Throwing (Out) the Towel

March 29, 2010 by Jen

There are very few positive things about a stomach virus. In fact, I’m having trouble thinking of one. Nor do I intend to waste time trying to gross you out.

But last week, as I was recovering from one, I started to think about the defining post-virus moment, and how difficult it can be to go back to normal. It’s hard to say, “I’m better now.” It’s easier to stay in the house and leave the trash can close beside the bed. After all…

What if I’m not better?
Does it do any harm to be prepared?

Two harmless questions, right? and in this context, probably wise. On the other hand, when I practice the same mindset in other situations, they’re not so innocuous.

It feels safer to hang on to a few old markers of success and validation, to keep some of the old grudges around for ammunition in future conflicts. On a deeper level, it’s tempting to “be good” not out of freedom, but out of a fear that I might need that last bargaining chip to eke my way into heaven.

Not to forgive wholly, not to trust wholly, not to accept grace wholly. Just in case. Those three little words can be so insidious, and so destructive.

Just in case I’m not fully forgiven.
Just in case I’m not fully loved.
Just in case I’m not fully healed.

Why is it so hard to return the trash can to its place? Why is it so hard to believe that the virus is really gone?

Because there is another set of three words, one far more difficult to believe and, believing, far more difficult to stand on as I try to live freely and fully:

It is finished.”

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