Having spent the better part of a month watching Grey’s Anatomy (very late to this party, yeah yeah) I am convinced of two things: 1) I am pretty much qualified to perform cardio-thoracic surgery and 2) shocking a person with major jolts of electricity is sometimes necessary to save them. Surely my pastor would rather I found my life lessons in his sermons, inspiration in my small groups, greater understanding of my world through bible study. Still trashy tv sometimes settles my tired mind into a place that can absorb all those things, allows the thoughts that swirl too quickly throughout the day to find a resting place as I snuggle in and just stop thinking. Who knew I would see the hope and plan of God in the antics of raunchy surgeons?
Certainly attending a funeral just days before my birthday ratchets up the mortality swirls and twists of my pondering. Considering who would come, what would they say, what would be my legacy, maybe enough to jump start my life. A God jolt asking if I feel done, do I want more. How many times do I need my heart restarted before I get up and accept the recovery and take the healing offered? Choices that land one in the place of requiring that shock of paddles onto chest, the bad food or extra stress, all amount to poisoning the temple where God resides. Would I really sully the sanctuary with bitterness and alcohol, with anger and inertia? Why allow those toxins into my life? Yes God can handle my very real feelings, but I have to be willing to give them up, not share them with Him and then take them back, gathered like precious jewels, family heirlooms, keepsakes. Crying out to my Father with my aching heart is modeled for me throughout the ages, filling my heart back up with my moanings is not. An offering of my pain, not the pure goat or pristine lamb, but the bloated crippled hobbled creature I have nurtured for too long, that needs to be sacrificed at the altar. Laid bare and left behind. Carrying around a damaged heart without accepting the healing offered, so readily available, sullies my temple body and slowly squelches the life right out of me. Then the God jolt comes, the chance for a new life, a fresh start.
I listened during this funeral service as family and friends spoke of a life lived to the fullest, a life now mourned because her passing left a hole too big for anyone to imagine filling. I felt hit with the paddles, an invitation to leave such a mark, not out of pride but to have served God so fully that when I move on, someone might be inspired to carry on good stuff in my name. She was quite different from me, those words shared about her were uniquely hers. My purpose is mine, my legacy will be different. The chairs filled, the stories told, every one of us has our own chance to start today with that jolt to wake up and live towards our purpose or continue to carry our bloated disillusionment and pain. Which is worse, to admit to watching trashy tv or acknowledge that I felt my mourning during a an incredibly moving funeral service mix with an energizing force? I was electrocuted with hope for a new day, the possibility of a life lived with meaning.
I also learned from my time with the medical show that most patients didn’t expect to be on the table with the wires strapped to their chests, they didn’t know that was their day. I learned about the “surge” that comes with knowing death is near, the need to draw family close and right all the wrongs. What if instead of waiting for the surge, we pretended we were on the table, offering up our lives to God and letting him control the paddles? Jolt of new life, a restart today, an invitation to sacrifice our grudges and toxic unforgiveness and accept the grace of a new breath, fresh holy air into our lives.
Birthdays invite us to pause and reflect, to take note of progress and purpose and paths not taken. Funerals ask us to if we have made those birthdays meaningful, not just a count of the candles on our cake but an assessment of each day in between the year markings. God jolted my heart again this week, reminded me I still have more life to live, another chance to right some wrongs, to offer hope to others who see only darkness, a bit more love to share. My heart is electrified, my soul is opening to this new year. My legacy may be that I just keep trying, a broken woman who won’t stay down. What will you do with your surge? Today is our day, all of us. Wake up, let’s make it count.