the-starry-night-wallpapers_14829_2560x16002The Starry Night (Vincent Van Gogh)

The following is something I wrote in my journal four or five years ago.

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I don’t know how to put this into words, so I won’t even try to do it well…

I was sitting outside tonight, enjoying my yard, enjoying the night.  Suddenly, the world was opened to me (or, rather, my eyes were opened).  I saw that everything—night sky, stars, trees, grass—is a gift.  Really, everything is a parable of the Giver, God.  The gift is the Giver’s glory.  Then I understood that I am part of the gift.  My purpose, who I am, is to be given in the way God determines, just as a star is placed where He wants so it may shine; just as a tree grows where He calls for beauty and shade.

I was released from every expectation, every law—whether outer or inner.  I only have to be part of the gift, an expression of the Giver.  I don’t have to achieve anything.  God made me part of His gift.  I am part of the gift because I exist.  The gift shows us that God is a Giver in the verb sense—He gives and gives and gives unendingly, exhaustively.  This is who He is.

This is the difference between me and God: I don’t have to give, I just have to be given.  When He fed 5,000 people, He gave the bread, and the bread was given.  The bread didn’t give.  It was distributed as He wanted.  This only becomes difficult when we try to keep ourselves.  We then find ourselves resisting, trying to hold onto ourselves though we don’t belong to ourselves.  We belong to the Giver and then to the receiver.  If I made a present of a puppy to you, and the puppy growled and tried to bite each of us, this would describe the state in which humans often live.  To live this way is to be completely out of sync with reality: “For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it” (Matt. 16:25).

Whoever lays himself in the hands of the Giver and is given away finds his true life.  This shouldn’t be a thing of striving or trying to be giving.  It is a letting go so we can be given.  Trying hard to be giving is just another form of saving ourselves.  We give to avoid being given.  But to be given is to rest and simply be (a) present.