I wrote the following paragraph in an email this morning to a very dear friend of mine. It was part advice, but it also pretty much summed up one of two of my current struggles in faith.

I am learning that you have to give everything to Christ. Not only your joys and happiness, but your sorrows, pains and hurts. You have to give Him your good deeds, and your sins. That is really tough to do, to let go of your sins. The good stuff is easy, but not the bad stuff. You want to hide the bad stuff in the deepest, darkest parts of your heart. Yes, you know you have to ask for forgiveness for your sins, but to give them up and offer them to Jesus? To let Him see your ugliness? To give Him your brokenness? Well, He can’t heal you if you don’t offer it to Him, at least not on this side of heaven. You cannot hold onto ANYTHING. All is His. Everything belongs. Only the choice belongs to you. How do you choose?

My oldest daughter gave me the CD Much Afraid by Jars of Clays for Father’s Day. Many of the songs were inspired by the book Hind’s Feet on High Places by Hannah Hurnard that I just finished reading. The title of the CD is taken from the name of the main character.

There is one song on this CD called “Frail” that I just cannot get out of my head. It usually makes me tear up. I cannot describe music very well. It starts and ends with this long stretch of instruments, mostly acoustic guitar with strings in accompaniment and a soft haunting from an oboe and a horn. It is all carried along with this flowing, gentle rhythmic drum line. The timbre of the singer’s voice sounds like it is coming from the depths of his heart and slips silently into yours. The lyrics are poetic, not overtly Christian, but the symbolism is most definitely there.

Convinced of my deception
I’ve always been a fool
I fear this love reaction
Just like you said I would

A rose could never lie
About the love it brings
And I could never promise
To be any of those things

If I was not so weak
If I was not so cold
If I was not so scared of being broken
Growing old
I would be…I would be…

Blessed are the shallow
Depth they’ll never find
Seems to be some comfort
In rooms I try to hide

Exposed beyond the shadows
You take the cup from me
Your dirt removes my blindness
Your pain becomes my peace

If I was not so weak
If I was not so cold
If I was not so scared of being broken
Growing old
I would be…I would be…

I would be…I would be…

There is a theme of humility running deep underneath the words, like water seeking the lowest point. The rose can mean many things, but to me it primarily is Mary and all that entails. The rose is her flower. The love she brings is Jesus. It also reminds me of the person who taught me the Hail Mary and the Rosary, and the love of that friendship. If I could only rise to the promise of that love, to the promise of all the love in my life.

“Exposed beyond the shadows”—cannot hide anything from Him. Everything belongs. Even the deepest, darkest, ugliest parts of my heart. You take the cup from me—the cup of my joy, of my sorrow, of my life?

“Your dirt removes my blindness”—a paradox that Jesus can heal the blind man with some dirt and spit, and heal me through my brokenness and pain. And His pain becomes my peace? The Cross?

Why oh why does a part of me “fear this love reaction”?

Why can’t I just let go of it all and hand it to You? Is it my silly little pride? Why can’t I let go of that too? How do I let go? Help me to let go in You.

The Lord looks on his servants with pity and not with blame. In God’s sight we do not fall; in our sight, we do not stand. Both of these are true, but the deeper insight belongs to God.

— Julian of Norwich

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