Skinny Dipping and Lazarus

Skinny Dipping and Lazarus~ for Addie Zierman's #NightDriving synchroblog


In the darkness

~~~

My first experience skinny dipping was at a summer camp in the Smoky Mountains of North Carolina the summer before my senior year of high school.  Two girls and I snuck out of our cabins after lights out and giggled and tripped along the path into the woods.  We eventually found our rebel river destination, peeled off our cutoff jean shorts and thrift store T-shirts and stepped into the cool water.  Easing into the water, we made an unfortunate discovery: the water was too shallow.  We sat there hugging our knees and gazing up at the stars until small fish noses started tapping our thighs and eventually prodded us back out of the water into the silky black night.

Through that entire experience, the flashlights stayed resolutely “off,” because the beams would have not only exposed our nakedness, but other creatures that might have been lurking behind trees and on rotten logs.  The darkness felt safe.  The light, exposing.

~~~

My roommates had gone to bed and I decided to stay up and finish watching a romantic movie.  I was twenty-four and teaching middle school in Chicago.  Two of my three best friends were nearing engagement and I was always struggling with one crush or another on guys that didn’t know I existed.  As I watched that movie about two teenagers falling in love, a well within me seemed to break and I sobbed uncontrollably.  What if I’m never loved like that? 

~~~

At twenty-six, I had believed he was “the one.”  Truly believed it as if the words had been spoken audibly to me by God Himself.  That’s how much faith I had put in this boy in spite of it all.  I offered my whole heart, and one year later, the boy handed it back.  I don’t want it, he seemed to say.  (But really it was something along the lines of “I prayed and it isn’t God’s will…”).  Confusion, grief and doubt polluted my soul. 

But then Lazarus.  The story of Jesus allowing his friend Lazarus to die and then raising him from the dead was in my morning reading.  And then in a small group meeting that night.  A message for me.  It all seemed so purposeless and cruel.  Why allow Lazarus to die when you plan all along to raise him to life again? 

And yet when Jesus heard the news that Lazarus was dead, he cried.  Though he knew the end of the story, he wept right there with them.

~~~

This morning my children miraculously slept in past 6:30 am, so I shuffled around in the kitchen, contemplating waking them up with the coffee grinder, when I noticed the pink lines through the blinds.  Pulling them open, the brilliant sun burst through the clouds, piercing the sky with an almost unnatural light and color. 

I threw open the back porch door, grabbed my phone and trudged through six inches of snow in my slippered-feet to capture this moment in time.  With a phone camera.  Not surprisingly, the phone image was pathetic in comparison to the original.  Sighing, I turned back inside, leaving my drenched slippers on the door mat and warming my toes by the hidden heating vent by the floor of the kitchen sink.  As I made coffee, I glanced back outside, waiting for the sun to overtake the sky.  Instead, it had disappeared almost entirely behind the clouds.  A wasted sunrise after so much potential.

Much like a dead King Jesus coming back to life only to disappear again.  So promising, so hopeful, so much cause for jubilation and delight.  Finally!  But then, like the sun, he was gone.  What a disappointment.

Until.

Until the day He reemerges from the clouds to take over the entire sky.  The day the sky breaks into song and even the darkest clouds are used as a backdrop for the most exquisite sight we’ve ever seen.

But for now, He weeps with us.  He skinny dips with us.  He shrugs away our guilt and shame.  And He holds our hearts gently after they have been mistreated and rejected. 

Until that day.

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Skinny Dipping and Lazarus~ for Addie Zierman's #NightDriving synchroblog

This is for Addie Zierman’s #NightDriving synchroblog celebrating the release of her new book Night Driving: A Story of Faith in the Dark using the prompt: “It was dark when ________ you wouldn’t believe what I saw in the light.” 

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6 Replies to “Skinny Dipping and Lazarus”

  1. of course you caught my attention with the title. "Skinny Dipping and Lazarus?" I thought. I have to read this. 🙂 I love how you use Lazarus and Jesus raising him from the dead when talking about the relationship where God said no – and in the next scene you are in your kitchen while your children sleep in watching the sunrise – so profound!!!!

    (of course, no image ever compares with the original – even if it's a great camera.)

  2. Until that day…
    We wait for hope coming reality on "The day the sky breaks into song and even the darkest clouds are used as a backdrop for the most exquisite sight we've ever seen." Amen!

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