I'm mad. No, I'm ticked. No, I'll take it one step further. I'm livid. The funny thing is, I've had things stolen from me before and I was somehow able to take it in stride. Forgive. Figured the thief needed it more than I did. But this. This is unforgivable.
We sat there over dinner at the homey little pizzeria. We talked bolognese sauce, spices, and the perfect wine accompaniment. We talked laundry -- the specifics of sorting. We talked... girl talk. But this chatting... the pit in my stomach... I had to ask...
"What are your dreams?" The eye contact in the silence. "You know, your purpose... what makes your heart beat fast." Uncomfortable giggles. A mocking remark. I pressed on. "What are you passionate about?"
The conversation turned down that ugly road, the one that causes my face to feel hot, my fists to clench. "My background is such that I learned it's better not to have dreams. It's better not to have to face the disappointment."
My heart began beating a little quicker. Angry emotions surged in the silent moment and I thought I could hear the rhythmic, high-pitched bleep-beep-bleep of the heart monitor suddenly steady to the monotone flatline. Panic. A deep breathe.
"Just like that?" I asked them, my gaze meeting their's. "You're going to let your past dictate whether you have hopes and dreams, whether you live passionately?" I felt my heart beating to the surface of my frayed sweatshirt. "You're just going to let the enemy, life, circumstances rob you of your dreams, your passion, your willingness to take risks?" My own fears threatened to wash over me, pummel me to the swirling earth, and sweep me out in their undertow. These fears that constantly, cleverly, find their way in, disguised, until I sell out, give up, agree with them. I stood up and pushed my chair back, stepped up on it.
"It is not okay to live a passionless life!" I punctuated the air with my fist. From the corner of my eye I saw the patrons that filled the small room glance over, the table full of military airmen pause momentarily in their conversation. I sat back down, but then pounded on the table as I finished my monologue.
This warring between good and evil, light and dark, victorious and defeated. So many thoughts. My girlfriends bantered back and forth about the subject. Defeated. The decision that things felt comfortable in their present state. After all...
I suggested if they didn't know where to start dreaming again, perhaps they could start with a gratitude list. "What if you thought of 10 things you were grateful for every day?" More lighthearted teasing. I refused to be daunted. I opened my purse and took out my new notepad, the one with passionate brown and pink polka-dots on it. I scribbled one of their names at the top and then waited. The list flowed... simply... effortlessly. She had it all in there... after all. I wrote quickly and then wrote a new page for the other gals, too.
Pleased, I tucked the notebook back into my purse, determined to write each of them a note later in the week, reiterating that God didn't create us and then forget about us. I'm so sick and tired of that Conniving Complacency. The one that deceives me and the people I love into believing that mere survival is the only essential. That celebration, life, hope... passion is too indulgent.
The Creator of the entire universe and all that is in it, came in the form of a man, lived among us, and then allowed Himself to be beaten, spat on, taunted, accused... crucified. To take on the weight of the world, the evil... my self-centeredness, arrogance, self-righteousness... my fears... the sins... all because He is just that passionate... about people. About... me.
"The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." (John 10:10)
How many, many times I've given in to the "thief"... my hope, joy, my passion to be stolen, killed, destroyed in exchange for survival and poverty mentality... succumbing to self-pity. How many countless times God has shown up, faithful, healing, restoring my life, my passion.
Lord, help me fight. Forgive me for succumbing to self-absorbed complacencies that provide opportunities for the thief to creep in and steal my joy, peace, and hope... my ability to make the ultimate surrender to Your dreams and plans for my life. I long to press in to You. To learn Your passion. Absorb it. Live it. Thank You for Your extravagant, passionate love.