Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Keeping Connected

I should start this post with a clever list of all the reasons I have not kept connected through my blog. There are many excuses and many items on the pages of past calendar days. But, I'm not feeling creative enough to come up with that list. Rather, I'm pondering what it means to be connected to something else.

For the past 30 days, I have been connected at all times to a heart monitor. Four electrodes have been attached to my body, all stemming from the same sensor. This sensor has been in constant contact with a cell phone that has been (at most times) within 10 feet of my body. I've carried the thing around with me for a month. I have scars to prove that the electrodes have been attached to me as my skin developed an allergic reaction to the sticky substance that attaches them. I have been connected at all times.

There are times, however, when it was impossible to stay connected. I had to un-attach all the wires at shower time. There were other times when I mistakenly failed to bring the battery charger with me and the hours of the day ticked past the hours allowed by the phone. There were other times when my body moved too much during the night, forcing the electrodes to become unattached. And, there was another day when try as I might, I could not get the sensor and the phone to communicate with each other.

I was to be connected at all times. When a connection failed, I was alerted. My phone beeped. My sensor beeped. The company who administers the test would call leaving messages on my voice mail. Every effort was made to keep me connected - to keep me in contact at all times.

And it was hard. It was downright difficult. I hated the monitor by day 10. I was counting down the remaining days by day 5. My skin was a mess at day 15. I wanted to do whatever I could to flee from the presence of the monitor - to un-attach everything and send the unit back to the company who mailed it to me. But Lifewatch would not let me get too far. The beeping captured my attention. The phone calls continued. I could not get away from the monitor and the instructions I had been given on how and when to wear it.

In the 139th Psalm, David speaks of an inescapable God. There is no place we can go that is outside the boundary of God's presence. "Where can I go from your spirit? Or where can I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there; if I make my bed in Sheol, you are there. If I take the wings of the morning, and settle at the farthest limits of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me fast," state verses 7 to 12.

There is no place we can go to escape God's presence. God is with us at all times - whether we are running towards God or running away from God - whether we are embracing God's call or pretending as though we can no longer hear.

I tried to run last week. I put my hands in my air and sought to tell God that I was no longer going to do something God wanted me to do. I threw my fist in the air and shouted at God, asking why God would make me stay in something I deemed not worthy of my time and attention. But, God won. God sent people into my life to tell me what a difference I had made in the exact situation I was seeking to flee. God reminded me through powerful voices of who I am and what I have been called to do - even if I don't like it. God met me in the exact place I was trying to get away from. And, I now am praying for an opportunity to redeem myself - for a chance to do over again what I sought hard to escape last week.

The heart monitor was a pain - it was a nagging presence that I could not get away from. And yet, that little machine has the capacity to help me. It has the potential to show physicians what might be causing me pain and discomfort - what might be pushing me to pass out. The pain might actually be filled with a blessing. Only time will tell.

God's voice can also be a pain. I don't like everything God tells me to do. I cannot figure out why God does not seem to listen to everything I say - why God is seemingly absent at times. I have not yet figured out how to mold God into the God I want and think I need. Still, God keeps nagging. God keeps speaking. God keeps affirming. God keeps calling. And somehow, in the midst of it all, I have grown to love this voice - to see the blessing that comes from this still small voice.

Thank you, God, for searching me and knowing me. Thank you for being with me whether I sit down or rise up. Thank you for never allowing me to run too far. I am grateful for the ways in which you always lead me back. Amen.

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