’s warm smile.
A daughter drops a wall, only a bit, because you dropped yours and paid the price of admission in frailty.
One time after Jesus Christ had healed a man full of demons, he told that man to go on home, clothed and in his right mind. It’s a small freak story that has been rattling around in my life for 4 years now and it’s found in both Mark 5 and Luke 4. The Legion miracle has been relentless with me since the second I saw it as not just the story of a nameless man, but a story that is all of our stories.
Here’s this human, scarred by self directed savagery and set to live outside of town until he meets Christ, who send his demons a’squealing into a herd of swine, which quickly run off a nearby cliff. Huge, right? Not enough - that doesn’t explain why it rocks me. Lots of people got healed by Jesus in many wild ways.
What happened next to the man who was called Legion by his demons, who had an actual name that we never learn, was that he was sent back to live in his village by Jesus after his bid to become a disciple was denied. He was lifted out of his unsolvable disaster and set back down in his life to live his little story, changed.
I believe that, to Jesus, this man’s unquenchable narrative was too good to be wasted as an itinerant witness. It was money; it would connect. He would become a transformed conduit of what it looks like to be known and seen by God & never abandoned again - and he would be that man to his people, the very ones who left him chained and naked, outside of belonging. In a way, that’s my story, too.
It all begins when we believe. This is the environment we are scooping out together. Curl up and stay.