Friday, November 20, 2009

Accepting Freedom

Instability is immaturity, or so I've heard. I've looked back this week and my immaturity is glaringly obvious. I proclaim total apathy and then the next day am hit with such concern and care that it physically hurts. I suppose there is a part of me that WANTS to not care but the reality is I surely do; I can't help it.

I have heard that community, like family, is sticky. With ups and downs and differences. It's how we learn; how we grow and what keeps it all so very interesting. (though I'm sure I can think of some different, more stronger words to use) I'm not too happy about this often but I see it's value; it's purpose and that it should be celebrated. It's hard to see it in that perspective at the time though!

Last night I stayed up well past midnight creating a slideshow. It was a slideshow that I was asked to help out with but declined; stating that I did not like how my photos turned out. That was partially true; I did not like my photos but another part of me was simply bitterness. I've been harboring up bitterness and unforgiveness for months, thinking I had let it go but the hurt floods back, in great detail alerting me that I'd not forgiven at all.

Yesterday I attended two sessions of the bible study in James my church offers. Why? Because I missed my morning group friends and because one of the girls brought brownies. I love brownies, but more than that, I love my friends. Had a nice time. got a little argumentative on a certain section but was quick to let it go. One thing that did jump out on me during discussion was my friends referenced the passage of Matt 18; the king who canceled the great debt of his servant yet the servant showed no such mercy and compassion to his fellow servant. Basically, how can I not forgive this ever so slight offense and my perception of injustice when Christ has forgiven me so much more! Plus, what does it really say about me and how much I love God if I refuse to forgive, even though I am commanded to forgive; and more than commanded...... simply of love. The love, gratitude and awe of a God that has forgiven me; loves me.

I'm reading an excellent book called Counterfeit Gods by Timothy Keller. I love to quote this guy! Oh, his books really capture my attention. Although in this quote he's referencing the idol of money, I think this is a good thing to keep in mind whenever I feel like choosing what I want over what God wants: "When you see him dying to make you his treasure, that will make him yours." When I realize the cost he bore to grant me forgiveness, how can I in turn not forgive another?

I realized that this was serious. I was allowing it in my life, without even thinking of it's ugliness; that it indeed was sin.

So last night, and I have no idea why I did this but I looked over my photos that I deemed "not good enough" and discovered I loved them; they actually had a beautiful quality to them. Not all, but some. I wondered what they'd all look like if I converted them to black and white. As I looked at the photos, saw the beauty in the people my apathy, resentment, and bitterness began to fade away. People are beautiful; my community is stunning. All of the sudden, as I am working through the photos I just started feeling happy and excited. As I chose which images to put in my project, I just felt myself relax and enjoy. Timothy Keller writes, ".... when you forgive, that means you absorb the loss and the debt. You bear it yourself. All forgiveness, then, is costly."

I finally was ready to forgive; absorb the loss.... ironically in doing so, with each photo I turned to black and white, I began feeling lighter and lighter. Joy. Happiness. Delight in working on my little project. It was not for any specific project; this was just in a way therapy; with each image I played with, chose, I felt a release. This was my tangible representation of surrender; of letting go and absorbing the cost of forgiveness yet it did not feel like a grudging burden; it felt light and free.

So, I turned my photos to black and white, looked at them, liked them and then decided to put it to music. But what music? Such a hard decision. I wanted something unknown; something that was new yet "fit" in the feel and spirit of my photos. I finally chose one, organized my photos loosely around it, cut it down to a very short clip and burned a CD. I did not go to bed until after 1:30 am yet it was so worth it. This was my sacrifice of forgiveness. My peace offering. My letting go and a reminder that I let my unforgiveness and bitterness go.

Before I went to bed I played my DVD one last time and it made me so happy. This was made for me; it meant something special to me. It far surpassed just the images and song; this was my heart as well as my art. This was ME. Not a typical slideshow but this was the type of slideshow I enjoyed creating. This was done to represent forgiveness but it was also done purely for me. I did decide to offer it to share; and in doing so I felt a bit of a risk. I felt exposed. Oftentimes in my photography I create things for someone else and not always happy with the results. This project was purely for me and what I liked, so it was a bit risky. To not like my creation was in a very real way to not like me. I know I shouldn't make things so personal but that is just how I felt; this DVD was an extension of me...... and though it was scary it also felt good, and I wanted to share my art. I wanted to share a part of me. A better me; a me that felt happy and free from the bitterness.

I'm sure I'll still have to remind myself of my decision and commitment to forgive; I'm sure there'll be other things that come up that I feel slighted, but now I have a visual and a song. Just a powerful reminder that I have been forgiven much. If I fully understand the gospel, then I will find myself with unlimited forgiveness, generosity and love.

1 comment:

  1. Will I get to see the photos? And the song and everything?