Bathroom attendants at a port-a-potty. Absurd.
Getting to star gaze and shower at the same time. Beautifully Absurd.
Being made fun of because my nephew's shirt isn't ironed while we walk barefoot on a path covered in trash. Annoyingly absurd.
Importing custom hula hoops to haiti. Glow in the Dark Absurd.
Hula hooping at all...still kind of absurd.
A porch with a mountain view AND an ocean view. Majestically Absurd.
An art festival in a dump site. Artistically Absurd.
Trying to choose between “evil” Coca Cola in a reusable bottle or locally produced Star Cola in a disposable bottle. Environmentally Absurd.
Having an online blog from a home with little access to power. Electronically Absurd.
Offering water, crackers, and music to a 17 year old girl while you scrub the burns covering her arms and legs. Hospitably Absurd.
Sweeping water uphill with a tiny broom. Its absurd. And it is how I spend my morning and it is one absurd thing in an ever growing list of absurd things that are the sum of the life I have chosen. I love the way it entertains and surprises, and I know that God most effectively speaks and works in the absurd so I am usually pretty fond of it. But you wanna hear ABSURD, how about instead of getting a job after grad school, setting yourself up as the sort of invited “artist in residence” in the as yet empty library at a school built among mudhuts where students come wearing uniforms and empty bellies.
And its what God has insisted that I do if I want to know what it is that I was created for.
And its awkward and extravagant and embarrassing and vulnerable and silly and scary. Absurdly so. Maybe that is why I keep avoiding my own dance classes. Maybe that is why I keep reading stories whose endings I care little about. Maybe that is why I am sleeping more than normal.
Maybe that is why the canvas we went to such great lengths to get into my suitcase is
Maybe. Or maybe it is because once I take it out...once I open those paints, get my brushes wet, and embrace the dance of covering that empty space I have been dancing around for so long, I will KNOW. I will know what it is going to take to make the dreams in my heart and the hopes of my soul into the life I lead. What if I actually let it out into my arms and legs, onto the canvas. What if I risk looking at it and seeing it and knowing what it is. Saying it out loud and admitting it is true. What if I let the picture form in front of me so that it is no longer elusive and exciting but simply an absurd and impossible instruction manual for a life of minute and holy proportions.
Because I already know. I know it in the deepest places of my bones that I am carefully crafted for something. Something I have never seen before and maybe don't yet know how to do. Something that may set me apart even from things and people that I love dearly, at least in some ways at some times. I don't know what it is exactly but I know it is something small, and slow, and radically absurd. God has been very clear about that, and very consistent. He has warned me that probably no one will get it, maybe even the ones i expect would, the ones i most desperately need to understand, and that I will have to totally own it anyway if i want it to work. and that it might be really hard to do sometimes. And he has given me the choice at many a juncture to pursue something easier, something more expected, something that will make sense.
He said it would be okay, he would understand.
But I said no every time.
I chose the adventure, the very edge of how he could be his most beautifully and magically absurd through me. The way that would be the most difficult to explain to my mama, to my friends, to most of my known existence. The way that would seem to contradict everything we know about how things work. The way that would be the most HIM, the most WHOLE, and the most ridiculous. Because most everything God has ever done that I have really loved was ridiculous. Absurd even.
Sometimes I wonder if God is ever embarrassed to explain how he is going to do what he does to love and care for us. Because it never seems to make sense to us at first, it never seems like the best or most practical plan. In fact, it usually seems so ridiculous to the point of unfathomable...so much so we often either ignore him all together or actually move in the opposite direction, sure that we misheard. Once in a while he must at least blush, or stutter, or hesitate before he reveals a real zinger like a boat built on dry ground to save all living things from a flood, or a middle school opera singer sent to bless a deaf Floridian, or telling a grad student to offer a dance (in a 4x3 foot space) in payment for a woman sharing her story as she sits dying of AIDS and malnutrition in a Kenyan slum. Surely he has a little trouble with the delivery of such out-of-the-box instructions.
Maybe. Maybe not. Either way, its too late for me. Embarrassing and awkward or not, the time for bowing out gracefully has passed. He gave me lots of chances to do something else. I emphatically declined in favor of this. This next thing. This thing that is so specifically for me that I actually fear it. I said yes and gladly took the many blessings and opportunities he provided to prepare me. To back out now will cost me dearly because I have created for myself a great debt, the kind of debt only repaid with a life devoted to the truth and treasure that was placed in me. The kind that makes embracing and even advocating for the WHOLLY and HOLY ABSURD
Its time to get ridiculous.