Saturday, May 7, 2011

In the Margins

You can find good stuff in the margins.
 I just finished my 9 month study group.  Let me just say that if you are at all interested in reading the Bible or are skeptical and wish you knew a little more about it without pressure, BSF is a good way, and they are all over the world.   I am part of a denomination and am very decidedly Christian, but if I weren't and just wanted to satisfy my curiosity, I would feel no less welcomed there.  Anyway, we met in a group of varied ages and ethnic backgrounds and read through one book of the Bible during the school year and talk about what we think the text means.   I wrote all of that to say this:
I just read Isaiah.  Isaiah, folks!
And I read it with a good deal of understanding.  That's a book that is important to anyone living in a Judeo-Christian influenced society.  It's considered a bigtime downer by lots of people, and any time I tried to read it in the past, all the chapters just seemed to merge and look the same to me.

But there's one passage that meant a lot to me years ago-  Isaiah 61.   When I got to that part last week, I noticed, written in tiny print in the margin, were the words: "was heavy, 2001."

I was.  And this was the passage that I was counting on for help with those burdens.  It's so strange and humbling to stand ten years down the road and look back at the girl I was.  I can see what I once thought would crush me.  I remember the wrong thoughts that ran through my head with abandon, convincing me of my unworthiness, my uselessness.  So much of me has been virtually untouched for ten years, but in this area I am so different.   I am stronger and where my worst days were once bouts of serious depression, they are now just blah.   Maybe I have just mellowed out with age, though from what I've seen, most people only wind up tighter as they go.

(Word, day 125)

 I'm not really sure if I have anywhere else to go with this post.  I just wanted to remind myself that I was very heavy and now I don't feel that way.  Somewhere a couple of years ago it shifted and I am so grateful.   I can laugh when I once would have been very worried.

 No man, no job, no sense of being needed, no amount of stuff got me here.  I believe it was reading this book- reading it and applying it -that has me in better shape a decade later than when I started.  I have so junked up the margins with revealing phrases about my life and questions about the text at different times.  It is much more personal than any marks I made in The Odyssey or Walden.  Sometimes there's a "Why?", or just a big question mark, or a "Huh?" as later proof that I have grown. (And I still have lots of "Huhs?" today to stand as future reminders.)

But beyond reminding myself of this, I wanted to thank the One who binds up the brokenhearted.

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