I was reading a Bible verse this week from Mark chapter five, "At first they were in awe - and then they were upset, upset over the drowned pigs. They demanded that Jesus leave and not come back."
The story is about Jesus crazily, miraculously saving a man who has been in bondage for years. The whole situation is hard to wrap my head around. (Jesus sets the man free by sending the spirit that was terrorizing him into a herd of pigs and those pigs commit mass suicide and jump off a cliff.)
It's an intense drama to say the least, but the beauty of it is that Jesus reaches behind all the fear, all the pandemonium and gives this poor man his freedom, he gives him his life back. At first people are so excited with him and are in awe. But then they notice the pigs. And they are angry about the pigs.
As I was reading this I realized how often I am upset over the pigs. Freedom and grace is messy business. So is obedience. As a mama I see freedom and obedience in the trails of glitter and cut up craft paper and really loud noises through my home. I see it in lengthy conversations, repetition, patience, a willingness to hear honesty and allowing individuality in my house. As a wife I see it in the choices of release, in the absence of control, in trust and letting go.
As people, friends, we see it in hurts and misunderstandings, forgiveness and hard choices. In muddy, human, emotional messes. Freedom is beautiful, catalytic, and completely and totally out of our control. Sometimes it feels like we are jumping off the cliff, sometimes it feels like our sanity is. But always, never is it something we are in charge of.
I have been so convicted this week not to lose my awe. Not to notice pigs. For those folks it was their loss of income - a valid complaint, but a poor comparison to what was really valuable. I am praying my heart will celebrate freedom, generosity, kindness, grace, answered prayers - and not complain about pigs. I have too often complained about and focused on the pigs.
It's embarrassing. But true.