It really is…10 after 5 in the morning. I woke up, so got up. Mainly because the coffee was already perked. I could smell it. May God richly bless the inventor of the plug-in timer, that allows me to load up the pot at night and set it, and wake up to a hot pot of coffee without any effort in the morning, save pouring it into the cup.
It is a convenient world, isn’t it. I told someone my household staff were Kenmore, Fridgidair, and Jenn-Air, with apart-timers named KitchenAid (tho that one’s full time during the Holidays) I’ve got an in-house DJ named Pandora, and a Swedish embroidery professional with the interesting name of Husqvarna. Only thing I don’t have (yet) is a self-cleaning toilet (I hear those exist now) nor floors that do themselves (I’ve heard of Roombas but I’m pretty sure the cats would leave if I got one, and I like my cats).
And yet, with all the conveniences in the world, there’s still heartache, and hardships (relatively speaking, honestly. I don’t know real hardship and I recognize that). People still act stupidly, or cruelly, or thoughtlessly. *I* still act those ways sometimes (oftentimes, if I’m going to be honest). In the dark hours of the early morning, when it’s quiet and I’ve read the day’s Spurgeon, it’s easier to be completely honest with myself, and there’s parts I like and parts I don’t.
Does your brain ever happily list out every infraction, every thoughtless deed or cruel remark, you’ve ever made/done since…I don’t know…(when was my first memory? 2-1/2?)? Does it do it at the times when you’re most vulnerable, when there’s no other distraction like the ringing timer or a dog wiffling for a biscuit or a list needing to be made? Mine does, because my brain’s a jerk and thinks 4am is the best time to convict me of all my sins and misdeeds. And for some reason, Dark o’clock makes all those transgressions bigger than they are in the light of day. So which one is The Reality- the dark perception or the one in the light, when you’re all distracted by dogs and timers?
Someti…ok often…like just about ALL THE TIME, when I’ve had a Dark:30 morning of laying there with my Judgmental Brain reminding me of exactly how I’ve failed. I’ll get up with a flurry of Good Deeds trying to make up for the time I was rude to that kid in the 7th grade (as if I’ll ever make up for that- I was pretty much rude to every single person I met). Thing is, it’s not possible to make up for all that. First of all, just as I can list out how the rude things people said to me affected my life, it’s probable that my thoughtless and rude comments affected them, and it upsets me to think I affected someone as much as they, with their rude and thoughtless remarks, affected me. I can’t change what they did, and likely they don’t even remember it. Kids are kids, and as such, tend to be…y’know…rude and thoughtless.
And it’s not possible to atone for everything we’ve done. We just can’t If we try, as soon as we attempt to make up for one thing, we’ve probably done 2 more. Often we aren’t even aware of it. I know I’m not. I’ll say something, then 2 days later realize what I said and be ashamed of myself.So I won’t do/say that specific thing again, but in the process of not doing those things come up with even more creative ways of being hurtful and offensive. We humans are phenomenally capable of more and more creative ways of being awful. Have you ever noticed that? Not only in the really big ways like war and poisonous gas and starving people, but in little ways, saying gossipy stuff or pointing out someone’s weaknesses (of which they are aware and it hurts to have them noticed) or snubbing someone who’s “beneath you”. These are like tiny needles into a person, each one a little bit poisonous, not enough to kill, but collectively…could. Watch your tongue, that’s what I say. I have to say it to myself all the time.
Fortunately atonement has been dealt with. We don’t have to go to the temple and sacrifice an animal (size based on what we can afford and the amount of transgression) anymore. We don’t have to find a perfect and flawless creature (because a dove with a wart won’t do), make the trip, stand in line, and hope for the best. That’s already been handled for us. What a relief! See, 2000+-ish years ago. God decided to handle that for us, because we’d managed to make a complete mess of it, even though He gave us a set of laws, that if followed, meant humanity treated each other well. Basic stuff like “Worship me as the only God, respect your parents, don’t steal or cheat on your spouse, don’t murder anyone” and so on. Pretty simple stuff but apparently impossible for us to actually follow accurately. So, He said OK fine, here…I’ll come down there as a man, live amongst you and be perfect, then *I* will sacrifice myself so you can stop with the silly animals because obviously that isn’t working. He said “I love all y’all, so believe in me and you’ll live” (John 3:16) and He said it wouldn’t be easy because most folks don’t like it when someone makes them look bad by being good (Matthew 5:11…but read the whole thing, it’s called The Sermon on the Mount, and Jesus pretty much lays it all out there). Honestly, if you’re wondering what all I’m talking about, read the whole Gospels starting with Matthew and going through John. The basics of it boil down to God loves us so much he was willing to die as the Final Sacrifice, perfect and holy, because only that would do. A normal man wasn’t going to be good enough, just as a normal animal wasn’t good enough in the old system.
So, even though my brain is a jerk and reminds me of that time I pulled Joyce’s hair in the 2nd grade (she had long perfect curls and was a real snot about it, but that didn’t make pulling her hair right), among other things, my other brain reminds me I’m loved, as is everyone else. And that’s a real relief…