My Shoes Are Too Tight
Cards from the Wild Side
I’m not really a greeting card person.
At least I don’t think I am. Even if I was a card person, I couldn’t admit it in public. It's not very manly. Not that I’m saying that I am a card person. I’m not. But the thing is that many others ARE card persons. For them, its a significant act of love to pick out a card and give it. So, I appreciate the fact that they are communicating their honour and care for me in the giving of a card. And, even though I am NOT a card person, I tend to keep cards around for awhile. Just to honour them. Then they gradually migrate to the round file (aka garbage pail, rubbish bin). And that’s the last of them.
I have two cards that I’ve kept for somewhere around a decade. They were given by one of my interns who was a bit of a drama queen. Her head was often in the clouds. She had a big laugh and big hair. And it was often endearing to witness the animation, enthusiasm and commotion that followed in her wake. Over the course of her internship, she gave me these two cards which have stood on my window ledge for nearly a decade.
The first is a black and white picture of a boy and a girl, around ages 6-8. They are rocking wildly on this little oval shaped contraption. It's something like a double rocking horse in which they see-saw back and forth face-to-face with each other. The girl’s hair is streaming out behind her and there is such a look of joy and delight on her face that it makes me want to step into the picture, to soak up every bit of her smile, of her laughter. I look at it and I feel her life and joy slipping into my heart.
The second is a birthday card that says:
I will not stay out late
I will not tear into my gifts
I will not tear into my cake
I will not play air guitar
I will not embarrass my family
I will not tell dumb jokes
I will not have too much fun
I keep this because I want to break all those rules. Despite the fact that this card is a smarmy piece of commercial fluff filled with empty sentimentality, for me it has significance. Deep inside me, there is something that resonates with my soul. Now, a few years past its giving, I realize that I have broken all these “rules”. Some of them with regular frequency.
I DO tell dumb jokes. My kids are disturbed if I dance to a movie soundtrack. I play air guitar in my underwear. (Take that Tom Cruise). Sometimes, my own antics will catch me off guard and I will laugh so hard that my kids get worried I’m having a heart attack. Of course, not many other people find my thoughts or acts very funny. Oh well.
The two cards remind me of a part of me that I once lost. A part of me that is starting to be found. It's the part that got killed by regular injections of responsibility and seriousness, with rules and regulations, with attempts at self-protection.
We, who are spiritual, who lead others, who are concerned about the salvation of the world often get consumed with the seriousness of our business.
With the seriousness of the message.
With the rules and regulations.
With duty and with doing the right thing.
And sometimes we find that our heart no longer responds to the things it once did. Something of life has gone out of us.
This is slow euthanasia induced by regular doses of disapproval. Sometimes we administer this to our own hearts because of our own shame, our own failures, our own too high expectations. Or we wilt under the disapproving gaze of the God that we worship… and fear. It is a God that we cannot see clearly. And, like the Grinch, we find that our hearts have become two sizes too small.
God has taught me, led me, continued to woo me into those moments of release and joy and freedom to be me. And this is one of the messages of the Father Heart.
Our Shoes are Too Tight
Sometimes screenwriters say brilliant lines. And there’s a scene that’s been ringing around in my head for the last few weeks. Probably God speaking to me. But starting last night, it just won’t leave me.
In the scene, there is an ambassador who has a problem: 2 love-struck teenagers are now in his jurisdiction and he has to send them home. They are pledged to be married to others and have run away from their responsibilities. Duty and honour demand that they go back and do what is expected of them. The Ambassador calls up his own experience of “doing the right thing” which was in marrying according to his station in life, rather than for love. But someone strikes to the heart of his own pain and he finds himself remembering the words of his Father in his old age:
“My shoes are too tight. But it doesn’t matter, because I have forgotten how to dance.”
Our life, the demands of our families, church and job sometimes squeeze the life out of us. We forget who we are. We forget who God really is. That he is the God not only of love, but of joy and hilarity - the one who dances and sings over us.
And he is always trying to take our shoes off. To teach us, not only about prophecy and healing and character development. But about air guitar and laughter and poetry and dance. About love. About how to really live.
All we have to do is say “yes.” To learn to feel the grass, to hear his song, to experience the fullness of life with him. We need to let him loosen the laces that have been tied so tight.
A card or two continues to remind me of this.
Even if I’m not a card person.
If you enjoyed this, you might like this: Why Do I Feel So Blah?