Today I sat in church and it was packed. Strung with Christmas everything, lights twinkling, trees decked in holly and the chorus of Emmanuel’s joy sung in cheer.
But I was agitated. I didn’t want to be there. I scratched the skin around my nails — a habit I chose over biting them — and the restlessness in my leg could be felt by the whole row, I’m sure.
I even got up to go to the bathroom, which I’m usually embarrassed to do, and I sat there on a toilet, crying…until I got too angry that I was crying in a bathroom again, and I bitterly went back to my seat.
I say again because last night I found myself weeping on our bathroom floor, holding my unborn baby in my belly, and clamping my fists with every ounce of negative.
I’ve spent a lot of time weeping on bathroom floors in the last twenty-eight years, and I am tired.
Somehow I find it safe, hidden, removed. A ground that’s cold for my hands to touch, reminding me that I’m still alive, when the rest of my body has all the bad heat running through it. And a ground that’s hard enough for me to place the uncomfortable of all that life seemingly is into a tangible context.
I was so thankful for the humanity and the fleshy that the pastor brought into the teaching this morning. He brought out the raw of the Christmas story and somehow made bathroom floors relevant, all by breaking apart the traditional “O Holy Night'” and honing in on one phrase…
Long lay the world, in sin and error pining
and it made me relax a little in my humanness, amidst all the glitter, to say
Thank you, Jesus, for your coming
because yes this world is
rough and confusing
habitual and mean
selfish and ugly and deceived and misplaced
and its priorities aren’t You
and its dreams even further
and its needs are bone and flesh
instead of soul and free and true
and I’m tired of what it’s robbed
and how its eyes don’t see through You
…and I could keep going, but pretty much all the pining [missing and longing for] was coming out of me this morning…and on all the bathroom floors I’ve ever wept on.
Long lay the world.
From the start of creation, or really chapter three, humanity was wrecked and our need for that baby so clear.
I love Christmas, it’s my favorite time of year, but this year I’ve felt the Lord’s grace wrap me up so intimately, to be able to say
It is not all merry & bright. I’m with you on the bathroom floors.
I have so much to be thankful for. I know that.
But as Brene’ Brown so clearly says,
“I think our capacity for wholeheartedness can never be greater than our willingness to be broken-hearted. It means engaging with the world from a place of vulnerability and worthiness.”
Our culture and the generations and the world speaks against this. It speaks to vulnerability as a measure of weakness (or weird and foreign and exposed), instead of the courage it illuminates through our life.
And here’s the thing, we don’t have the privellege of measuring another person’s broken.
The why we find ourselves on bathroom floors doesn’t need to be justified or rational or sensical or huge. The why is literally because the world was drenched in sin, one what-could-have-been-fine day.
I’m walking life with some other people choosing the real and raw range of what being a person in this sinful and error-wayed world is… people who have their own versions of bathroom floors and tears. It may sound calloused, but these are the folks I’ve most seen get it.
They get the “reason for the season” with me. They know why the world was pining for so long. They know the next line, and not just by heart, but wholeheartedly…through naming and owning brokenness.
Till He appeared and the soul felt its worth.
Our worth, set apart from our nakedness and world-choosing and grief and confusion. Our worth found in the cry of a tiny little baby whose birth made hope alive.
We can decorate and eat cookies and string lights and sing carols and spread Christmas cheer until the day after Christmas dawns…and I will be a part of that in genuine joy…but here’s where my bathroom floor tears are begging you…
Are you seeing people?
And if you are, are you just seeing them or are you walking the uncomfortable feet to go sit down with them–on the cold, hard floor–to say, I get it–until they are ready to do the joy things too?
Are you inviting people in by being vulnerable yourself?
Or are you just masking your broken with the hustle, and Christmas parties, and fake smiles and the “doing” and the motions of the season?
I’m a big believer that the most broken-looking people are the ones that have some of the greatest light to be felt, shined, caught, kindled, known…especially in a season that speaks to the solution to our mess.
For yonder breaks, a new glorious morn.
Fall on your knees.
We can, we should, fall on our knees.
For every bathroom floor I’ve wept on, there has always been a glory in the breaking. Sometimes that glory takes awhile to be felt, seen, known and understood– but I always know it’s coming– because He already came.
Sweet baby Jesus, He sees you there.