Sunday, April 14, 2013

The Lazarus Experiment - Day Fourteen

From Ron:

As I write this morning, the boundaries of my backyard have moved. I did not make this happen. It was not my choice. I have no guarantee that the boundaries once established will ever return the way they were. We've had a flood.

Don't be concerned. It happens every year. And every year the majority of my yard goes submarine for a week or so. Most of the time, it returns to normal. But there are always subtle changes under there. Water just pushes things around.

Crises in our lives are like floods, pushing the boundaries around. Sometimes the changes are slow, and not dramatic--just gentle tucks and pinches here and there on the landscape of our relationships and our time.

Major turmoil, however, can completely dismantle the shape of things. Boundaries are rocked by earthquakes, seismic shifts radically alter where we say yes and where we say no. Storms and floods make changes in who we allow to love us, and who we decide to love.

Death is the Great Boundary Shifter. Nothing rearranges the landscape of our personal lives like death. Except maybe for life after death.

The life-death-life reality for Lazarus must have disturbed his boundaries.

Boundaries are those places where we draw lines in our lives. They are the borders of where we can say "Yes - I can do that," and "No, I won't do that." Boundaries help us to determine "You can be an intimate friend," and "You are going to have to stay away."

Finding new life at the command of Jesus - like Laz did or like we did - means that a powerful force is now active and working and pushing things around. The boundaries will never be the same.

How have your boundaries changed because of new life in Jesus? What boundaries need to be changed still? If you were Lazarus, what boundaries would you re-do after you'd been brought back from death?

You're alive. Now. Maybe it's time the edges of your life reflected the truth.

Suggested Scripture For Today: Matthew 5:33-:37

Suggested Ideas:
  1. Push some edges of your life out as far as you can take them. Stop holding back.
  2. Make a list of relationships. Score them on the basis of "Promotes new life in Christ," or "Diminishes new life in Christ." Where can new boundaries be established? Where can old ones be removed?
  3. Try going through one day without saying "no" unless it causes you to sin. Say "yes" to everything else.
  4. Do something today that you would do if today were the last day you were alive.

Question of the Day: Would Lazarus's bank account change after his Jesus-experience? How?

I prayed for you by name today. Tell me what the answer was.

My day fourteen:

Death - what a subject for me.  It's a very sensitive subject.  When my dear Kevin died, life got turned upside down.  Not just for me but for my kids too, particularly Little Boy who was only 10 and looked at his Daddy as though he was a saint - his own personal hero.  That's just as it should be for a little boy.  For me, my husband was everything.  He was my husband, my lover, my best friend, my soul mate, my playmate, my housemate, my helpmate.

Suddenly, your life is invaded.  Your door seems to open and close constantly with well meaning and kind church friends, neighbors, relatives and even people you've never seen before coming to "check on you", "bring you food", "sympathize", "pray with you".  You are going through the motions and truthfully, I remember nearly nothing from these days.

What do I recall most?  My family members.  My sister in laws who came from PA and NC; my brothers and brother in laws who came from the same; my sons and their beautiful girlfriends; my sister and my closest friends who had become my family.  I remember in particular a couple of them who put plates of food in front of us, protected us from guests we were too tired to chat with, who loved us through the most difficult time in our lives.

I also recall feeling like I was somehow public property.  That our lives were somehow public fodder for inspection from every angle.  We became the stuff of gossip, of well meaning conversation and scrutiny.  It was so frustrating when all we wanted to do really was to be left alone to grieve and mourn and figure out how in the world we would move forward with our lives.

The first of my friends to confront me was supposed to be my best friend.  She got angry with me about three months after Kevin passed away and said to me, "You've changed.  You're not my best friend any more.  I don't feel like I know you.  I don't know how to act or what to say.  I don't like it."

I was so angry.

How dare you.  He was your friend but he was my husband.  My children's father and step father.  He and my children were my world and you have the gall to talk to me about me being "off kilter" and changed so much you don't know what to say?

That was the first time I considered boundaries and necessary changes in our lives.  I had to take serious stock in our friendships and decide what was a positive influence, what was a negative influence and what was flatlining... neither positive nor negative but taking up energy just as a matter of space reservation.  Those in the positive could remain, those in the negative had a small window of opportunity to show they could move to the positive column, as did those in the "flat line" column.  It really wasn't hard to see who would truly fill those spaces properly and honestly, the negative influences weren't hard to put away.  There were a few flat liners who were difficult to decide where they belongs and one in particular I'm still on the fence about.

However, I made it very clear that we had all changed and it was expected and normal and I absolutely would not tolerate anyone in my family being berated as a result of the necessary (and yet not necessarily conscious) changes we had all made.

We are still struggling two years later.  It's not an easy place learning who you are without the other piece of your heartbeat.  It's not easy putting together the pieces of your life with such holes in the weave.  But we stay strong, dependent on each other to understand and help pick up the slack, make up the difference, fill in the gaps and love each other through the tough decisions and darker moments.  But love we do and thankful we are for each other and those who have remained in the positive column.  God bless them.

The boundary lines are drawn and set and I'm guarding the borders with love and faith.

Peace to all!

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