July 13, 2011
“And Jesus Wept” John 11:35.
Tonight, out of need to renew my cell phone plan I headed down to Walgreens on Denver’s 16th Street Mall. It was about 8:30 and I’d been traveling to the point where it seemed that if I wasn’t at Christ’s Body or Joshua Station I was on a bus or train. I stepped back out into the rainy evening and joined the hustle and bustle of the crowds of shoppers and business men. I decided I wanted a drink, so I began walking down the mall in search of a place I could find one.
I looked around me at all the shops and began to see the lights coming on in the large skyscrapers. I passed the Lite Rail station I could have taken home and instead kept meandering along with the Umbrella toting 8:45 shopping crowd. A few blocks later a man tried to get me to enter a Vietnamese Grill, he pointed with his sign and told me it was the best food on the mall. They all say that of course, just like if you go to New York City and walk down Broadway or Chicago and take a trip down the Magnificent Mile. I thanked the man and informed him I just wanted a Jones Soda or something. He informed there was a 7/11 down the block so I turned and headed that direction, I knew it was there, cause both my bus transfer stations are on either side of it.
As I turned the corner I looked up at the skyscrapers again and saw all the lights in a giant city turning on, bringing the skyline to life. I’m very tired tonight, so in my state of tired nostalgia I began to think about those skyscrapers. Then depression hit me like the hail that pelted the city earlier in the day. My thoughts turned dark, I was ashamed of these skyscrapers, not because they were skyscrapers but because they reminded me of myself. Of the times when I was like them in my own mind, tall and over powering, telling the people around me what to do, I hated myself for those days when I was a legalist, those two years I spent killing people spiritually because my pride made me think I knew the right way to do things.
Then I started thinking about my homeless friends, how selfish I would have been if I’d done this internship two years ago. I wondered how they were holding up with the 9th night in a row of bad weather approaching us from the Mountains.
I walked into the 7/11 and grabbed a coke, candy bar and pack of gum, paid and walked back into the rainy night. I started to weep quietly as I walked slowly across the courtyard of a band to throw away a wrapper still angry at who I used to be. As I approached a different Lite Rail station to catch a train to go home I started to feel all alone in that big city. I sat on the lite rail feeling this way and then I was jolted back to reality by my soda exploding when I turned the lid. It was as if God himself had shaken the coke bottle for that very reason, and knowing God, He would. I was quickly reminded of the fact that I wasn’t alone in that city when the man behind me gave me a roll of toilet paper to clean myself, and the floor of the car up.
Tonight I experienced a part of my shadow, depression, I haven’t struggled with it much lately but it, and the feelings it brings are part of my shadow. Whether we like it or not the shadow is a good thing to recognize, it shows us why we do certain things we do. Nights like tonight cause us to disintegrate but then God wakes up and pulls us back from it. We have to know it’s there though, it will help us understand who we are.
I truly believe that in those times, when we are going head to head with our shadows, God is carrying us, and Jesus is weeping for us. Even though in those times we feel so far away from God that we don’t even think He loves us anymore He is in fact carrying us through. In those times when we come face to face with the shadowy parts of our past He is carrying us. He was there holding me when I shared the story of my friend John’s suicide this week, just like He was carrying you when you laid in your bed and wondered why you had to go through whatever it was you went through.
Dear friends, I don’t know why I shared this with you, but I felt I needed to, I have no challenge other than to Live your life to the fullest. Discover and acknowledge your shadow, but remember it does not define you. Let God tell you over and over again who you are to Him, because When God Carries You, and any other time, He does not see your shadow, He only looks down at you with those crying eyes of grace and says “Hang on my precious child, you will be stronger on the other side”
As I walked home from the Lite Rail station tonight I was smiling, the depression of a few minutes before felt like a distant Memory. God and I talked, I thanked Him and then together we watched the lightning flash, a spectacle the likes of which I have never seen before.