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The Book Thief
One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are
On Gold Mountain
Bread & Wine: Readings for Lent and Easter
City of Tranquil Light: A Novel
The Distant Land of My Father
The Paris Wife
Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy
Fall of Giants
World Without End
A Stolen Life
Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption
The Pillars of the Earth
Sacred Rhythms: Arranging Our Lives for Spiritual Transformation
The Road
Trials of the Earth: The Autobiography of Mary Hamilton
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
The Accidental Billionaires: The Founding of Facebook, a Tale of Sex, Money, Genius and Betrayal
Cutting for Stone

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the pit

A deep black hole breathes behind me. I can feel the frigid air on my calves. The magnetic pull of the vacuum nearly drags me in and I brace myself steady. I am tempted to turn and at least look at the vortex calling out like a siren. It promises relief, comfort and understanding.

They don't call it a pit for nothing. Self-pity is a pit yelping out promises empty and vein as the best politician's. The banks are slippery and one look back could cost me.

I sat among friends last night with Matt. They asked some probing questions. This is the army of lovers I mentioned in the previous posts. You don't serve someone dinner, do their laundry, clean their house and take their Christmas down without a measure of love. This is our season of "Yes. Thank you." Yes, I need you to bring me coffee. Yes, would you take that to the dump? Yes, having Sam to play would help out a lot. These are the people asking the questions and hearing my yes and Matt's yes.

I confessed how most folks start the New Year with resolutions, goals and dreams. It has been strange not to participate in this ritual that I have known for 46 years. I said to them, in contrast, I am starting this year off literally on my ass. Powerless, dependent and desperate at times.

This morning I read Isaiah 6. The Bible study I am doing right now gave me the context. "In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw The Lord," Isaiah writes. I didn't know the context before now. Isaiah had never known another king besides Uzziah. In fact, Uzziah probably was a boyhood hero of Isaiah's. You see Uzziah ruled Judah for 52 years and during most of that time he followed The Lord. He rebuilt towns, fortified walls, lead an army of 307,500. He became powerful and famous.

Pride became his downfall. Eventually Uzziah entered the temple to offer incense to The Lord, a job reserved only for priests. He raged when 80 priests tried to remove him. Leprosy broke out on his forehead immediately as he stood in the temple before the incense altar censor in hand.

Pride says, "I got this, God." Pride fuels me to find life apart from God and I see millions of little ways I do that every day. Pride leads to a downfall - every time.

Self-pity is pride turned inside out. Self-pity licks the wounds of pride and fantasizes of self-protection. "Next time, I will..." Self-pity is self worship.

And so, here on my ass, I put down the pen poised to write resolutions, goals and dreams - for now. He has me here. Never before has He lead me somewhere and deserted me. Always trials have taught and shaped me. Every single time.

I want this to be my prayer:

In the year I broke my leg and tore up my knee and Matt broke his collar bone, I saw The Lord. And He was splendid in His beauty and perfect in His provision. And He was exalted above everything. Creatures never before seen by my eyes surrounded Him chanting worship and attending Him. And I saw my pride and my unclean lips. And I fell down dead - a part of me dead. And when He asked me, "whom shall I send?" I answered, "send me."

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Reader Comments (2)

Boom! You nailed it. I have been waiting to see what you would write that would inspire me. I knew you would.. because I know you are always seeking to listen to our Lord. Thank you. I am praying for you as you continue sitting. I don't want your trials, but I sure want your intimacy that comes from walking through them. I love you.

Thank you, Rose! I am often finding myself tumbling backwards like Marcus Litrell in Lone Survivor. But Our God is faithful to catch me with Everlasting Arms. Love you!

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