Wednesday, May 5, 2010

My Life In A Convent

Yes, it's true. I use to live in a Catholic Convent...
A few years ago we bought a house and were in the process of selling the house we were in and moving to our new home. Unfortunately, the timing was off and we sold the house we were in and had to move out before we could get into the house we had just bought. Quite a quandary.
The Lutheran Church I grew-up in had just purchased this old Convent and was in the process of remodeling it for a new ministry. We inquired about perhaps moving in there for a few weeks until we could get into our new home ...and they agreed. They figured it was good to have someone there to look after the place until they could get their remodeling crew all lined-up. So they gave us the keys and we moved right in...
It was a huge place. It almost felt haunted because it was so big and old and quiet and it had so many rooms. Our cat went into a hole in the wall and we didn't see her for 3 days. When she finally emerged she was totally covered in dirt and cobwebs.... weird...
We slept upstairs and every morning I would say to my wife, "Did you hear that weird organ music in the middle of the night?"... It would always freak her out.
My two boys were pretty young, 8 and 10 years, I believe. It was cold that time of year so we couldn't do much outside. There was a fairly large room with built-in chairs on each side. I might have been The Chapel... probably was. Anyway, my kids and I invented this game that we played in the chapel. We called it "Peakball". I don't know how it got it's name. You know how a child's mind has such a goofy imagination. Maybe even one of my kids named it... can't say for sure.Peakball was just an old sock taped-up with masking tape. We played it like a soccer game, where one person had to kick the "ball" and hit the opposite wall (being guarded by another player) to score a point. It was great fun... I thought it might be sort of "sacrilegious", being in the old Chapel and all. I thought I heard God's voice one day while we were playing.... "He shoots!... He Scores!"...
After that I thought it was cool with Him.
I got up to shave one morning, went into the bathroom, and found that the mirror had been painted over....strange. So, I went into another bathroom (I think there were about 7 bathrooms in this place)...and THAT bathroom mirror had been painted over also!... It was the same with ALL the bathrooms... mirrors painted over... I must have gone out to my car to shave in the rear view mirror. I asked someone about this phenomenon and they told me that the "Sisters" who lived there painted over all the mirrors. They didn't want to look at themselves. They though it would be make them "prideful". They wanted to stay humble. They even had a little round tube thingy that, if they got a meal or message or anything from the outside world, whatever was delivered was stuck into this slot and they would spin it around into the next room to be received... so they never actually let anyone "see" them....or them see anyone else!..
You know, ... it's a weird thing about pride. The Bible tells us that it's embedded into the human heart. There's "good" pride,.. like when your kid hits a home-run in little league and you're proud of him (or her),.. and then there's this "bad" pride where you think you're pretty hot stuff, God's gift to women, or men, or humanity... kind of feeling.
Some people look in a mirror and are prideful, while others can look into that very same mirror and see nothing but shame. I use to be one of those people.... the ones who see shame.. and blame... and guilt...when they look into a mirror.
That was before I realized that I had been forgiven by God for all the crappy stuff I had done. He had forgiven me simply because I asked Him to. The hard part for me wasn't "Has God forgiven me?".... but, "Have I forgiven myself?"..... I think we're a lot harder on ourselves than God even thinks of being. Nowadays I can look into the mirror just fine. My life has been truly blessed. I can say to the man in the mirror, "You're a jerk. You don't deserve any of this!".... and the man looking back at me always says, "No, you use to be a jerk, and too frequently you still do jerky stuff, but, you're not the man you once were. And, yes, it is true that you DON'T deserve any of this good stuff!... it's all grace. Just don't forget, ....It's ALL grace...
So... live with it..."

1 comment:

  1. I'd always tended to concentrate & wallow in my sin, which, I came to realize, is a VERY PRIDEFUL act. Although I feel shame at the things I do because the Spirit convicts me, I can now see Grace for what it is and just be thankful that I have it. Experiencing freedom...oh, how sweet it is!