Piglet Meets Joshua and God…But No Hittites

PigletAlan Alexander Milne understood people very well—I think. He died in 1956, two years before I was born. But the Winnie-the-Pooh stories and characters are still one of my favorites. C.S. Lewis said,  “A children’s story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children’s story in the slightest.” So true. I just finished reading A Wrinkle in Time for the four millionth time—still love it. Just like Miss L’Engle, A.A. Milne created characters with which we can all identify– even though they are animals.

For example, I closely identify with Piglet. He’s a bit insecure, kind, accepting, but tremulous about the world at large. He likes friends like Winnie-the-Pooh because WTP is kindhearted and a bit unsophisticated about the world, but willing to brave bees for what he loves: honey. He also likes having Tigger around, though Tigger is quite dangerous. He helps Piglet become a bit more adventurous. I think he is glad that Owl is around because Owl is the voice of pragmatism. I’m very like Piglet. I even have friends that are combinations of Pooh, Tigger, and Owl: sassy, kind, and brave. I need to be around brave people because I’m a bundle of fear.

 

What in the world are you so afraid of, Cindy Lou? (And yes, I am a Cindy Lou.) Shall we make a list? (These are in random order—I’m nervous about chronology because I could place something in the wrong order and have to rethink the whole list.)

  1. Fleas
  2. Tornado warnings
  3. Walmart
  4. Driving to strange places by myself.
  5. Failure
  6. Big dogs unless they are very furry.
  7. Live fish.
  8. Knives in the hands of killers (haven’t met any but the thought terrifies me)
  9. Failure
  10. Dying
  11. Phone calls (everyone texts me these days—if the phone rings then something bad or upsetting has probably happened and then I’ll worry and be afraid for the person who calls—usually one of my grown children)
  12. Filling out financial forms
  13. Gluten
  14. Waking up in the morning unsure if my body is going to be sick all day (thus going gluten-free)
  15. Family members dying. Sure we all will have to do it, but nonetheless, it’s hard. It’s scary. It’s grief. Soul-numbing grief.
  16. Tyrannosaurus Rex—what if we COULD use dinosaur DNA and make a T-Rex?
  17. Drones. I don’t want to hear drones instead of birds during my morning walks. No drones.
  18. Snakes, of course.
  19. Swimming in the ocean because there is no bottom. No there’s not. Really.
  20. Growing old and getting dementia and barking at my grandkids.
  21. Trailer houses.
  22. Moving to a new place at 56 years old
  23. Failing to make an A in every one of my remaining five Master’s classes. (Currently 4.0 after five).
  24. Disappointing my parents and my children.
  25. Disappointing my hubster.
  26. Disappointing my new pug puppy that I pick up on Wednesday. Her name is Zoey with one “o” though I love Zooey Dechanel. She’s more of a single “o” type of pug.
  27. Falling in public. I do that periodically. Last time was in Seattle right on the main drag by Pikes Place Market. There was a stumble (I was looking up at the sky as I’m prone to do), then a moment of panic, then acceptance as I hit the gravel with bare knees and naked hands. People stopped to see if I was ok. Hubster grabbed hold of my arm and didn’t let go for several hours.
  28. Confrontation. I am not smart enough about politics to debate policy. I don’t want to be put in a position to defend myself because I don’t know why I can’t just have an opinion without people confronting it. Thus Facebook is scary.
  29. Buzzfeed tests on Facebook. The Moose is my spirit animal? Really? I mean, I don’t believe in spirit animals and I’m part Cherokee so that should be right up my Native American alley.
  30. God. Or lack there of. Wait. I’m a Christ-follower so that isn’t a good thing to throw out into the world. Ok. I’m 99.9% sure that God exists and that Jesus was his only son and that Heaven exists. I’m banking my life on it. Really. If I live my whole life serving Jesus and living as He tells me to in His Bible and then I die and there’s nothing—I’m ok with that. It’s been worth it.

 

Ah oh! #30 caught the eye of God. There will be a discussion over this. After all, I just finished listening to Rick McKinley from Imago Dei in Portland during my morning ramble (they have an app for that!), and he was discussion Joshua and the whole “be bold and courageous” repetition. As a “Piglet” this is not my strong suit.

God: Cindy Lou, so you are only 99.9% sure that I know you and you know me?

Me: Maybe. . . I mean if we were actually having this conversation out loud with you sitting in the chair next to my computer, then maybe I’d be 100% sure.

God: I get that. In fact, I get that a lot. Have been getting that a lot for quite awhile. Nothing new under the sun as Solomon so beautifully expressed.

Me: I’m sorry. Humans aren’t good at the whole faith thing. Did you know they made a movie about Noah? Oh wait, you’re omniscient. That’s another thing I have a hard time with.

God: Yes, I saw them working on Noah. I’ve seen the film. They left me out. Good entertainment as long as you don’t think it’s actually what happened. Hollywood. Charlton Heston as Moses? Couldn’t they at least find a Jew? Oi vey.

Me: Now about this bold and courageous thing. You know I’m a Piglet, right?

God: I’ve known you before you were born. I saw you in your mother Lois’s womb. I saw you born, and I can see when you die. I can see all the places and spaces in between.

Me: Oh. So you know about…

God: Yep.

Me: And the other time. . .

God: Cindy Lou—I know you. I know your failures and your successes. I know your heart and your mind. I understand what makes you tick. I’ve got you. Do you hear me? I’ve. Got. You. And you are fully forgiven and fully loved and fully mine.

Me: I heard you that time, Lord. I heard you in the whispering birds and moving trees. I see you in the blossoming life and dark clouds. I hear you repeated in songs by Audrey Assad and through the words of others who love you. But…

God: No buts. Cindy Lou—be bold and courageous.

Me: I don’t have any Hittites surrounding me. Just life.

God: You do though. Every time you are confronted with something from your culture that goes against my Word and you reject it as truth or you turn off the television or refuse to conform to trendy morals, you are fighting the Hittites. You are being bold and courageous.

Me: I need a tee shirt that says “I fight Hittites in my sleep.”

God: How about just relaxing and trusting me…even when you’re nauseous and you don’t know why. Even when your body is swollen and throbbing with inflammation. Even when you don’t know what you’ll be doing in two years or tomorrow. Even then. Be strong, bold, courageous and walk.

Me: I’ll try. I really will. But I’ll fail.

God: Hey, it’s ok. Remember Paul—everyone has sinned—failed to live up to my desires for them—fallen short of my glory. But I’m a pretty compassionate God. Very patient. Long-suffering. Merciful. And righteous.

Me: That’s a bit scary. The righteous bit.

God: Don’t be afraid, Piglet. I’ve got your back.

Me: Resurrection, right?

God: Resurrection. It’s coming—and I don’t mean on ABC.

Me: Ok. 100%. I’m sure of you 100%. I’ll try to live like it. I will.

God: I know. I love you. I love you more than the moon and stars and the mountains—some of my best work. You are my best work.

Ok, so that’s a silly conversation, but it’s real. It’s based on my own fears and God’s truth. As Lent climbs towards Resurrection, I will meditate on Joshua 1:6-9. I will walk in 100% certainty of God’s existence and covenants. He has never broken His word. Ever. It’s not in His nature.

 

 

 

…IN WHICH I CONCLUDE THAT THERE IS NO SAFETY NET

Image
Forget the Disney image–E.H. Shepard’s capture A.A. Milne’s story so much better. Timeless.

To quote my philosopher of choice, Winnie the Pooh: “I’m not lost for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” 

 To quote my spiritual mentor of choice, C.S. Lewis: “Aren’t all these notes the senseless writings of a man who won’t accept the fact that there is nothing we can do with suffering except to suffer it?”

 To quote the source that guides my life, the Bible: “Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you.” 1 Peter 4:12

 Another one from the Bible–this time from James (one of Jesus’ younger brothers…same mama; different papa): “Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors.” James 1:2 (The Message)

The writing…

Ahh, you say to yourself. She’s going to go all whiney-butt on us and then talk about how suffering is a good thing…and… you’d be wrong. Suffering is an ever-present part of life. Few of us escape it. Some have more than their share.

I live close to a hospital. There is a brand new children’s hospital connected to it and a Ronald McDonald House near by. They act as reminders to pray–reminders that there is suffering far greater than I can fathom.

A personal pet peeve that I believe Jesus would agree with me on: The brand of Christianity that denies suffering and instead insists that healing is available for the asking. The one that says, “Follow Jesus and life will be easy and you’ll get rich because he wants you to prosper and you’ll never be sick because he wants to heal you!” (Take my word for it: these are out of context!!)

Case in point…or cases in point: The disciples. None were rich and drove the most pimped out camel in Asia Minor. None wore a lot of bling or anything made by a Jewish Versace. They lived dependent on the kindness of strangers who were also believers. They made their way (like Paul) practicing a trade. They spent lots of time in prison under the oppressive and really nasty Roman Empire. And most were martyred–except for John who was exiled to the island of Patmos.

ImageConclusion: Why am I surprised by what I am going through? Even though there is no “safety net” of protection, there is this assurance: “Abide (remain) in me, and I will abide (remain) in you…as the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now ABIDE in my love.” Jesus, John 15

For the third time this week, I’ve written the word “abide” on the inside of my left wrist as a reminder.

A MUCH NEEDED CHANGE OF SUBJECT:

Sounds I love:

  • The gentle creaking of 60-year-old hardwood floors when I prowl through the house at midnight.
  • The cooing of mourning doves.
  • Children’s voices playing outside.
  • Lawnmowers on Saturday afternoon
  • The scratch of a new pen hitting a new journal.
  • Typewriter keys (Apple should create a typewriter sound option for my Mac keyboard)
  • And my favorite…the deep, rolling belly laugh of my 9 month old grandson, Sawyer.

A BOOK I AM ENJOYING: 

Mudhouse Sabbath by Lauren F. Skinner — I read her first one, Girl Meets God, and was Imagehooked. Skinner grew up “at a synagogue in a small college town in Virginia.” She goes to college in NYC and converts to Christianity. Her books are clever, witty, but loaded with mature observations about faith and its practices in the United States.

This is a tiny, precious book that I got from the library and have now ordered (used copy, of course!) for my personal library. My fingers are itching to annotate!

Grace and peace to you, Cindy

What are your favorite sounds? Books? Winnie-the-Pooh quotes? C.S. Lewis quotes? Verses to sustain you?