my car crashed, my laptop died, my ipod stopped working.
it felt like everything was falling apart at once. i had never been without access to a car when i needed one, except at college, and even then, there was the bus, inconvenient as i may have felt it when i needed to go to meijer to get groceries. it has been seven years since i was without a laptop, it has been nineteen since i was without access to a computer of my own. and my ipod classic, that relic of a generation gone by, held all my music, some of which was on no other device i owned and was therefore irretrievable.
the trappings were falling away, and i didn’t like it. it is uncomfortable when our creature comforts are lost to us, when the glow and glamour of our ordinary lives is stripped away and we are found to be the unadorned selves we both dread and dream of being.
i am struggling with the living of who i am.
this is, in some ways, a luxury. it is those of us who have no need of wrestling against nature for survival who have the time to ponder this question ad infinitum, and in that infinity, ad nauseum.
but since we have the time, it is a necessity for us to ponder this question, but if we are not wrestling against nature for our lives, than what is it that gives us the feeling, sometimes, that our lives are futile? what is it we are struggling against for our sense of self, both individually and as a species?
who are we, when all of what we have collected as trophies is taken from us, and can we live with what is left?
i am learning to better embrace questions, years after i wrestled with the question of who i was when i didn’t know all the answers.
rilke wrote that sometimes we will live our way into the answers, and i think that’s true. there are questions only experience can answer. and there are questions that will remain despite all the range of experiences our tiny planet has to offer.
i wonder if our collection of answers and the content thereof is informed by how we ask the corresponding questions. do we come openly, humbly, willing to learn? or do we come demanding, expecting, unrepentant?
Jesus, who am i when all that’s left of me is You?
and is this not the question to which we should all come? and if we would claim His name adjectivally for ourselves, christian, should we not have some sense of where to begin finding the answer?
i began to think it’s less about laying down than it is about being stripped down.
i think of Jesus’s response to the rich young ruler, how bluntly He told him to sell his possessions and give the proceeds to the poor, how the man was stripped down there, in front of everyone, but not, ultimately, in the way that mattered, because he walked away.
i think of how reluctantly i have surrendered my tiny treasures, how Jesus has sometimes pried them from my clenched fists, how i have been stripped down, but not always, ultimately, in the way that matters, because i, too, walk away.
and i wonder when we will let the questions and the fulfillment of our barest needs be enough, not because they themselves are sufficient but because we know Jesus best when that is all we have with Him in their midst.