Monday, February 24, 2014

The Dear Hunter and Leaking Cisterns

Yesterday I drove to Mass in heavy fog. At times I could only see maybe 20 yards ahead of me. My drive was became an allegory of the life of faith. I kept driving because I knew that even though I couldn't see the way, the highway was still there before me and would lead and guide me as long as I kept forward momentum. I suppose its the same way in my walk with God. I pray every day for God to guide me in His will for my life, and don't let me stray even though I can be a stupid sheep seeking daisies and dandelions a little too far from the path. It drives me crazy that I don't know what God's ultimate plan for me will be. I sometimes wish that He would just tell it to me straight, lay it all out, let me see the game plan. Again and again I am reduced to walking along in the fog not knowing ultimately where I'm headed, but trusting that God's way is better than mine anyway.

When I first started looking in to Christianity I went through a Protestant study guide, He Speaks To Me by Priscilla Shirer. I don't remember an awful lot of the guide, but I discovered a Scripture verse inside which stuck like a barb in my skin and has maybe become a lamp in my life.
Two evils have my people done: 
they have forsaken me, the source of living waters;
They have dug for themselves cisterns, 
broken cisterns, that hold no water. Jeremiah 2:13 (NAB)
After reading this verse, the lyrics from my favorite song at the time jumped out and slapped me in the face.

"The pail has leaks and even if
you put all your water into it
you end up with nothing left to drink
the well has gone dry and I with it"
-The Dear Hunter, "His Hands Matched His Tongue"

Every time I hear this song those words from Jeremiah grip me and give me a little shake. When I make and follow my own plans it's as if I've built a leaking cistern. I pour all of my energies, my heart and soul into something which does not have the ability to satisfy me and which might not even work out. It seems as though my leaking cistern was my plan to become a librarian. I got the right degree. I worked in a library, getting experience even in areas outside my comfort zone. I kept applying for jobs and being rejected. I encountered one closed door after another. I found myself one night sitting on a bench in the prayer garden of St. Louis Catholic Church crying and asking the God who I was only just then being acquainted with, why I was such a failure and why I seemed incapable of moving forward and why He created such a worthless being. I had to eventually admit that my plans were dry and cracking things, better to abandon than to patch again and again.

When I quit the library shortly before having my baby, another Dear Hunter song seemed to perfectly express my position.

"Amongst the stone and smoke
Rising above it all
Broken, but not beyond repair
See how this soul fairs
From after all this suffering
I could lie here for good
But with a mind on fire
I try and stand my ground
Illuminate and I will follow
 -The Dear Hunter, "Saved"

 After I quit the library, I felt like I could be a real person again. A person whose life mattered. I was broken, but not beyond repair. Once again I find myself in an odd place. I thought I had an idea where He was sending me, but today I am not so sure. All I do is take one step after another into the fog and trust in His abiding goodness. Trust that He knows me better than I know me. Trust that once again His plans will be so much better than any I could dream up.

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