By: Jana Greene
“But how can people call for help if they don’t know who to trust? And how can they know who to trust if they haven’t heard of the One who can be trusted? And how can they hear if nobody tells them? And how is anyone going to tell them, unless someone is sent to do it? That’s why Scripture exclaims, A sight to take your breath away! Grand processions of people telling all the good things of God! But not everybody is ready for this, ready to see and hear and act. Isaiah asked what we all ask at one time or another: “Does anyone care, God? Is anyone listening and believing a word of it?” The point is: Before you trust, you have to listen. But unless Christ’s Word is preached, there’s nothing to listen to.” – Romans 10:14-17 (The Message)
When I first read this scripture, I thought about a locomotive. The image came to my mind of a train making stops in all kinds of places and picking up wayward people of all walks of life before continuing down the track. I don’t know why. Writers are a peculiar bunch when it comes to thinking (and everything else).
Another line of thought kept me active in my alcoholism for many years: Nobody knows how I feel. As long as I fed that train on the black coals of Terminal Uniqueness, the faster it gained speed for the inevitable train wreck. Since no one else has had the exact same life experiences that I have, I felt justified in drinking – and so I drank more and felt sorrier for myself and entered a tunnel of dark denial, and well….enough of the locomotive metaphors. The result was disaster that I might not have survived.
I might not have. But I did, because God is real and because surrender is an option.
The book I’m working on writing is about the ways that I’m not unique, which is most ways. It is about life happening to a person who lost control; about that loss of control being the best thing that ever happened to her because it set the trajectory for letting go and letting God do His work. There are elements of comedy, because so much in life is absurd, and musings about getting older, raising kids, and the like. Also along the storyline, there are many dark tunnels, experiences that may speak to others who have lost control, these are the the parts that are difficult to write. Painful to write. I would rather not include some experiences in the book because they are embarrassing and shameful.
But they are the very same things that made me feel as though nobody knew how I felt when I first tried to get sober. They are universal, really – just as much as getting older and raising kids. Everyone hurts. I think it’s important that others know they are not alone, not “too bad” for God to love, not a train wreck waiting to happen. Unless there is a Grand Procession of Christ-followers willing to be honest, who will help? God has given me a beautiful, awful, honorable burden to write about my recovery so that maybe someone with similar uniqueness will know that God can be trusted.
Or as Isaiah said in scripture, “Does anyone care? Is anyone listening and believing a word of it?”
I care. I believe.
As I relinquish the engine to God and ride in the boxcar, barefoot and vulnerable with my legs dangling over the passing tracks – watching the world and enjoying the view, and grabbing ahold of other wayward sinners on the way, pulling them up to ride along side me. There are bumps in the track and the car rattles at times, and we are not certain where it is headed. But it’s okay because we are confident that the Engineer knows what He’s doing.
It is a sight to take your breath away. And breathe life into your soul.