Friday, April 25, 2008


As the Lebanese civil war raged on, the curator of the Beirut museum worried about his art and artifacts. Constant shelling and mortar fire between East and West Beirut threatened to damage the goods. To protect his wares, he built wooden frames around each item, then filled in the air with concrete, locking away the precious inside the safe. His theory was that later, after the shelling and mortar fire stopped, they could chisel out what they had tucked away.

And he knew every piece by its location. He still gave tours of the museum, pointing to this or that concrete block before talking about what treasure lay inside of it.

People have been touring my landscape for years. I, too, have been hidden inside of a concrete block, the walls of defense I had put up around myself to live through civil war, to avoid the mortar rounds and shells. Some saw only the walls, the defenses, and could not believe anything valuable lay hidden beneath it all. Others saw through me the entire time, noting only the beauty that lay within. It is this latter group that I am now most thankful for - the people who never gave up on me when I gave up on myself.

I don't know whether he ever got to chisel the museum fodder out of the concrete or not or how it turned out if he did. All I know is that every day now, I am being chipped away at - shaped not only by how I see what is inside myself, but also by what others have seen and refused to give up on. Especially God.

I read something in the Bible or get a sense from looking out a window of what was created 23 years ago (24 if you count gestation - which raises the question...why aren't we born 1 year old? Anyway...), and I see where God is. He's holding the chisel.

In my portfolio, I hold a drama about this very principle, but I never saw it in myself until now (and I have never performed this skit). It's God, holding the chisel, chipping away at everything a man holds dear until there's nothing left but Spirit, nothing but God and man, barebones. And ironically, man ends up more whole than when God began, despite all the holes.

There's something hole-y about wholeness. Isn't that ironic?

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