Sunday, May 4, 2008

The cellar

I've been thinking about something for days, dwelling on it, so here's the second post of the day.

The news item that has most caught my attention lately is that of the Austrian woman and her children who have been held captive in a cellar by the rat-of-a-father/grandfather. She believed poison gas would be emitted if she tried to open the cellar door, while the air within the cellar was slowly growing more and more stale. This story, with its disgustingly, horrifically sexually deviant behavior of the man, has kept me awake at night. Part of it is that I'm claustrophobic. The idea of being kept in a windowless, light-less, airless, too-short-to-stand-up-straight-cellar for all those years makes it hard for me to catch me breath. Literally, when I think of it, I can come to the edge of a panic attack. I don't know how she did it, how she raised her children. There is some kind of strength in that woman, I tell you.

But the other night at 3am, when I was thinking of this, I realized that we're all in the cellar, in a way. We all live on borrowed air, under the rule of a despot who thinks he has the last word. But someday, someday, the door of our prison will be thrown open and we'll breathe real air. Fresh air, and we'll see what green grass really looks like, how tall trees can be. Streets of gold? I don't know about that, I'm not much of a gold person, but scripture says so, so I'm sure it'll please me then (What I really think is that it's mostly a metaphor for the most luxurious, expensive, brilliant, magnificent things imaginable--and indescribable with our limited human vocabulary). But I'm thinking (perhaps also a metaphor) of wide mountain meadows and fresh water to drink that quenches the thirst we were never quite able to quench. And all the chains will come off, and we'll stand up straight and run, and hold hands and laugh. And the one who rules this dirty cave of a world we're so loathe to give up? He'll be bound forever, and we'll see, face-to-face, FACE-TO-FACE!!!, the one we've been longing for all our lives. That's what I'm banking on, anyway. It doesn't really matter what it's like. It only matters that we're out of the cellar, that the evil one is forever disposed of, and we're with the One who loves us. I want to be where Jesus is. As Psalm 84 says, "I would rather be a doorkeeper (even just at the door) in the house of my God, than to spend my life in the tents (or especially the cellar) of the wicked."

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