I originally wrote this on 12/7/10 and thought to myself…what am I waiting for? More later…
God is revealing something to me again…and as usual it takes me a few days to make sense of it.
I’m driving to my friend’s house last week and pass up a mall that has seen better days. For those of you familiar with the area – Washington Square mall. There are still some profitable businesses residing there, but it is far from the spectacular shopping experience that it once was. I remember how filled it use to be with people, businesses, stores and parking lots packed with vehicles. The lights and sounds of the merry-go-round filled the corridors as people scurried from store to store collecting bags of new goodies. Kids begged their parents for a coin to throw into the wishing well. Now, there are still some people but the crowds are smaller, parking is a breeze and the halls are quieter…some store fronts are dark and empty.
Driving home I pass by an abandoned lot where a busy department store, grocery store and a couple other stores use to thrive…but it’s been dead for some time. (First and Diamond Avenue – use to have Hills, Venture, Great Scot, Fashion Bug, House of Chong, BlockBuster video, cell store, etc.) The windows and entrances are boarded up, the lots are vacant and weeds have overtaken the cracks in the pavement. There was talk some time ago about different businesses we were looking to buy/rent the property, but I assume those deals fell through for whatever reason. Some say the owners of the property wanted too much money. Maybe it was greed…who knows…all I know it, it is a shell of what it use to be. While Washington Square at least still has a pulse, this shopping center has truly flat lined. I can imagine the view and feel from the inside: Hollow. Dark. Cold. Empty. Tomb-like.
If you drive on either side of town you can see the growth in our area. What once was fields and woods is now new and improved shopping centers, parking lots, apartment complexs, shops, restaurants, fast food joints and grocery stores. Business is booming and the atmosphere is filled with excitement from the newness. Even the trees and shrubery are young and vibrant.
Then it hits me. We experience these types of changes in our lives, too. Just like the tree that loses it’s leaves in winter, we go into hibernation. Some areas are meant to bounce back, but others are meant to be raized. This cycle of birth, death and sometimes rebirth are signs of a new season, a sign of growth: the death of one way and the birth of another. Sometimes we may witness growth in one area of our lives, while another area dwindles and fades away. Some times we get back to that area but other times, that area has served its purpose…we forget (or not) and it just dies away to a memory. Some cling to it far too long. Greed places a higher value on it than what it really deserves and we refuse to let it go. It dies anyway, but like a sinking ship, if we don’t let go, we die right along with it. No one knows how long those seasons are suppose to last, or even what to do with them after they have fulfilled their purpose, but we just know they are there. And that’s why we need to turn to God and depend on Him for guidance.
There’s a certain mourning that a person goes through when they realize a part of a chapter of their life is done. I’m sure the recesses of our brains where memories are houses have their own share of cobwebs. It’s hard to say goodbye to an old friend, especially when we’ve grown to know them so well. Even if it is a horrible part we are struggling to leave behind, it is still painful. We become use to our ways: our failings, our disappointment, our flighty dreams. Some call it hope…but at some point we realize that what we were holding onto was selfish. There is no purpose to living aside from the one that God has given us: to love each other and stay focused on Him. (NOTE: love does not equal sex, nor does it mean I have to invite you into my life, only respect you for the time you are in it.) And until we let go, we cannot work on ourselves and God surely cannot work on us. He wants our attention – our FULL attention. I told a friend that sometimes the things we hold onto the tightest are the things God wants us to let go of the most. I fully believe that. Some of us will hold on until our fingers bleed, believing, hoping, and having faith…but sometimes that is all done in vain because it is for our glory and not His. He wants to be first. No exceptions. And He doesn’t have to force Himself on us, He has all the time in the world. No wonder He cries for us as we aimlessly wander around the mountain, over and over again, wondering why the same actions produce the same results.
Don’t get me wrong. I still hope. And I most certainly still have faith. And I am not pessimistic, quite the opposite. The glass is neither half full nor empty, sometimes it is just time for a new one. I have learned so much in my life – no wonder I want to write a book. If it’s one thing I’m really beginning to see is that, I am willing to say goodbye to my past. To let go. If that ‘building’ in me is meant to be rebuilt or reoccupied, that’s up to God. All my deals fall through. I DO NOT GIVE UP – BUT I DO GIVE IN; I GIVE IT TO GOD. They say if you love something set it free but what they don’t tell you is that you truly have to let it go for it to be free in your heart. Then, whatever happens can be of God. How can God fill you if your already filled with something else?