Thursday, April 30, 2015

On Grapefruits, Disillusionment, and Seeking the One Thing

Sometimes my purse gets overloaded with stuff. My husband and I have an ongoing joke about it, which started with a funny misunderstanding years and years ago.

I asked my husband to hand me my grapefruit. He asked where it was and I said, "I can't find it. I think it is in my purse." What he heard was, "I think it is in my purse but I can't find it." The image, of course, being that my purse was so full of junk that I couldn't even find a grapefruit in there. To this day, no matter what he needs to dig out of my purse, he will always (and I mean always) say that it was somewhere in there under the grapefruit.

I no longer carry a purse large enough to house a grapefruit (though an orange or apple has been seen bulging out the sides), but my bag can still get chock full of stuff and it gets heavy and burdensome and I can't find anything I need. At that point I really just have to dump it out, sort out the junk, and put back the important stuff. I don't really need the 27 grocery receipts or 9 pens. Nor do I need the half-rotten apple, the baggie of graham cracker pieces, or the melted Hershey's Kiss stuck to a penny. But I do need my wallet. My lockbox key. My allergy and migraine meds. (And perhaps an unmelted Hershey's Kiss, still in its wrapper.)

Sometimes you just need to sort things out. To get down to the basic necessities. That sorting is especially essential when the junk is getting in the way.

That is what I think disillusionment is. Junk getting in the way.

I know many people who are disillusioned right now. And by that I mean disillusioned with the church and with the current expression of Christianity as we know it in our culture. And to be honest, I am one of them.

My disillusionment has been building for years but has now hit critical mass. It is more obvious to me when I am in environments that seem to heap more and more stuff into my already overstuffed bag. The ways we should be and the things we should do. The words we should say, the gifts we should have, the hoops we should all jump through. The ways we should vote. The causes that should garner our attention. The ways we should relate to our children, our friends, our coworkers, our enemies. And just the right doctrine. Always the right doctrine.

I am worn out. I can't carry this bag any more. It is so full of so much stuff that I have lost the ability to find the things I need. So I am dumping. I am dumping it all out and looking through everything and putting back the good stuff. The necessary stuff.

A long, long time ago, way before the grapefruit/purse incident, there were a couple of ladies. They had an important guest in their home and one of the ladies was busy doing all the right things. I am sure she would be praised for her industry and her conscientiousness and her servant's heart. She might even be applauded for her organizational skills and her hospitality and her appreciation of beauty. She might even have killer cooking skills. She was getting things done and grew irritated with her sister, who was not helping at all.

Instead, her sister was sitting with the guest. Soaking up his wisdom. Basking in his presence.

"Martha, Martha," the Lord answered, "you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her." Luke 10-41-42

"Only one thing is needed."

When my relationship with God, when the life he has called me to live, becomes too burdensome, it might be because I have too much in my bag. It is time to dump things out, sort out what is needed. Lighten the load.

"Only one thing is needed."

Mary sat at Jesus' feet. She was not chastised by Jesus for not jumping through all the right hoops.

"Only one thing is needed."

May God give me wisdom to stick with that one thing.

1 comment:

  1. So well said, Ginny. The thought occurred to me that as we put things back in the emptied purse, we might profit from others helping us to determine what needs to be put back in, since we all carry our own particular biases. In this way each member of the body can help the other. Kathy