Thursday, September 18

The Seminary Diaries: all I know

Did I tell you about the night my "identity" was stripped away?  About the revelation that if God told me to stop being a counselor, I'd feel real empty and real worthless? I think I did...No, pretty sure I did. At least, in any recollection of the past week, I told you about that.

Well, I also took that dream and realization to my counselor today.  Among others, we talked about what I think my self worth looks like.  This guy is just incredible at making me look into multiple aspects of even the tiniest event, to make me realize there are greater depths to the whole of this world.  So, no surprise here, he helped me see that I take a lot of pride in the things I do and the things I am good at.  Sure, nothing horribly wrong with wanting to do well and strive for greatness, but it's poison when your identity is wrapped up in those things and you believe no one loves you or appreciates you aside from those things.

"So," he says, "let's pretend you have no arms and your legs don't work.  You're a paraplegic.  You also can't speak, or do anything with your hands.  You don't have a job or go to school, you don't have tasks or goals. Who are you?"

He lets me sit and think about that for a minute (which is very hard to do...I dare you to try it).

"But don't use your head," he said, "use your heart.  It's you're heart that God sees and it's your heart that relates to others. So tell me who you are."

I'm already crying.  Actually, I've been crying since he said I didn't have arms or legs, not because I lost my arms and legs, but because there is a very important person in my life who had neither.  He couldn't talk or walk, he didn't have a job or go to school like me and my brother went to school.  He didn't have jobs and tasks and lists.

But, what my brother Adam did have was more soul and love than anyone I've ever known. His eyes were full of caring, full of compassion, and full of life.  Those eyes lit up when I was around.  Adam couldn't speak, but he told me more about this world than any person with words ever will.  His smile told you he loved you and needed you, but never was he selfish.  Adam gave and gave, even though he was the one needing constant care.

So, though I didn't know who that God guy really was in Awana, I experienced Him very young.  I didn't really comprehend who He was in my life or that He was the Creator, but I'll tell you this; I never doubted that God had deep and great love for Adam.  I never once believed that Adam didn't have a purpose.  I always understood that God's love for Adam was deep and wide; it was strong and full.  And Adam did nothing to earn this.

When my counselor asks who knew me best as a child, I tell him Adam.  Adam related to me in a way that no one else ever will, but certainly in a way that has everlasting effects.  He smiled and giggled when I spoke, and I knew he understood me.  When we held hands, I knew he understood me. And though there were never any words exchanged, we had deep, great, conversation that expands across years and realms.

So this is my tribute to you, sweet brother--you taught me everything I know.  You taught me who God was and you taught me how important meaningful relationships are.  Though you weren't the best on the football team, the kid with the highest grades, or the sibling in the family with the best job, you were the brother and sibling with the greatest love and understanding. Even after you've left me for better places, you are teaching me what God's love really is.  It is not conditional on my performance, my abilities, or my accomplishments; it solely depends on the goodness of Him.  You served a million purposes in my life, and a million more I'll never know, but most of all, you gave me the closest glimpse of God I'll ever have this side of heaven.

If I could only be more like you, give as much as you did, or live so fully in God's love and grace...
You gave me the greatest gifts I have and you taught me all I know.

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