Witness

To be a witness does not involve engaging propaganda, nor even in stirring people up, but in being a living mystery. It means to live in such a way that one's life would not make sense if God did not exist. ~ Cardinal Emmanuel Suhard
I walked four miles every day in high school. Every day, I walked past this "dinosaur". From the road, it looked exactly like a brontosaurus. For some reason, this abandoned machine became part of the visual history of my childhood. I was thrilled when I drove by my old house on my 31st birthday and saw that it was still in the field, still surrounded by the melting shapes of old round bales.

Something not particularly beautiful nor particularly ugly, yet somehow symbolic of a forgotten joy. It didn't speak to me, except to stand a timeless witness of a bygone era. The rusting steel and grayed plating, the stays frayed and tired holding their burden for decades. The combines of my own time were bigger, grander, greener. This piece of ancient machinery was somewhat of a mystery: why leave it like that, in the middle of a field? It wasn't part of the usual farm graveyard. It stood alone, always surrounded by those mouldering round bales. Silent. A witness.

My life of late is the dinosaur in the middle of the field. Aaron and I have no more explanation for the way our life has gone than those questioning us have answers. There are days when I seriously wish there were some kind of refund policy on what I've been issued! I don't like my life that much lately, much less love it. Whereas Christ shouldered His cross out of love, I shoulder mine begrudgingly, simply because it is the cross that is set before me. One foot in front of the other. I barely have time to grieve the losses that are entailed. I am just stepping forward. And, most of the time, I seem to be dragging this cross of illness along with me.

It is hard to know whether you're being an effective witness. I get the feeling that our life experience sometimes has the opposite effect...I know it does for me! Where is God, when life collapses like this? Is He listening? Does He have a plan? What I long for is that my life would be lived in such a way that it is impossible to deny God's hand in it. I feel like I am still figuring this out: does the testimony of my life make it impossible to deny God's existence? Or does it make God's mercy and love seem improbable? I pray that, by the story's end, I can firmly say my life reflected His mercy and love. When I am tempted to have a pity party, and tell God I hate my life right now, it is this desire that stops my tongue. Make me a star, God. Please, make me a star.

Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life... (Philippians 2:14-16)