Sunday, January 24, 2016


Have you ever experienced an overwhelming feeling?  You know the kind that take your breathe away and leave your heart racing?  Or the kind that drench you in sweat and awaken you from a deep sleep?  What about those moments that you are overwhelmed by joy and simply left speechless?  Grappling with words to try and adequately express something that words simply can not define? When no combination of letters and sounds can convey what is on your heart? 

Here lately there is a common thought that seems to be running through my mind. I have not been able to get it to leave my thoughts.  Ironically it has also shown up in a book that I am reading and in the movie that I watched yesterday with my husband. 

The lost.
Maybe its feeling lost.  
Maybe its being lost.  
Maybe its trying to reconnect with the lost.  
Maybe its about remembering the lost.
Maybe its about finding the lost.
Maybe its about never giving up on the lost.

My husband and I read together every morning and every night.  In the morning, we independently read the bible, usually during the same time.  At night, after the boys are in bed we read a book together.  We take turns reading aloud half a chapter or a few pages (depending on how deep the content of the book is).  It is a nice way to connect and discuss and its always neat when somehow whatever we are reading in the bible overlaps or adds to what we are reading in the evening together.  We are currently reading The Comeback by Louie Giglio.  I have to say that prior to this book coming in the mail we had started another one and it was a combination of stories of, "underdogs, misfits and the art of battling giants."  It didn't keep our interest and was hard to get into, so when The Comeback arrived, we were eager to start that one.  And guess what?!?  Its a book about others and their comebacks....So perhaps, for right now - the message we need to hear is about the comebacks that other people have experienced.  I suppose it is renewing our hope?!?!?

Last night we read about the frustration of feeling locked out when it comes to the church. He was talking about the image that some churches put forth, coming across as "high and mighty" or religious, using different language and indirectly coming off as closed off to others. He talked about exclusion that takes place in some churches.  Sending the message that you are in or out, you've done it right or done it wrong.  He brings us to Luke chapter 15. He reminds us that we are to welcome those who are, "failing and flailing." I love one line in particular when the people became confused by the fact that when Jesus appeared, he did things they didn't think he would -  he welcomed the sinners. In some strange amount of irony, sinners were getting closer to Jesus while the religious people were backing away from him.  

 Louie dives into Luke 15 a little deeper and talks about how Jesus responded to these 'religious people.' I can honestly say I have heard this story quite a few times.  Even people who are not familiar with the bible, when they hear, "the parable of the lost sheep," they know the basics - a shepherd goes off to find the one lost sheep, even if that means leaving the other 99.  He carries it on his shoulders and rejoices because he is safely back.  Another parable in the same chapter talks about the hunt for the missing coin and the rejoicing that happens when it is found.  And the other common parable in Luke chapter 15 is that of the lost son and once again, rejoicing when he comes home.  In each parable, they didn't give up on what or who was lost.  Sometimes to the extent of putting things on hold.  An example was provided for the lost sheep parable - "Let's take any gathering where there are supposed to be, say, 2000 people.  If 1 percent of the crowd doesn't show up, just 20 people, God would say to the other 1,980 in the room, "Hold on," and he would go after the lost ones. After he found them, he'd say to them, "I know I have a whole room full of people, but I want you in the story too.  You see, I know your name, and you matter to me."

This left me with the question, is that how we treat the people who are in our life? Do you notice when somebody isn't there?  Do you tell the others, 'hold on I need to go find___.' Or do you just move on? Sometimes I feel forgotten. I feel lost. I feel like my presence does not matter.  I don't think this is how God wants us to feel.  I think our society has become so absorbed with "knowing" what is going on in somebody elses life that sometimes we fail to stop and talk to the person.  We read a status update on facebook, we follow somebodies blog detailing their struggles, we tweet and pin and share - but somehow remain lost.  This has to change. 

The Lost.
The lost sheep.
The lost coin.
The lost son. 
The Lost. The found. The rejoicing.

This concept has been close to my heart for some time, and for once I feel like it is not an unrealistic expectation.  But rather I feel that this is the way it should be! I think we should notice when somebody is missing but not stop there.  We need to reach out to others when they are not present because the struggles they face may be huge, and they may be just one person, and it may mean leaving a crowd behind to reach them --- but the message you share by your actions when you do that --- changes them forever.  It tells them they are important and their life matters.

So that was how the book tied into my thoughts of feeling lost and then my husband and I were watching one of Robin Williams earlier movies, titled Awakenings and it was sad and hopeful, an inside look of a mental institution and the people who ran it and the struggles these patients faced.  Many of them appearing to be "lost" but still alive.  One doctor comes in and tries a new medication, and for the chemical window that it worked, these people (many of whom were in a catatonic state) came back and shared how they were taking in everything that was happening.  While this is a movie, it was very touching.  Perhaps it was some of the final words shared by Robin Williams that stood out to me the most and somehow ties together this idea of being lost and looking out for others.

"The human spirit is more powerful than any drug and that is what needs to be nourished.  we have forgotten the simplest things."  Robin Williams Awakening

Look around.  Think about the people in your life.  Think about the people who have crossed your path.  Did some fade away because of life - new job, moving to a different state, etc.? Some lost to the expiration of life? Are there any people who just quit showing up and you don't know why?  Be grateful for those people who check on your, who notice when you aren't present, who reach out to let you know they noticed.  Be grateful for those people who grab your hand and hold on no matter what.  Life is short.  We are not guaranteed tomorrow. Everything can change in an instant. Let others know that you notice them, that they matter, that they are important. 


Kim Lahaie Day said...

I get this, Rachel. Sometimes, particularly on Sundays, I feel like I bustled through pre- and post-worship and possibly missed somebody. Of course, some people might prefer that but mostly I would feel badly if I missed greeting someone. Those of us with a responsibility on Sundays get focused on that and possibly overlook those on the periphery. It seems 'we' talked about this before?



Rachel Van Deusen said...

Yes, we have! And if I recall what made you stand our during a function I had attended was how welcoming you were! Keep doing what you are doing!