Spiritual Paper Cuts

Julian of NorwichThis blog was started a year ago in the weeks after we lost our house. It was one of the most devastating experiences of my life.

One minute I was a home owner….

And in the next the bank was changing the locks.

We didn’t even have time to get everything out of the house. The court made the order to repossess just a few days before Christmas and we decided to spend the holiday celebrating with our kids rather than packing.

Most folks would say that loosing your home has to be one of the Most Terrible Things Ever. And it’s true. When the bank forecloses on your house, you feel like shit. To deny that would be a lie.

But here’s the thing – it’s not at bad as you think.

And in some ways, it’s a gift. At least it was for me.

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No Wussies Allowed

You can stack them but you can't throw them...
You can stack them but you can’t throw them…

I call myself a Wayseeker – someone who seeks to follow the way of Jesus, This is actually a lot harder than it sounds.

Here is what I have determined about Jesus and his Way thus far:

1. Forgiveness is mandatory.

2. Revenge is not allowed under any circumstances.

3. Judging other people is strictly forbidden.

4. You have to love a lot of unsavory people.  In fact, you have to love everyone. That can get tiring, let me tell you.

5. Caring for the sick, the needy, the destitute, the possessed, outcasts, adulterers, thieves and all folks of questionable virtue and cleanliness is another requirement.

6. Being rich is a liability.

7. Being a woman is not a liability.

8. The Kingdom of God is here. Right now.

9. We are all members of the Kingdom.

10. Love is the price of entry into the Kingdom. All other debts and liabilities have been redeemed by Jesus.

So essentially the Beatles were right.  All you need is love.

But like I said, that is easier than it sounds.  I mean, it sounds straightforward in the abstract, but when you get down to real people and real situations, it is pretty darn tough to live the Way.

Take, for example, a couple of lessons from my own life this week.

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We Were Robbed….but not quite

We were driving through a quaint Welsh village (Betws-y-Coed, since you asked), just getting ready to sling-shot free of civilization and head for the pass at Mount Snowdon, when my husband showed me an email.

The Pass at Mt Snowdon, Gwynedd, north Wales
The Pass at Mt Snowdon, Gwynedd, north Wales

We’d been waiting to receive our security deposit back from a short-term vacation rental. The email was from the “letting” agency informing us on a “without prejudice” basis that the owner had discovered blue crayon on a wall in the property and since he had been unsuccessful in removing the crayon, he was keeping the deposit in order to repaint the room.

Because you need to repaint an entire room when you are touching up some blue crayon.

I was blinded by anger.  My face became hot, and my blood pressure soared as my stomach dropped. I raged  against the injustice.

You see, my youngest boys – who, at 2 and 3 years old are the only ones who still consider colouring fun, and colouring walls exceedingly so – do not have any crayons, blue or otherwise.

Not only that, but my husband and I went over that cottage with a fine tooth comb before we left, cleaning it as if Jesus himself was going to be the next guest there.  There was no blue crayon marks.  Not one. Anywhere.

The guy was lying and it sent me into a mental tailspin.   I was overwhelmed by fantasies of revenge.  I mentally composed my negative review for Tripadvisor (take that!), drafted my arguments for small claims court, and imagined an internet
Campaign of Destruction whereby I’d buy up all the domain names with his company name in it and write negative blog posts (SEOd up to the gills) so that anyone searching for his cottages would find my bad reviews first.

He might be able to keep my money, but I’d damned well make him pay for it.

Continue reading We Were Robbed….but not quite