Just got out of the shower. After years of being a morning shower person, among the myriad changes brought on by my nerve damage was the need to shower before sleeping. The whole of my skin is much more sensitive these days and in order to sleep soundly, it must be clean and cool. So I stand in the shower for long moments just before slipping into bed. And the best day of the week is the one where we've just changed the sheets. Far be it from me to get into clean sheets with dirty skin. No, that would be anathema to me.
And now you know a whole lot about my nightly ablutions. But there's a point to this, and it's patently NOT that I want you thinking of me standing in the shower. But I've often had the best conversations of my life in the shower. And the best cries, too, for that matter. About a decade ago, when E was a high schooler she didn't like to cry. In fact, whenever she did, she'd say, "I think I'm just tired." She was tired a whole lot in a particular season, and though she had good reason, that reason is not mine to tell, so I'll just say that I suggested she get into the shower and let the tears fall. But my daughter is not me, and it didn't work for her. What does work is commercials about dogs. For me too, come to think of it. But that's another story.
As usual, I digress. It's what you get when you sign into this blog. I'm a story-teller, after all.
I shower at night.
And have conversations with people who aren't in the shower with me. Work out conflicts. It's a whole lot more effective than writing angry letters. Writing such letters isn't bad in and of itself; it's the sending them that is a problem. My siblings and I were recipients of such letters during our growing up and even adult years. Our impulsive mother with a razor-sharp temper never understood that such letters were dangerous, devastating and a prudent approach (in person) was healthier. Likewise, knee-jerk emails and texts sent in anger often have similarly negative results because they don't allow for real communication.
So I work out such anger in the shower.
But mostly, primarily, I talk to God. Sometimes Beve comes in and asks what's going on in there because I've been standing there so long. He was raised by a dad who believed in 'navy showers', so called because on ship water is necessarily, though counter-intuitively, in short supply. Get wet, soap up, shampoo, rinse off. Done. And none of us take extraordinarily long showers around here. Still, sometimes I get distracted. Just stand there in the spray, praying and singing and forget what I'm about. Like a foolish child.
It was like that tonight. No conflict or burning anger that needed to be worked and prayed out. But this weekend it's like I've been pulled into Ephesus. Listen to these words from Revelation 2--"You have forsaken the love you had at first. Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first." 'Return to your first love,' is how a different translation puts it. That was His word.
And suddenly these words from His letter to Ephesians (a letter which was very likely a copy of a circular, meaning it was sent to many churches all over the region, but this is the one we have) is in BOLD print. Taking these words alongside what He speaks to the Ephesians in Revelations is powerful. It's like a blueprint for what our first love IS, how rich it can be in us. And it makes the 'return' and repentance not a chore or a struggle but a 'Father, may I?'. Like, 'I must have you in my life." It's the burning desire, the only desire. Because after all, what else is there to desire than the magnificent words that Paul prays for us in the last seven verses of Ephesians 3 (14-21).
For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and earth derives its name. I pray that out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord's people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ and to know this love that surpasses knowledge--that you maybe be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
Now to Him who is able to do immeasurable more than all we ask or imagine, according to His pwoer that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever! Amen.