Today is the day for emptying.
I’ll give you the pretty and spare you the other. Let’s just say that the “prep process” has begun for my procedure early tomorrow—the one I’ve been avoiding for FIVE YEARS.
Since we’ve blown through our insurance deductible for the year, we’re racing to the finish, scheduling as many medical appointments as possible. We tried for a “side-by-side” situation, thinking it would make a great date, but such an arrangement couldn’t be made, much to our dismay.
So, I successfully downed my first liter of “Moviprep” while the others were eating ham and assorted side dishes I sacrificially made. All the while, I got to sit at the table and hear all the movie choices my husband and teenage son lined up for us to watch this evening like “Run, Baby, Run!” and “Winnie the Pooh” and “Easy Come, Easy Go”, which I’m not sure is REALLY a MOVIE. (My husband’s “Moviprep” process begins Monday afternoon for his Tuesday morning procedure. I have several days to think of something creative to help his process along. Genius ideas are welcome.)
Since this morning, I’ve been sipping coffee (thank GOD I can have black Starbucks!) and fresh squeezed lemon water with NO pulp, and my darling even offered to make me dinner—a hot, steaming cup of chicken broth. Could hardly wait for THAT.
All day long, all I could think about was the EMPTYING which should be starting just about any time now. I’ve been a bit obsessed, I confess.
To distract myself from the pleasantries surely coming, I began thinking about how filling and emptying are just a normal part of everyday life and how we sure like to fill more than we like to empty. Because we think filling ourselves will FULL fill us. And we associate emptying with the uncomfortable, the unknown, the scary.
Sometimes though, there’s just the plain RELIEF of it all. Because letting go of all we try to hold onto can be one of the most freeing experiences in life, eventually.
So I let go of my plans, my goals, my schedule for today and tomorrow. Instead, I grabbed my husband and we walked the paths of our acreage with our lab leaping through the fields. These paths lure us, even on overcast, cool, and misting autumn days. They always lead us to new discoveries—discoveries about life—discoveries about us.
After ten years here, he still holds my hand as we meander around cattail ponds circled with autumn’s willows yellowing.
Another pond has filled again after heavy rains from earlier this week. I watched her leap into that water when last week she couldn’t find even a sip for her panting mouth.
Have faith like her, I tell myself.
There’s always a filling after an emptying.
But the emptying is hard sometimes. We feel stripped of our coverings.
I wonder if it’s hard for the bird to leave her home she built in spring—the one where she labored to lay her new brood of life. I wonder if she and her hatchlings ever fly over feeling all sentimental like me when I drive by the home we inhabited years ago, now emptied of us. But had we not emptied our home of ourselves, we wouldn’t be here in this home today.
Sometimes we need to empty what we think is best so we can make room for better.
We want to cling to the past—to the now—to the known. We’re so afraid.
And we’re so proud. We’d rather do for ourselves than have someone do for us because we don’t want to feel dependent or like we owe. We don’t want strings. We want to be in control. We want to set our own course and determine our own destiny—to go where we want and do what we want when we want. We want to be our own god in search of our own Eden. We keep trying this and that, hoping. But we end up twisting and turning ourselves inside out, contorting ourselves into some depraved version of humanity, running further from who we are, really.
We find ourselves still searching . . .
Sure we can fool ourselves and others for a time. But sooner or later, when we’re all alone, when we’re all quiet, the inner quaking begins—the inner rumble of a restless soul—where we know we’re just fooling ourselves and we’re so damn tired and isn’t it about time we just let go?
We are free to choose.
But sometimes . . .
Something comes along in life to show us we’re not nearly so self-sufficient, not nearly so omniscient, not nearly so omnipotent. We’re not nearly as impervious to life’s sharp and cutting edges as we had hoped. Some sore visit of grace shows us who we are, really. And finally, we find ourselves truly empty—and truly in a position—to be truly filled.
But we don’t have to wait for some bad hand of cards to be dealt to us. We can dare to quiet ourselves and listen right now—to look at our empty—to seek the One and only who can fill us truly—forever.
Jesus emptied Himself for us—so we could be filled with His fullness of life—with Christ who IS life—the God-Man who emptied His own tomb, and invites us to empty our own . . .
Let go of all the lies.
Let go of all the tries.
Let go of all the buried and decaying.
Let go of . . .
Come empty. Come hungry. Come thirsty.
Take a leap of faith into the Living Water.
And never thirst again.
“I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.” John 6:35