This is how I have felt about myself and my life, for a lot of my life, especially recently. I have been perishing and in a state of mental, emotional, and spiritual decay. I’ve been smelling up my life with self-contained stinkin’ thinkin’. That’s part of the story at least.
The bible says in John 15 that Jesus is the vine and I am the branch and that by staying connected to him, I can live a fruitful life, loving the people in the world around me. If I lose that connection then I can’t do anything else. Wow, what a statement.
In the past, I’ve read that as an almost condemning statement. It’s my responsibility to stay connected to the source of life so that I can live a loving and powerful life. Most of the time, I have fully believed that and as a result have felt as though I was less than and at fault for not living a happier, better adjusted life, with easier and fulfilling relationships with other people in my life.
Here’s the thing though. Branches and fruit don’t decide for themselves that they are going to break off, fall down, and perish. Neither did I.
Ecclesiastes tells us that there is a time for everything. Phillipians says I can do all things through him who gives me power.
Romans 8:37-39; Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)
37 No, in all these things we are superconquerors, through the one who has loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor other heavenly rulers, neither what exists nor what is coming, 39 neither powers above nor powers below, nor any other created thing will be able to separate us from the love of God which comes to us through the Messiah Yeshua, our Lord.
This changes the filter that I can see myself and my life through.
What if I’ve never actually been disconnected, unplugged, static, and powerless? What if these were just illusory lies my internal demons were trying to convince me of? What if these were JUST. NOT. TRUE.?
The source of life has always been connected and at work in me and in my life. Otherwise, I wouldn’t be here today.
The fruit of my life is this: Regardless of the estrangement and difficulties that exist in my personal relationship with my son, he is actively pursuing a flourishing life of connected intentionality with his future wife, has had his life grafted into the lives of an emotionally and spiritually richer family. Obviously, he is the one making these choices and decisions to act on these opportunities, but it was my love for him that pursued and bridged these opportunities and enabled me to let go when I knew it would be better for him. It is my love and determination to work through and overcome our negative history and my difficulties that keeps me available and open toward him and the hope that our relationship can be reconciled and strengthened in the future. If I was completely disconnected from the source of life and love, I would have completely given up hope and stopped trying with my son a long time ago. The same is true of my relationship with my oldest daughter and my relationship with Jerry.
If the connection was as completely severed as I had believed, I would not have been fighting so hard to keep my head above the tumultuous waters of the depression, anxiety, pain, and fatigue for as long as I have. I would not have the connection and bond with Luna that I do have or be able to respond to her laughter and her cries in constructive and appropriate ways.
If it were true that I am without strength and power, then I would not have been able to think and act in proactive and meaningful ways to access the services and supports that our family needs and I would not have been capable of interacting with people on any level, virtual or real. I would not have been able to write, read, contemplate, and respond in ways that have been life giving to myself or others.
Yet I have done all of these things, in the midst of what I have falsely believed to be a debilitating deficit of character, energy, and internal reserves.
In the midst of what I have believed to be a perishing life, my life has been growing as a life that matters and I’m just beginning to see it and reconnect to that truth.