Tuesday, June 21, 2011

I remember the word release (a post about freedom)

The song sounds on repeat through the quiet office. She sings about arriving, coming to Him, bending our hearts again to unload the storms and the distress and the weight at the foot of the cross. About His light, and His calm. But in the quiet place where Lent feels like every day, release is a word for being washed clean of whatever you are bearing, unclenching your hands from the paper that is due, the laundry that needs folding, the letter that needs writing, the report you didn't manage to finish at the office. Release is a word for an exhale and a small smile when you realize you need not hold all things all together all the time.

Word for Today: Release

Definition: Release means freeing from restraint, confinement or servitude. It means to relieve from something that confines, burdens or oppresses. Release is a word about setting free, unyoking. It is about relinquishing. Release is a word about freedom. 

Release, v. To lay down the expectations. They are heavy loads, the things we demand of ourselves. The narrow vision - I am this kind of friend, I am this kind of wife, I am this kind of teacher, I am this kind of Christian. We whisper the vision in each moment of possible failure, of the coming up short. It's at the water fountain when I'm gulping down replenishment in the thirty second window before I need to go to work, that I feel them clamber into my head - be this, do that, if you were a better this thing you wouldn't feel this way. Release is the word for standing up, feeling the water journey down into your stomach, full of its necessity, tracing its path down the back of your throat... standing up and saying, "I can do no more."

Release, v. To run forward. We can't run with burdens, our pockets full of gravelly guilt and shame and that word failure. We can't run, new sneakers on pavement, the pounding heartbeat and the Kreb's cycle at work in our mitochondria... not if we carry restraints. Not if we are yoked to what we imagine we ought to be. Not if our hearts are shackled to the first glorious imagining where we are perfect and life is perfect and nothing falls apart, because if it falls apart, we whisper, it just proves what we secretly worried all along - that we aren't, can't, won't be, that other word enough. Release is a word for things falling out of your hands and your feet taking you forward anyway.

Release, v. To shout in your car against the pounding rain that this is the truth: He came for you. He came for your small shivering self. He came into the world as a child to make you His child. As I drove home the other night I swung my car around my favorite bend in the road in the state park, and I started talking to God about the things that are confusing, and about how much I don't know, and how I'm so tired of not being chosen, of feeling like I can't do it right, or right enough. 

How can this be, Lord? That you came into the world for me? That you want me to be yours? That even though I jump out of the sheep pen and even though I prefer the wandering wilderness and the shadows and every broken heartaching drama to you, even then you come to look for me? Because it's not my goodness. It's your grace. 

Release, n. This is the being-set-free. The promise He shouts everywhere in this wide earth - a promise that in this moment, there is nothing more beautiful than your delight in sunlight dancing through trees. Release is standing still, grass tickling your bare feet, closing your eyes, and hearing Him say: 

"Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert." - Isaiah 43.19

May the promise, and the freedom, and the release sound in your heart today. 


1 comment:

  1. I needed to read this, this morning. This was profound and beautiful, His truth shines through your words. Blessings, Hilary. (Your site looks lovely )


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