“So…Judah was brought to me, warm and toasty from his bed, with a huge poopy diaper. He was SO adorable, I just had to squeeze him and kiss him all over his face before going ahead and changing it. And it made me think…this is how God is with us. We just have to bring our shit to Him, and He will take care of it. He doesn’t care how stinky we are, he just loves us because we are adorable to Him. He doesn’t want you to sit in your shit and get all rashy. He wants to help. Let Him.” ~me, in 2011
When I wrote out this metaphor five years ago, I had no idea that I would need to take my own advice so much in the years to come. I would need to cling to this idea, this thought that god loved me in spite of my stinky status, to trust in the master diaper-changer, and let the shit go. Before those years, I struggled off and on with letting go and letting god but nothing like the challenges that would threaten my very survival on this planet that beset me shortly after writing this glib post on Facebook.
Long story short, I did not take my own advice.
I rejected his ministrations, though they were meant for my good. Instead, I sat in my shit. I got rashy. And the longer I sat, the rashier and more painful my soul became. And then the pain led to rejection and the rejection led to anger and the anger to bitterness.
I felt abandoned by god and by the faith I had so clung to for my entire life.
I wandered, for years, wallowing in stink, thinking it was my lot in life to be an example, a warning, a lesson in what happens when you trust too much. I never saw that I was doing the rejecting, that I was the one clinging to the shit of mistrust and suspicion. I believed there was nothing left for me, that all the good that had happened in my life was done and over. That only the dregs of acrid regret was left for me.
Like a child with poopy pants, I became accustomed to the smell. I hardly even noticed it anymore. But other people could smell it, in my bitter words and angry actions. Like a child with poopy pants, I got used to the feel of shit on me, thought it was my lot in life from hereon out. But the rash got worse and worse–it started to bleed and ooze and get infected and I longed for health again.
I don’t know how he did it, but he broke through. He was relentless in pursuing, like the proverbial hound of heaven, chasing after me, waiting for me to just turn and find him there, arms open wide, party at the ready. He knew I had been wallowing in the muck, but he washed me yet again and made me clean.
The doubts are still there, gnawing at the edges of my mind. They have always been, and they will always be, but I can choose to focus on faith, to trust that those doubts and fears have a place in making me more tolerant, more loving, and more accepting of others. I know I am not perfect, but I am staggering forward, one day at a time, sometimes on my knees in supplication and gratitude.
There is a balm for your rash, and a cleanser for your shit. There is only the wish to make it better. Like a child, we must come and offer ourselves up, trusting in the hands that cradle and soothe.
He is a good, good father. He doesn’t resent your stench, any more than we resent the babies we have for theirs. He only wants to remove it, to apply balm to your sore spots, and to heal you. And the whole time, he is lavishing you with the kisses of sunshine and birdsong and laughter and peace, if only you will allow him.