Our cat Patches was one cool cat. Until . . . catnip entered the picture.
If he caught even the faintest hint, he was absurd. Gone was his cool swag as he made the pathetic mewing sounds and gladly followed anyone with catnip to the nearest brown bag where he could roll in it like a fool.
Eden is my catnip.
Working with Danielle, Patty, and Kimberly on who would write the Grove posts for December, I saw (remembered) that January started off with Eden and I line jumped them so fast they didn’t see it coming. Ponder? Wonder? Seek? Traditions? Who cares!!!! My soul was mewing and it was pathetic—in the best sense—and I’ve been twitching with anticipation ever since.
When you love something so much you barely can make a complete sentence, where do you start? Okay, Amy, breath deeply and calmly share how this holy
obsession interest was sparked.
Stories can start in unlikely places and this one started in a hotel in Chiangmai. My room was on the 17th floor, I was in town for over two weeks of meetings and a conference. Needless to say, I had a lot of time to out my window and this was the view:
When you look at it, you might wonder what’s so paradigm shifting about a fairly ordinary scene. I can only claim the glorious, mysterious whisper of the Holy Spirit. I wrote about how this picture reflects three realities: pool side, the rancid canal, and the bird’s eye view.
As is true of many paradigm shifts, I hadn’t realized a major shift has started in my soul. I returned to China and my routines, one of which included going to the gym. I don’t know why, but when my gym had gone through a renovation, the elliptical machines were relocated and flipped 180 degrees. So, instead of being able to distract myself with people watching, the four elliptical machines faced the wall. Only one machine had anything potentially distracting, so day after day I selected the machine in front of this sign:
Listening to podcasts or music I read this again and again. You in the fitness, the safekeeping that she has financial. Please carry valuable to prevent theft.
Exercising for (ideally) 40 minutes.
You in the fitness.
You in the fitness.
When I first came to China, I understood why translations were so poor, come on, there is no real reason for the safekeeping that she has financial. I’d laugh or sputter at how unnecessary these poor translations are or rejoice in job security. Exercising. Exercising. Bouncing up and down in front of You in the fitness.
And then one day the Holy Spirit whispered: “Amy, that’s how you sound in the Language of Eden.”
“Your heart language, your native tongue, should have been: LOVE, FAITH, HOPE, CONTENTMENT.
“But instead you learned to speak the foreign language of jealousy, disbelief, despair, and discontentment. You are fluent in the Language of Eden Lost.”
We were meant for paradise. For harmony. For love. But we doubted, and doubt led to disobedience which led to death and brokenness. That which should have been our native tongue became a foreign one.
I so often miss that brokenness was never meant to come so naturally to me and certainly not from me. It wasn’t meant to come so easily to those around me either. But it does. We must learn to speak how we should have been speaking all along.
A major lie that has been sown far and wide is that we can’t speak it fluently, so why try.
But here’s the truth, as with any language, I can learn. You can learn. We can learn. Our vocabulary can be added to. The grammar of love can be studied and played with. New ways of looking at a concept can be cultivated.
I am growing in my ability to speak how the perfected me will speak one day. But like that cloudy mirror mentioned to the Corinthians, too often I have a thick tongue. What I mean to say comes out the spiritual version of, “You in the fitness.”
Forgiveness enormous more than pointing.
Patience more better than swish.
God is so colleague better.
You in the fitness. You in the broken Eden. Read this sign and be encouraged. You will not always speak so brokenly, so woundingly, so awkwardly. Begin to try now to speak how you will speak then.
To speak your true native language, the language of Eden.
A few days after I finished this post I went for a walk and saw this in the snow. Isn’t it ideal for what we’ve been talking about this week!
I really am a bit obsessed with this :). I hope to write book on Eden and one year blogged 31 Reminders from Eden. I have found signs to be a helpful way to slow me down and create space to reflect on what I sound like. In the comments today, first of all, say whatever you want! But second, if you’ve got a sign with an interesting language translation or phrasing, you can upload it in the comments. Let’s see what God has for us today from the signs around the world.
Then join us at The Grove. It’s where we all gather to share our thoughts, our words, and our art on our weekly prompt. So join us in the comments. Show us your art work by adding an image. And link up your own blog posts on this week’s prompt. Click here for details and instructions.