I was telling Beve about this the other night before we went to sleep. About this ridiculous ability to remember things I've done and places I've been, not quite like those people who remember every day of their lives, but close enough that it's sometimes ridiculous. He didn't say much, but he's not only used to me, but uses that file cabinet of memories in filling out medical records, to correct his dad and Thyrza, or all kinds of other things.
But that night (or Sunday morning, actually) I dreamed I got a call from Beve's sister, Glo. It wasn't a dream that she was living and calling me from her house somewhere. No, she was very much passed on to eternity, living the good life with Christ in heaven. It was so great to talk to her, so amazing. I held the phone in one hand, was motioning with another, so the room was filling up with people who waiting in line to talk to her. As it would. Somehow (you know how dreams go!), it morphed so that I was in a car on the Oregon coast, still talking to her on the phone. Then I asked her, "Do you remember all the times we had Christmas here together?"
She answered, "The facts of life on earth aren't the important things to remember."
"Then what is?" I asked.
And then I woke up.
I've been chewing on that for the last day. Every so often God teaches me something very important through a dream. It would be nice if He'd do it every night, though I suppose I'd be in such a hurry to get to bed, after while I'd be staying there all the time, and be no good to anyone. And He tends to mix things up, our God does. We never really know which way the wind will blow, do we? And often, it's not just one thing. But this started with that dream.
Then this morning, I opened a book I've been reading, The Passionate Intellect, by Alistar McGrath. And came to this sentence, "the cross [is] a lens through which we should view reality." And this, "Luther stressed that the cross offers us the most secure standpoint from which to view and cope with [the] deep ambiguities within the natural order, human culture and our own experience" (60).
It was like the wake-up call I needed to clarify the dream. It isn't that we don't have these facts of life, it's that we must sift them through the cross' T-bars, must allow the cross to shape what counts in our memories. Not merely hold on to things for their own sake but because they have value that lasts. Value that is governed by Christ. If this is true, it means that suffering is more important that we want to believe. What we want to believe is that the cessation of suffering is the important part, but in terms of our salvation it was Christ's suffering that counted. And therefore, shouldn't we also assume that this might be true for us as well? Shouldn't we also expect Him to use in us what He used in His Son? To will and to work for His good pleasure?
And if the cross is the 'secure standpoint' in our lives, it means that when we most feel afraid, most feel alone, most feel the absence, we are also most in His care. Because THE cross is the place where God turned His back, He will never turn His back on us. No matter how dark our lives feel. Isn't this true? Isn't it? We are safe because Jesus wasn't.
These are the things I've been thinking about. There are more, I'm certain. But I know this. The cross of Christ--this is the important thing to remember, the one thing which must inform all my relationships, all my experiences, and all my relationships. Cross-shaped memories. How does that sound?