Our fantastic custodian, Carl, was coming through getting things arranged and cleaned up and I noticed that he was wearing a Georgia Bulldogs t-shirt. I also am a Georgia fan (but like I said last week, I feel like I’ve tamped down some of my fanaticism controlling my emotions), so I said to him, so are you getting excited about this year? I immediately followed with, I’m holding back. I’ve seen this show before. Too many heartbreaking times.
He smized at me (Smized: smiled with his eyes) and said, “I’m going to go ahead and get excited. And I don’t usually get excited. But I’m going to have fun with this one.”
Not getting too excited, will protect your heart, for sure. Holding things at arm’s length is a wonderful defense mechanism, especially for those (like UGA fans) who have been hurt over and over again. It is a defense mechanism that I turn to often in my own life. It is also a defense mechanism when it comes to a life of faith. You will protect yourself from feeling the lowest of the lows, but you will also restrict yourself from experiencing the highest of the highs.
Like at a high school dance, I always stood against the wall, when what I really wanted to be on the dance floor. I think our church can be the place where the dance happens. It already is in so many ways. We are finding new and creative ways to worship. We are meeting and reaching out to our neighbors whom we have not met before. We are getting to experience things for the first time or what feels like the first time because of such a long break. To quote Carl, let’s have fun with this one. There is so much goodness and joy when we reach out with our hearts. Of course, it is scary, because our hearts are so fragile and could be broken, but the joy and love God promises is too good to hold at arm’s length.
I pray you have known this joy. I pray that you are protected from the pain, but if you haven’t that you have felt redemption of it, in knowing that you are created and guided in love.