I’m sitting here in our new kitchen at our new house, it’s raining outside, the dog is quietly laying on the rug at my feet; I have a cup of french press coffee next to me and I feel happy. Saturday mornings are truly my favorite part of the week. I am indeed a morning person, and it’s the only day of the week I can wake up and do whatever I want. No need to quickly get dressed, figure out how to make my hair and face look somewhat presentable, feed the dog, feed the husband, feed myself, and all the while on a time crunch because I probably slept longer than I should have. Saturday mornings make life worth living. I know I don’t have many more Saturdays like this in store for me–soon there will be a little baby demanding my attention; someone else to feed, bathe, and keep alive. But I will enjoy today, for today is all we have. I will savor the quiet and the simple times with my husband for soon life will look very different. I’m ready and not ready at the same time.
We found out I was pregnant March 22nd, and life has been turned upside down since then. I do eventually want to talk about all the details and everything I’ve been feeling so far about the pregnancy, but today I want to talk about something I think everyone can relate to. Plus, I don’t want my blog to turn into a blog all about baby. I’ve been dying to get on here and write, but with the morning sickness and ungodly fatigue it just hasn’t been possible. I’ve started feeling better though; I’ve actually felt like enough of a person to be able to interact with civilization a little bit more. And that’s what I’ve been thinking about–humanity.
I was pondering forgiveness the other day while I was filing charts at work, and I was thinking about what an amazing gift it really is when we forgive someone despite feeling hurt, betrayed, or abandoned. It’s amazing that the ones we love can manage to forgive the weaknesses in us continually and when we don’t deserve it. I’ve experienced a lot of undue forgiveness lately, and in some magical way it has made me more capable of forgiving others. It’s hard, and it’s often a choice. We have to move on before we truly have the answers and closure we want, and I thought, “forgiveness is really the most inhuman thing we can do.” But then I stopped, and decided, “no, it is the most HUMAN thing we can do. “
There’s this notion that is very popular, especially in western culture, that our humanity is evil, defiled. This is a concept that has plagued me for years and made me entirely ashamed of myself at the very deepest level. I felt like my human nature was evil and something that needed to be starved until it died. I needed to strive and fight until I killed this beast writhing inside, this “human nature” of mine. We’re taught this, right? It might not be stated plainly, but we feel it. Our insides, our thoughts and feelings and our very human DNA is something we’re stuck with. Something that hurts others and saddens God. We’re fallen and maybe someday we’ll be completely spiritual and finally be rid of this awful human side to ourselves.
This, my friends, is heresy. This hurtful, destructive way of thinking is absolutely false. Let me tell you what I believe, what I’ve slowly accepted and let change my heart. Our humanity is the very thing that makes us lovable to God. Our humanity is a beautiful gift. God CHOSE to make us in this shape and form. He structured our DNA just the way He wanted it. He created a perfect garden for Adam and Eve, and to Him, they were the perfect creatures to live there.
This is the thing: I am good. Down to my very core, I am good. I was originally created perfect, and I believe this life is a journey to become more human. We are trying to wash away the dirt of this world that clings to us, because underneath is the person that God created. It will probably take a lifetime and a whole lot of grace to become human, but that is what we are working towards. We are not trying to become fully spiritual. If God wanted that He would’ve made us angels!
When you think about it that way, it’s a lot less intimidating. God’s desire is that we know ourselves. When we know ourselves, we know God. He CREATED me — my thoughts, my feelings and desires, and understanding that creation is our best chance at knowing the Creator. I’ve come to think this way in the last few years and it has changed my life. I no longer feel shame for being human. I want to become more human, because the human that God created loves, forgives, praises, sings, worships, sacrifices, and speaks kindly to others. She is brave, wise, beautiful, and fearfully and wonderfully made. All these things are inside me; they’re in us all. But life hardens us. Giving in to the passions of the world takes us away from our humanity. It turns us into beasts that have lost sight of who we truly are.
There is a story by C. S. Lewis from The Voyage of the Dawn Treader that illustrates this idea. In the book there is a nasty little boy names Eustace. He is selfish and greedy; he doesn’t look out for his friends. While on an island he wanders off and happens to find a dead dragon. He discovers that in the dragon’s cave there are mounds and mounds of gold! Being the greedy boy that he is, he puts on a gold bracelet and proceeds to fall asleep in the cave. When he wakes up he discovers that he has been turned into a dragon. He is in pain because the bracelet has become very tight on his arm, and he cannot communicate with his friends anymore. He lives like this for many days, depressed and hopeless because he is a boy trapped in the body of a dragon. One night Aslan, the great lion in all the novels, comes to Eustace. They go to a quiet well in the middle of the night and Aslan tells Eustace to undress and get in the water. He tries fervently to peel off his scaly layers, for he knows this is what Aslan means by undress, but as soon as he gets one layer off he realizes there is another layer underneath. He scratches and peels away the layers, but to his dismay there is always another scaly dragon skin underneath.
I’ll let you read from here: “Then the lion said ‘you will have to let me undress you.’ I was afraid of his claws, I can tell you, but I was pretty nearly desperate now. So I just lay flat down on my back to let him do it. The very first tear he made was so deep that I thought it had gone right into my heart. And when he began pulling the skin off, it hurt worse than anything I’ve ever felt. The only thing that made me able to bear it was just the pleasure of feeling the stuff peel off. Well, he peeled the beastly stuff right off — just as I thought I’d done it myself the other three times, only they hadn’t hurt — and there it was, lying on the grass : only ever so much thicker, and darker, and more knobby-looking than the others had been. And there was I as smooth and soft as a peeled switch and smaller than I had been. ” He was a boy again.
This is what it takes for us to become human. Sometimes the Lord will use pain, tragedy, or death to peel off the layers. We can try and try to perfect ourselves, try to chip away at the thick layers that have formed around us, but it is really only God who can transform us. We can rest in His perfect plan and know that He will not let us stay a dragon forever.