I came so they [you] can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they [you] ever dreamed of. – John 10:10
Today’s post comprises – essentially – two short points:
- Let’s un-mute our experience of this life.
- Let’s un-mute our expression of faith.
ONE: Let’s un-mute our experience of this life!
Whatever is going on in the world – and this past week has provided more than the usual quotient of grim images – grandchildren can always be relied on for a healthy dose of redemptive perspective.
But I’m not talking about sweet, heartwarming, “butterflies, unicorns, rainbows, and puppy-dogs” so much as, “tears, hugs, laughter, anger, smiles, pouting, and joy.” My point being that kids are as real as it gets sometimes, and that means running the gamut of raw emotions, all in real time, with zero prevarication, posturing, pantomime, or pretense.
It’s both exhausting and refreshing, all at the same time.
This is an important concept for me to grasp this week as our church family continues to grapple with the aftermath of this past weekend’s tragic loss (Tragedy. Pain, & the Beauty of Love). We live in a culture where so much of what we could feel is muted – love and joy and sorrow and more – but my grandchildren have not yet had those filters installed and observing them gives me pause.
It’s not only the extremes of reactive emotion we put the brakes on. We draw back in so many aspects – from love, from generosity, from risk, from friendship, from exposure, just to name a few. But I believe it is fear that hems us in the most, and the cost of holding back is often the very thing we held at arm’s length for fear of losing.
It’s a deep irony that our unwillingness to risk exposure in relationships often scuttles the very relationships we were trying to protect. Relationships can survive almost any crisis other than dishonesty.
The grandchildren may wear their hearts on their sleeves, but at least their hearts are wide-open and accessible. Because of that our quick 45-minutes together Wednesday afternoon was rich in every way.
TWO – Let’s un-mute our expression of faith!
The grandchild visit was a brief stop-off on my way to share a few thoughts at Richmond’s Tuckahoe Presbyterian Church, where I’d been invited to be the Wednesday evening “after-dinner” speaker.
I always try to say “yes” to such opportunities, because I love sharing my story and – hopefully – encouraging other people to engage life with the kind of passion and authentic love that following Jesus naturally brings to the surface.
So, now that I think about it, my visit with the Presbyterians was about exactly the same thing as my visit with the children. I just wish I’d paid attention to that fact before I finished talking so that I could have pointed it out!
But that’s really the point of what I had to share with them anyway. I talked about the necessary connection between the actual nitty-gritty of life and my understanding of faith, and what it means to live moment by moment as a disciple of Jesus.
“Don’t hold back!” my grandchildren are saying. “Don’t hold back!” I was saying to the Tuckahoe Presbyterians. “Don’t hold back! Jesus is reminding me, “live like you mean it.”
- “Don’t hold back!” my grandchildren are saying.
- “Don’t hold back!” I was saying to the Tuckahoe Presbyterians.
- “Don’t hold back! Jesus is reminding me, “live like you mean it.”
Live like you mean it. Because – and I’ve said this a number of times before – God most certainly meant (means) something special… significant… spectacular when each one of us was created. No half-measures; not holding back; no wasted time.
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Derek has published seven books in the past decade (you can find them at https://www.amazon.com/Derek-Maul/e/B001JS9WC4), and there’s always something new in the works.
Before becoming a full-time writer, Derek taught public school in Florida for eighteen years, including cutting-edge work with autistic children. He holds bachelor’s degrees in psychology and education from Stetson University and the University of West Florida.
Derek is active in teaching at his church: adult Sunday school, and a men’s Bible study/spiritual formation group. He enjoys the outdoors, traveling, photography, reading, cooking, playing guitar, and golf.