Journeys & Writings of Paul

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

On receiving

It is better to give than to receive, they say.

It is better to know when to receive instead of give, I might add.

This summer has been a healing time for me. I am surrounded by a community of givers where I do not feel ashamed to be a receiver - and often. Currently I am in a position where I need to take a little more than I give. I generally find that giving is a way to receive, but at the moment I am so thankful to be surrounded by generous people that I am able to take. And take. And take some more.

Being needy is not something that I enjoy, but I think it is definitely a theme in this season I am in. Not just needy, but desperate. Raw. The kind of needy that you cannot hide; I fear that people can see through my facade, see the tears that are ready to be shed at any moment. I’m not really trying to hide the fact that I am needy, I just don’t want to make others uncomfortable.

I was just journaling the other day that I feel like a faker. I fear I am faking being happy. Perhaps happy isn’t the right word; I am happy. However deep down the core of me is discontent and restless.

My friends joke that I only have one expression, a huge smile. This is true. I do wear a smile more often than not. That smile is not faking, because even deeper than the discontent that is writhing within my core is a bedrock of faith. Because of my faith, I have hope, wrought through time and adversity.

I was just washing up the dishes at the close of the evening and reflecting on the fact that I genuinely enjoyed and was thoroughly present in the moment during an entire evening I just had. Dinner with friends. Discussing all the wonderful fruits that we’ve sampled from our times abroad. Silly YouTube videos. Laughter. Sharing. Receiving. Giving.

Lately I have had difficulty being present with others. This has been troubling since it is usually something that comes very naturally for me. I am invested in relationships and genuinely love to hear everything from others that range from the mundane to the highly significant. These days I cling to the moments when I forget that I am trying to override this utter feeling of dissatisfaction and don’t have to exert any effort to be absorbed in the moment. Hope.

I know that this feeling of discontent that comes with this stage, I have had similar ones in my life, and no doubt there will be more. The preparation stage. The worst kind of stage that results in the best possible outcome. God has been stripping me of everything that I put trust and security in and will stop when God alone remains.

Nature reflects the will for life to continue despite circumstances that may be. Nature is somewhere I find hope.
At this point I feel the weirdest sense of peace I have ever felt. Sometimes I think I have lost it. Lost my peace, lost my faith, but the truth is I was built to endure much adversity. For whatever reason some require a lot more refining by fire than others. I would like to think that all the adversity, all the tears, all the questioning, the doubts, the fists shaking in the air, add up to making things better for those who come after me.

It certainly has made me a tougher and a softer person at the same time. God is into paradoxes.