Saturday, November 3, 2007

Blessed are the Piece-makers

“Hi, I’m David and I’m an anxiety addict.” Every day I wonder if I can match up to others’ expectations of me. Do I perform my job correctly? Do I spend my free time effectively? This is what the little voice inside of me asks regularly. Or in bed at night, I think and wrestle over positive or negative ways that I can change myself, others or anything else I may be able to effect. These questions make me and keep me anxious. And I can’t seem to get away from them.

Several years ago, a speaker at my favorite summer camp spent the week talking about the beatitudes that Jesus lists in Matthew 5. At about that time, I had a shirt that stated one of them on the back: “Blessed are the Peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God” (Matthew 5:9). The speaker’s hope was that the campers would form their lives around what he referred to as the “Be-Attitudes.” As I grew, I continued to work at building my life around these truths. Now that I am older and wiser, I realize that I probably have, though because of my anxiety issue, I still find that true peace is a fleeting desire. I have also learned that there may be more Be-Attitudes than I originally thought.

My parents have been marriage and family councilors for years. My Dad has been a pastor since before I was born, and I have heard many testimonies of how they have brought about and encouraged healing in the lives of their clients. (See their website for more.) Because of people like them, I don’t believe the beatitudes of the New Testament are exhaustive, because I would not be surprised to hear Christ say something like this:

“Blessed are the Piece-makers for they shall be whole.”

People who look at my parents, and others like them, wonder in awe at how they can maintain a marriage, raise a family or disciple a community as they do. My answer: “Because they do their best to be piece-makers, they are blessed.”

Just like the other beatitudes, piece-makers are not only professional councilors, psychologists or pastors and others who seem to have their lives together. Piece-makers could also be stay at home parents, truck drivers, or hopefully S.E.A’s like me. They are nobody special. They are just people who enjoy a good relational puzzle every once in a while. They enjoy the challenge of getting others on track, slowly fitting one piece together with its unique partner designed by God to make that person whole.

Last week, over breakfast, my boss placed a basket on the table and encouraged all the others present to take a sheet of paper and pray for the name on the paper. I grabbed one quickly and placed it in my pocket. A few days later, I approached the person whose name I had picked and asked, “So, how can I be praying for you?” I could have also said, “How can I pray so that the pieces of your life may fit, become bigger and you may become whole?” We are supposed to be praying for these people for one week, but I hope to remember this colleague’s name in prayer until the pieces of her life fit together.

Who is your piece-maker? And to whom are you being a piece-maker? Over the past few years, I have felt somewhat incomplete. I have been a Christian for over eighteen years so faith has become a fairly large piece in my life and probably isn’t my problem. I have graduated from university and college, so I feel like I have achieved in the academic realm. I am part of a church family that loves me to pieces (no pun intended), and is willing to find and put the pieces that are missing, together. However, as I mentioned at the beginning, anxiety has always been a close but unwanted companion. If you drew my name out of the basket, feel free to pray against this unwanted companion in my life.

Each of us, no matter what our age, faith or occupation is, can play a role in putting someone else’s pieces back together and they can do the same for you. In that way, we may feel blessed.

Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit.
Blessed is the lamb whose blood flows.
Blessed are the sat upon, spat upon, ratted on,
O lord, why have you forsaken me?
I got no place to go,
I’ve walked around soho for the last night or so.
Ah, but it doesn’t matter, no.

Blessed - Simon & Garfunkel

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