About one month between entries - I'll have to work on that! My time in Belton has been wonderful so far. During my drive from Dallas to the thriving metropolis of Belton, TX, I remember feeling a mysterious sense that I am exactly where I ought to be this summer. That feeling hasn't left. I was surprised, however, that my year-long "funk" did not just suddenly disappear with a change of activity and scenery. I'm not sure why I expected to suddenly transform; most changes in my life are extremely gradual. For a while, I felt like I should apologize to my new friends at Belton C of C because they're meeting me at an awkward phase of my life. However, my dear friend Amber Joy recently reminded me that this "funk" has another, more positive name: growth. As uncomfortable as it might feel right now, I believe that God is using this transition to transform me more into the image of Jesus Christ. It's a holy "funk."
Today I was watching a show on the National Geographic channel, "In the Womb," which is, not surprisingly, about pregnancy and how a child develops from conception to birth. Over and over, I was mystified by this miracle called life. Science has explained a lot of events for us, but knowing "how it works" doesn't erase the awe of watching life emerge. The whole process - conception, cells dividing and differentiating, the heart beginning to beat, the lungs forming - leaves me breathless and amazed that life begins at all.
I can hear David's words of praise echoing loudly in my ears, "...You knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you for I am fearfully and wonderfully made" (Ps. 139). Never before had these words seemed so poignant and penetrating. (I'd often heard them used to defend pro-life arguments, which is fine I guess, but God forbid that we hear these words and think only of polemics!) My Old Testament professor spoke at length about God's continuing action in creating the world. He vividly spoke of God causing the rain to fall and dormant seeds to send out shoots. Today I more fully understand what he means. As I watched a non-descript cell jump into motion as the first heartbeat, and other cells catch the beat and begin to dance along - naturally, as if they were waiting for just the right moment to start (and they were) - I knew in my mind and heart that God does indeed have his fingers all over this amazing thing called life. To think that watching the National Geographic channel was a worshipful experience waiting to happen.
Another thing struck me today as a result of watching "In the Womb." Many features develop in the womb that have no reason for being there. Lungs, for example, are not used until after birth - they are filled with liquid until birth. There is no light to see by, yet babies' eyes fully develop complete with eyelids, blinking blindly in the womb (which helps the child develop the blink reflex). Everything seems to happen spontaneously for no reason... except that if it didn't happen in just the right way at just the right time life would fizzle as quickly as it began. Some things in life don't make sense at the time - they seem superfluous and meaningless. Yet perhaps those things are the very assets we need to make it through the next phase of life. We are truly, at every point of existence, not human beings but "human becomings." What we are today is not what we will be, but the seeds for the future have been planted, and I am convinced that God makes them grow.
This awkward phase that I'm in has elements that I cannot understand. There have been good parts to be sure, but much more that has been painful, uncomfortable, and disturbing. A lot like spiritual birth pains. I have to admit that a part of me still wishes that the earlier phase was not fading and giving way to the unknown. But I'm a person called to live by faith - and today that faith tells me that the God who knitted me together in my mother's womb is not done with me. I am a "human becoming," whom God is transforming into what he meant me to be from the beginning when my cells first began to divide (maybe before?). Sense will come later. Now is the time to walk steadfastly in faith and follow my Lord.