My heart is a happy throbbing thing, purring with joy most of the time, barely noticed, but sometimes skipping a beat and then sticking another one in, randomly. They call it an extra systole, but I know it’s just a small skip of joy. And sometimes my heart speeds up, clumsy and irregular, clacketty-clack, plummet and swoop and lurch, and I stand still and wait for the thundering to subside, to think about that miracle muscle with a life of its own, and I tell God how great He is and what good ideas He has. You know, I quite like it when the heart flips out of rhythm. It usually lasts just a few minutes, sometimes half an hour and, very occasionally, all day. It reminds me that I am fearfully and wonderfully made. God is in the heart of me, the bones and rushing blood of me, binding heart and mind and life together. And I remember that life is transient and death but a heartbeat away. You can have a dicky heart but still enjoy the knowledge that it’s stuttering on, broken but still full of thanks and praise, and that it can stop at any second. Weird, huh?
My heart dips and splutters when I think about certain things too, like when I read Job 26 “He spreads out the northern skies over empty space; he suspends the earth over nothing.” As someone who gets vertigo, the thought of empty space is dizzying, and it can actually cause my heart to miss a beat! A physical beat, and if I think about it too long, I do get dizzy.
If I’m watching TV and some clever director suddenly gives us an aerial view of skyscrapers pointing down down into the street below, I have to close my eyes and grip the chair. And those ‘bird’s eye views’ they do with drones swooping across the sky… forget it. Sick bag time for some of us.
If I see people walking within ten metres of a cliff edge it’s all I can do not to shout “Get away from the edge!” My pal Lisa and I sometimes go for breakfast at a nearby harbour and the road is about 20ft wide I suppose, then there’s a wall of about 3ft high, and then there’s a wide pavement with benches on it, and only then is there a sharp drop into the harbour. I walk a road away, a wall away, a pavement away, a bench away, and still feel dizzy.
As for Isaiah 40:26 “Lift up your eyes and look to the heavens: who created all these?” …. well, if I tilt my head back and look up to the stars, chances are that I’ll lose all orientation and slowly stagger backwards, helpless….. I once walked on a bridle path with a famous actor and he pointed at the stars and I looked and ….. yep, arms flailing I slowly fell flat on my back, one beautiful summer’s evening in rural Derbyshire with a handsome TV hero laughing so hard he couldn’t help me up.
If my dogs clamber onto the rocks and I have to follow them to do what all good dog-owners do (poo related), coming back down is a nightmare – I can’t balance, and it’s like trying to judge distance with just one eye, or like being tipsy. How big is that rock? If I put my foot on it, what will happen to the rest of me, what effect does gravity have at this angle? Hopeless.
This was the beach this morning, the immense sky, the relentless waves, the silver sunshine… I sat on a log and read Job 26, and thought about the Earth being suspended, and nothingness, and space, and my heart plunged and my balance went and it was lovely.
It was! Don’t look at me like that. It was.
Right, Luce, you lunatic – why does ALL that make you glad? Because it reminds me, daily, sometimes continuously, how immense God is, how powerful, how amazing, how fearsome, how fabulous, how creative, and just plain bloomin’ clever!
I’m glad about all of this because, weirdly, all these things make me realise how tiny, tiny, tiny I am in the great scale of things. How tiny mankind is. How we can topple over a cliff edge and be done. How our days are numbered.
Our vulnerabilities are blessings when they remind us of who we are and who He is. They free us up to love him as He should be loved, with a giddying, wonderful gratitude, joy, humility and elation. That God! That God! That’s the God who loves me. Oh, yes.
I have pals who choose a word every year to dwell on, think about, honour and study. This year their word is ‘joy’. It seems as if God is telling me that my word is ‘humility’.
Or ‘Know your place.’ It’s so good to know your place. Lowly, helpless, vulnerable, mostly wrong, but always always loved and precious and part of God’s family.
Then, apropos of nothing, and with no particular reason for including it in this blog,
because Job is so exciting, I kept on reading and then I found this – oh, listen, my little froodlepips, I found this:
But where can wisdom be found?
Where does understanding dwell?
No mortal comprehends its worth;
it cannot be found in the land of the living.
The deep says, ‘It is not in me’;
the sea says, ‘It is not with me.’
It cannot be bought with the finest gold,
nor can its price be weighed out in silver.
It cannot be bought with the gold of Ophir,
with precious onyx or lapis lazuli.
Neither gold nor crystal can compare with it,
nor can it be had for jewels of gold.
Coral and jasper are not worthy of mention;
the price of wisdom is beyond rubies.
The topaz of Cush cannot compare with it;
it cannot be bought with pure gold.
Where then does wisdom come from?
Where does understanding dwell?
I know the answer to that one! In God and in God alone.