It had been a month since my engagement to Miska turned sour, and I was a real mess. The setting had been perfect. Miska and I were on top of Keystone Mountain overlooking Summit County, Colorado, and its rugged peaks. It was an early January evening with stars strung out across the sky and the brisk air forming to our breath. I dropped down on one knee and asked the most beautiful woman I have ever known to marry me. Amazingly, she said yes.
But something went awry between that romantic moment and our arrival back home in Texas. I freaked out. The drive back home was long, the many miles filled with painful talks and lots of silence. Before the trip ended, I had a diamond ring back in my pocket.
After I returned from the Colorado fiasco, I sat in my previously scheduled appointment with a psychiatrist who had been helping me struggle with another issue. On this particular day, he spoke out of turn. He meddled. Leaning back in this chair, he offered bluntly, "Winn, it's time for you to be a man. You need to make up your mind about Miska, and then you need to buck up and do it. No more whining."
Is this a typical psychiatric method? Beyond the fact that this particular issue was none of his concern, I expected a little more compassion, a little more introspection into the deep-seated roots of my anguish. Perhaps I would lie on the couch with dimmed lights and soft acoustic music. We would probe into my hurts and maybe even blame this unfortunate situation on my parents.
But he had told me to buck up, to stop whining. He had called me out, refused me an exit. He offered savage grace.
God is busy calling me out, refusing me an exit. He offers grace that at the time seems like everything but. He speaks when I expect a little solitude, and he goes mute when I expect communication to be fast and free. Frankly, there are many times when I just can't make sense of him. What is he up to? What is he doing? Is he doing anything?
God is near. He is personal. The Incarnation demonstrated God's identity with broken humanity. His humiliation on the cross and his victory in the Resurrection forever secured a radical embracing of his sinful and rebellious creation. Yet the otherness of God is a reality we will never escape. Try as we might, God will always be shrouded in some form of mystery. It must be so or the creature is equal to the Creator. Mystery is not something to be scorned or avoided. It is to be embraced. It is part of the wonder of the awesome moment when the human is in the presence of the Almighty.
~Winn Collier, Restless Faith: Holding On to a God Just Out of Reach
Ann just got a tattoo. Grace. It's all over her but the word itself rests on her right shoulder blade. She shared it with Miska and in return Miska shared her tattoo. Be Loved Be Brave. It's a great epilogue to the story above. Colliers desire to more fully know how deeply they are loved and to live bravely from that love. BW 08.18.13