There is only one rule of any real value, and it is this: That one must first demonstrate mastery of a rule before one may earn the right to break it.
The inventory continues. Change is afoot, and these are truths about who I am and what my life needs to look like:
- First and foremost, right now, I need to live a life that values acted-out love above further learning
- I need to continue a life of spaciousness, leaving time for both God and people
- I need to live a life that gets me outdoors, often and meaningfully, so that I do not seek refuge in dreams
- I need to live a life that looks a lot more like a Spartan ten-foot-square room than a house full of stuff I rarely use, and wouldn’t care if I never saw again; I need to further reject materialism
- I need to live a life that looks more and more like a servant than like a wage-earner
- NEW TODAY: I am a survivor. I fear pain less than I fear not doing what is right. This is a fact.
- NEW TODAY: I am powerfully attuned to what God is doing in this world, and in my life. I may forget this from time to time, but it is nonetheless true.
- NEW TODAY: While the storm rages, Jesus is comfortably asleep in the back of the boat. (For you rafters out there, that’s “on the Princess Pad.”) And I’m good with that. The thought makes me smile.
I almost hyperventilated while reading Deep Survival this morning, much as I did while watching Wonderstruck on March 12. (That’s a story I still need to document! Fascinating that I have not yet done that.)
Because of my guilt over returning Grynne & Bearrett to Meow later today, I deliberately set aside extra quiet time to be together with them one last time… even planning the timing so that the 9:30 AM UPS delivery schedule wouldn’t disturb our time together.
In an odd choice, I decided to include Deep Survival in my quiet time reading this morning. I don’t know why. I guess because I was including “more time.” So even though that’s been my night-time reading the last few weeks, and I hadn’t done any in days, I picked it up on the way to the recliner.
First, I settled in with the girls. Then I napped, for a good long time. Then I read Romans 15, about how confident Paul is in his readers’ ability to listen to God. Then I read James 5, about the letting go of possessions and about the need to be patient with what seeds have been sown. Then I read another chapter in As We Forgive Those about being freed from tremendous burdens that we were never meant to carry.
Then I settled in to read what turned out to be the final chapter of Deep Survival, though I had no idea that was the case at the time. (The book concludes with a lengthy Appendix, so I thought I had several chapters left, which was not the case. This is sooooo much like what happened with The Detectorists in March… but that’s also another story.)
About the time I got the sense that this WAS the final chapter, and that there were only a few pages left, G&B’s ears perked up. The UPS van had arrived. But they did not leap down. And John, for whatever reason, did not yet come to the door. I guess he was getting his load organized.
The three of us were left alone to finish the chapter together. John did not come to the door until my breath had been taken away, until the crux of the conclusion had been passed—and I knew that God had spoken to me yet again with profound clarity.
I could quote endlessly from the final pages of that final chapter. But how I FELT about it, what it MEANT to me, is summed up by this: “Survival in the moment, or over hours or days or months, whether that survival comes about by chance or effort or an inexplicable combination, must be followed once more by the same struggle that led to that point.” Speaking of his father, the author concludes, “Catastrophe had not broken him. … Adversity annealed him. It gave him endless energy. He taught me the first rule of survival: to believe that anything is possible.”
Yeah. Struggle does follow survival. And I’m in. I’m in, baby. You better believe it.
I am not really sure I’ve mastered my own First Rule, stated above, but I saw more clearly than I thought this truth on Sunday, when I journaled that the Realm of Life
…is an unpredictable adventure
Of moments stolen and found
Of grafittied hearts in a river’s midst
Of cormorants preening in the sun
Of plant profiles mingled with martyr’s tales
Of Waldo, located quite finally
In a Mount Vernon dumpster.
It is the open road traveled
With an open mind
And open eyes.