expose the monsters

I lived three whole days yesterday, three separate and beautiful days packed gently into one late winter weekend Saturday. It started with an introduction to the best new neighborhood coffee shop and then an early meet up at the Hilton in Manhattan, included a walk across the Brooklyn Bridge, a good sit by the river, a ferry ride back up to Midtown, laundry with the roommate, my first Prospect Park rollerblade, and it all ended with good, solid conversation.

Packed to perfection like brown sugar, I’d say.

The people in my apartment building probably think we’re crazy for rollerblading in the lobby, but I think they probably have amused conversations about it later (I take that as an “everybody wins” scenario).

The air is colder, but the sun is still shining over the little Brooklyn buildings out my window and I can feel the newness of today. I love the Sabbath because it pulls my heart like a magnet toward restful, quiet, deeper things. I resist often, but the morning is always the best time to get myself in the right current.

This is the second Sunday of Lent and I am meeting my monsters. You know the ones, right? The greedy monsters that hide in your gut or your mind or your wallet, growling to get filled on things that don’t last. I am meeting my monsters as I fast and as I feast these forty days. Honest? I want to give up and give in (and I have here and there).

I didn’t even do anything drastic, I am just that weak!

Getting empty like Jesus in the wilderness is not just a mental battle of self-control. Getting empty is asking Jesus with the rich, young ruler to examine my heart and then matching his loving gaze. I don’t know how many times I’ve read this passage and missed the way Jesus looked at this man before responding, “You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” (Mark 10:21)

Jesus saw through all the ways this man had been filled by the world and then he looked at him and loved him (v. 21). With tender love and compassion, Jesus invited the man into emptiness so that he could be full to overflowing. It doesn’t make sense to explain and it didn’t make sense to the man who walked away with sadness like a garment.

Jesus wants to draw us inside this miracle of empty abundance. He wants us to expose the monsters hiding out in our hearts and feeding on all that is unlovely, because those things do not fill. Jesus is inviting us to get empty so that we can be full of a love that doesn’t rust or run out.

It sounds like a fairy tale and it isn’t in real life.

In real life it is hard, but very good and very right. In real life it is the current I want to get inside on this Sabbath Sunday. Join me?

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