Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The Art of Redemption (Slice 20)

I'm glad I don't work the math of the universe. I'm glad I'm not the one keeping accounts or working the books. The times when I think I could run things better, I'm kidding myself.

Because I like things clean. I don't like things unfinished or up in the air. So when I'm feeling like I should go unearth something, I can be almost assured that it's a God thing, because left to my own devices, I'd leave things underground. A funeral plot is pretty neat and tidy until you bring in the backhoe.

But at divine prompting, I did some digging yesterday (no, not Martin--separate and much more involved thing). I don't know what was special about yesterday, and maybe it wasn't anything but the first time God could get my attention about it. But it was enough to make me sit down and write a letter and, furthermore, click send.

It wasn't much, really. Not on the scale of masterful correspondence in the history of the world. It was a simple reestablishment of communication, an unpolluted apology, a wish of wellness, an unassuming sign-off. Nothing much. Pieces of sentences, parts of stories. And I've spent today checking in about every 18 minutes to see if I had a reply.

I spent some time talking with a friend about it tonight, saying that I realized that unearthing the past was often a messy thing. Perhaps, rather than clean forgiveness or cleaner silence, I would be met with expletives and refusals. (This seemed unlikely, but you never know--5 years is a long time for two people to change.) I said that I was prepared to deal with the mess--the I had owned to the making of it, and I would claim it's clean-up as mine, too.

But I returned to find a similarly simple note waiting for me. Pieces of sentences, parts of stories. An acknowledgement and thanks, a summary of life lived in the interim and questions about mine.

And just like that--through the work of plain words--something that was dead lives. It's still too fragile to hold much promise--like signs of life coming from a comatose patient, it's impossible to predict what will change by tomorrow. But what a strange God who pursues us, who is not satisfied with leaving things in death, but weaves our lives in and out and back into other people's, knowing that there is perfection in the mess and beauty in the broken.

I've written this before I've written my reply. Maybe to make it more real, to release poetry before returning to reality. Maybe to prove it happened if renewed life is short. But God is in the art of redemption, not just of souls, but all of our selves, and tonight He's just plain showing off.

1 comment:

  1. Your closing paragraph makes me want to adapt Mario Cuomo's statement on the difference between campaigning and governing: maybe "We reflect in poetry, we email in prose"?