(As my neighbor’s airy attire will attest, this post was created in the swelter of summer, 2012, while I was in the midst of writing Philosophy Adventure™—Pre-Socratics.)
* * *
Early in the morning, I look out my window as I contend with this unruly adventure text. It’s at that fighting stage where it resists my efforts to wrestle it into its template. Then a strange thing happens. Something wonderful, in fact. Literally. It fills me with wonder (and awe).
I see a neighbor in her blue nightgown outside with her dog on a leash. Even from this distance, I see her puffing fiercely on a cigarette, as if to draw life from it. She walks stiffly, haltingly. From past experience, I can safely assume that her head aches and stomach churns from the toxins she imbibed during yesterday’s happy hour. (For her, this morning hour would not be characterized as happy.)
What captures my attention and strikes me as remarkable is my reaction to her: I feel tender compassion. Deep sadness knowing that He reaches out to her with abundant life and freedom, but—thus far—she recoils.
She turns away. Seeks life where it will never be found.
So she is “free” to drink and smoke and swear and yell at her family. She is “free” to walk her dog and to medicate to mask her distress.
I grieve the destructive choices she makes and the suffering that results. And so I pray….
Clearly, it is His heart awakening me to her condition, His heart that breaks with tender compassion, His heart that loves her.
I will give them a new heart. Replace their heart of stone with a heart of flesh.
Wow! He can do that.
Where, I wonder, will this new heart take me?
(Special thanks to Sebastian Fissore for the image.)