Wednesday, May 21, 2008

"Tossed Treasure - messiness" by L.L. Barkat

This part of L.L.'s story was devastating to have lived through as a girl and certainly not easy to tell in this the third chapter of her new book, Stone Crossings: Finding Grace in Hard and Hidden Places.

Tossed treasure thrown out of her window as well as a locked door were a part of the messiness she experienced from her stepfather. Messiness was a part of her life and prayer didn't seem to fix it. What helped was her and her sister's breakaway to the forest, the resting stone and the creek bed. Even now as I read her blog, particularly about her secret place which she's writing about for an upcoming book, I'm reminded that this was a big part of her earlier life when she was attempting to escape the messiness imposed on her.

For some reason I too have felt like something was wrong, though never in the devastating ways L.L. experienced, yet in devastating ways for me. And I've wondered and really surmised that my own messiness and general lack of organization is due to the messiness brought on me which seemed to make a mess inside of me shown by my outward messiness.

Though I have come a long way on that score (and I think I'm good enough to be called "cured" or not far from it though my wife Deb would beg to differ, I'm sure!), I still have some catching up to do since at least I still battle with procrastination. I don't think all messies are victims of others who have their own messiness, messiness passed from one generation to another. Of course in Jesus we want to break that chain and cycle, not passing it on to our progeny. But that can only be realized by the grace found in Jesus.

L.L. reminds us of the Festival of Tabernacles in which an Israelite family would live in a specially built tent or shelter for the occasion, in celebration of God's goodness to them, even in the midst of their journeying in the wilderness, having been victimized by the messiness from Egypt.

This speaks of God's provision for us and is fulfilled in Jesus who came and pitched his tent among us (John 1:14), though not having a home of his own in this world. And how Priscilla and Aquila, who followed Jesus, lived out this faith in the midst of mess from when they along with other Jews were booted out of Rome. Surely they did so because they had found that their true home was found in Jesus wherever they were. So that Priscilla could be a remarkable woman of grace and truth, in Jesus.

I also like the way L.L. brings in the Dr. Seuss character, The Cat in the Hat and "his handy mess-eating machine." L.L. is a lot of fun (Deb and I got to meet her recently for an all too short hour during a busy time for her here), and this chapter is so wonderfully crafted, in an artful, sensitive, tasteful, and edifying manner.

It really makes me think about my own life. How have I dealt with the messiness imposed on me when the "treasures" of my life have been tossed by those who themselves were victims of messiness, as L.L.'s stepfather had been? Of course we all have blame when we pass it on to others, no excuse there. But how do we stop doing that, and so break the chain from continuing on to our own progeny? It must begin with us in Jesus and in our own secret place in him. So that God can work in the messiness imposed on us for good, bringing in his kingdom of righteousness, peace and joy through us to our world.

You must read the chapter for yourself, because though I try to mirror L.L.'s intent here, sharing some of my own experience related to this, the chapter does it so much better as you might expect!

What thoughts do any of you out there have on this?

1. Stepping Stones - conversion
2. Christmas Coal - shame

Next week: chapter 4: "Heron Road - suffering".


NaNcY said...

i also do not like the mess. mess that i have brought on myself or has been brought on by someone else has been able to drive me and can still drive me at times. there have been so many times that i have just wanted to have things neet and clean and tidy. wanting to be done with something or over something. wrapped up tidy with a bow so i could move on. well, i am starting to live with knowing that nothing will ever be perfect and lovely and tidy in life here on this earth. that it will always be one thing or another...or many things that make a mess. so no need to let it drive me crazy or anywhere else. it is really good to know that God is with me throuth it all and in it all. i know that i will always desire what it should have been here...and what i will be in heaven. and i know that God will give me help when i ask, maybe not in the way i expect it, but, maybe something like l.l. had...a smooth warm stone to sit upon in a fresh green forest when i need it the most. enough to get me through what i have to go through and get me to the next place.

L.L. Barkat said...

Nancy, that is a beautiful thing... about the smooth warm stone in the fresh green forest.

Rachel Mc said...

Nancy, I can't say it any better or clearer than you did. Well done.

Ted M. Gossard said...

I so much like your comment and find it helpful myself. I needed to hear that! And well spoken. Thanks.

Ted M. Gossard said...

It's truly fun blogging on your book. And a challenge as I want to reflect well what you wrote in a way that whets people's appetite to read it for themselves. You're a wonderful writer. And it's fun to read from each other and start to get to know each other in this way.

I look forward to your next book!

Ted M. Gossard said...

Thanks for commenting. I really am enjoying rereading this book.

Mark Goodyear said...

I liked the handy-dandy mess eating machine too. I had never thought of the Cat in the Hat as a saving figure before.

Of course, the difference is that he's both trickster and savior. Cleaning up the mess he made. The real savior cleaned up the mess WE made!

Ted M. Gossard said...

True, Mark. Interestingly early Christian theology posited that God in Jesus did indeed fool the devil. But that's been modified now, at least in other takes of the truth of Jesus' victory over the devil in his atoning work.

But yes, that Cat in the Hat dude is quite an interesting character.