Saving My Life Right Now: Spring 2018
I am the door. Whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out and find safe pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life and have it to the full .Jesus (John 10:9–10).
In her book, Leaving the Church, Barbara Brown Taylor recounts the time she was asked, “Tell us what is saving your life right now.”
She goes on to write that:
Salvation is a word for the divine spaciousness that comes to human beings in all the tight places where their lives are at risk, regardless of how they got there or whether they know God’s name. Sometimes it comes as an extended human hand and sometimes as a bolt from the blue, but either way it opens a door in what looks for all the world like a wall.
Like Barbara Brown Taylor, I think what is saving your life right now? is a good question to keep living with.
We’re usually well acquainted with what is killing us, the walls that we keep slamming up against: emotional trauma; grinding injustice; the relentless demands of work; broken relationships that won’t heal; broken bodies and minds that won’t recover.
But I’m learning that though the walls are real, if we just wait it out, there is always a door. There is always a way through to a spacious place where we can flourish. Sometimes the door appears as if by magic, and sometimes we have to search it out for ourselves. Sometimes we need another person to help us figure out where they are. So let me ask you, my friend:
What is saving your life right now? What is bringing you joy and causing you to flourish? What is helping you leave behind scarcity thinking and live towards generosity and hope? Have you discovered any hidden doors that open out into spaciousness and let your soul breathe lately?
Those questions can be hard to answer in some seasons; I understand that. Maybe the only answer you’ve got right now is “no” or “I don’t even know where to start looking.” That’s ok. I’ve had those days (weeks, months) too.
But hang in there. You will find your doors. Maybe they’ll open through a conversation with a friend, a book, a walk in the park, some medication, or a change of job. Maybe it’s a chance conversation with a counsellor or something your child or your boss says to you. Maybe it’ll come to you in a film you’re watching or a song lyric. Maybe your door will open as you create something on a page or in your garden.
I’ve decided that each season of the year, I’m going to make a list of the things saving my life right now. I want to stay with these questions; I want to stay alert to the possibility of open doors and spaciousness. And maybe some of the things saving my life will save yours, too.
Saving My Life Right Now: Spring 2018
Books (always the books!)
Tattoos on the Heart by Gregory Boyle. (I wrote about this one here) An Altar in the World by Barbara Brown Taylor. (If you liked Liturgy of the Ordinary, you’ll like this too.) Learning to Walk in the Dark by Barbara Brown Taylor. In fact, read anything by Barbara Brown Taylor, it’ll do your soul good. Falling Upward by Richard Rohr. What is the Bible? by Rob Bell. Rob Bell takes a complex topic and makes it interesting, engaging and understandable. Highly recommend this one. Make a List by Marilyn MacEntyre. (I’ve just started this and already love it — if you’re a list person, you’ll love it too).
The Robcast — Rob Bell. I know some people think Rob Bell is really controversial, but I love his podcast. He’s an excellent communicator and talks about life and the Bible in a hugely relevant, engaging, encouraging way. If you want to check it out, I recommend starting with these episodes: - It Comes in Waves - She Thought He Was The Gardener - You and Your Bags of Gold - The Alternative Wisdom series
Nomad — Tim Nash Lots of interesting guests exploring faith. My favourites are Walter Brueggemann and Rachel Held Evans.
Getting outside, especially somewhere beautiful, is doing me a lot of good right now.
I’m so thankful for the people in my life who love me, believe in me and stick around, even when things are hard and horrible. My community is definitely saving my life right now.
How about you? What’s saving your life right now?