Wednesday, February 10, 2010

“All right. You can come in.”

At the end of my last post, I quoted CS Lewis' as he told the tale of his conversion.

You must picture me alone in that room in Magdalen, night after night, feeling, whenever my mind lifted even for a second from my work, the steady, unrelenting approach of Him whom I so earnestly desired not to meet. That which I greatly feared had at last come upon me. In the Trinity Term of 1929 I gave in, and admitted that God was God, and knelt and prayed: perhaps, that night, the most dejected and reluctant convert in all England.

**Warning** "F-bomb" alert!!!!

I recently read two of Anne Lamott's latest books. In Traveling Mercies, she tells the tale of her conversion. Like Lewis she was indeed reluctant...adamant, in fact, that it just wasn't happening. Like Lewis, her belief in God came first...then she met up with Jesus....

After a while, as I lay there, I became aware of someone with me, hunkered down in the corner, and I just assumed it was my father, whose presence I had felt over the years when I was frightened and alone. The feeling was so strong that I actually turned on the light to make sure no one was there—of course there wasn't. But after a while, in the dark again, I knew beyond any doubt that it was Jesus. I felt him as surely as I feel my dog lying nearby as I write this. And I was appalled. I thought about my life and my brilliant hilarious progressive friends, I thought about what everyone would think of me if I became a Christian, and it seemed an utterly impossible thing that simply could not be allowed to happen. I turned to the wall and said out loud,”I would rather die.”

I felt Him just sitting there on His haunches in the corner of my sleeping loft, watching me with patience and love, and I squinched my eyes shut, but that didn't help because that's not what I was seeing Him with.

Uh-huh...sure...okay. Apparently, at that point, she hadn't heard of "irresistible grace" ala Calvin. She hadn't heard the parable of the good shepherd who leaves his 99 sheep to find the wayward one, or the widow who tore her house apart to find the one lost coin or that Jesus came to seek and save that which was lost. And at the time she was lost indeed. The story above happened after she had complications following an abortion. She was still a drunk (a word she uses throughout the book to describe herself ) and was using drugs...and she made some really poor choices with men. But Jesus hounded her (you know, as in "the hound of heaven")...only she doesn't use a canine analogy but rather the the analogy of a feline...a little cat...that relentlessly follows you around, rubbing up against your legs, trying to get in, being a total pest. But she knew that the total pest who wouldn't go away...was Jesus.

I began to cry and left before the benediction and I raced home and felt the little cat running along at my heels, and I walked down the dock past dozens of potted flowers under a sky as blue as one of God's own dreams, and I opened the door to my houseboat, and I stood there a minute, and then I hung my head and said; “Fuck it, I quit.” I took a long deep breath and said out loud, “All right. You can come in.” God did not knock her off her donkey...nor did he blind her for a few days....but he did get her attention. And now she is a unique and delightful part of the body of Christ...touching many with her down to earth, irreverent essays that reveal a heart in love with Jesus and offer the reader profound snippets of spiritual truths. At some point, I plan to write a series of posts about some of those snippets. In fact, there is a snippet in one of her quotes right in this post that I find profound. As I reread this post....with the intent of editing out redundant ramblings and unnecessary phrases, alas, I ended up ADDING TO rather SUBTRACTING FROM it. So much for succinct. BUT as I was "editing" I came up with a profound snippet of my own. Profound to me anyway. And so much for succinct!! More to come.....

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