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  • Writer's pictureLaura Hewett

I Am a Stone

When I was in high school, I fell in love with Ryan Clark's voice. My passionate and undying love has not wavered in the past fifteen years, and can you blame me?

It's hard to say, that I'm back on a straight line You see my path is in fact just a fault line

I’m familiar with ups and downs, emotional highs and lows, from bouts with serious depression and serious spiritual oppression to joy indescribable. I'm actually thriving in so many ways through lockdown lite even with the extension through December 20, and my counselor told me during the first lockdown that I've actually coped with incredible vitality in an unprecedented situation. Some people look at my rocky path and assume the worst, but I promise you, this is the best possible life imaginable because it's the one the Lord has gifted me with. The earthquakes in my life are the norm, and I'm riding them out with rich resilience built into me from years of tremors.

It's in my blood, it's in my lungs and it won't die I fight these words, I bite my tongue so I don't lie

This strange life I lead with shifting ground has disorienting moments for sure, but I've grown through this season by turning my attention away from how others are failing and even how I'm making mistakes to setting my eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of my faith, and listening to what I'm called to do each day.

Though it's me to blame There is no more shame in me, in me

I've had plenty of opportunity in life, and particularly in this season, to see how I've fallen short, but I'm not wallowing in that shame of mistakes based on my own limited information in the moment. Instead, I've taken new opportunities to own up to my shortcomings and adapt to live in a more gracious and gentle way, attempting a lifestyle based on responding to the needs of others instead of assuming the worst of them.

I just feel the same, immune to all this pain And the scars don't write a song for me at all

One of the keys to my resilience is to not be overwhelmed with emotions. The important balance to learn is to still feel them instead of shutting them out completely. The scars on my back don't tell my story; I choose to pause and compose the words I want to say. I think that's why I've been so drawn to writing poetry over the past six months. There's layers to each line, and I can hold the tension of a metaphor that says the scars aren't writing a song, but I can write a song with my scars. Better yet, I can listen to the symphony the Lord composes redeeming my scars and making me an agent of healing in this world.

I am a stone, unaffected Rain hell down onto me Flesh and bone, unaffected Your fool I will not be

Again, there's tension in the lyrics for me - I am not wave tossed by the world, so in that sense, bring it on: I've been through hell already, what can you throw at me? Concurrently, I am a stone only in the sense that my identity doesn't come from the world, so the hell thrown at me doesn't change my position as a dearly loved child of God, made in his image, and fully human. My full humanity includes being affected, being flesh and bone that is responsive to community.

I try to see and believe in the short sight Accept the burn of a vain and a half-life And how you rest your faith in these for a lifetime That hollow lie against my hope that I won't buy

Though it's me to blame There is no more shame in me, in me

This past week, the major breakthrough in my counseling session was that I needed to turn my attention not to my own failings but to the God who doesn't see me as a failure. I won't let anyone take from me the hope that I have in the words God has given me. The vision I have of future hope gives me motivation for the tasks I have today. When I'm not distracted by other people making a mess or the shortcomings in my past, I'm free to take steps towards the hopeful future God has in store for me. (Also, this life I have now is pretty great in so many ways - I love my students so much, and I have such an incredible job that lets me go to work and talk to these eager and interested teenagers about how to learn about and live out their faith.)

I just feel the same, immune to all you say And the scars don't write a song for me at all

I still have plenty of haters out there, and by "out there," I mean pretty close to home. I know I'll never please everyone, but my counselor and I also talked about how when my attention is on God and what I'm called to do, I'm not going to really bother the other Jesus minded people looking to God for how to live well in community. I'm going to also have opportunity to model for students and peers a healthy lifestyle that's not burdened by other people's unfounded attacks on my character. Those scars are on my body, but they don't overpower me; I'm immune to the rumors.

No your tears won't line a path for me to crawl

I am a stone, unaffected Rain hell down onto me Flesh and bone, unaffected Your fool I will not be

I'm also learning that by keeping my eyes on Jesus, I'm unaffected by those who attempt to manipulate me with their misunderstanding and misrepresentation of me. Honestly, the lesson I recently learned was the mutual hurt inflicted when people who struggle with human interaction try to interact. I'm much better off keeping my eyes on Jesus than wallowing in the guesswork of someone else's motivations for hurtful behaviors. I won't be anyone else's fool, and I'm not interested in being manipulated nor in manipulating others to satisfy my curiosity or perceived needs. With my eyes on God, I want to treat others with dignity and respect as fellow human beings created in the image of God.

The waters rise above my eyes I will breathe it in and go out with the tide And when you think this is the end You will find me there where I have always been

I am a stone, unaffected Rain hell down onto me Flesh and bone, unaffected Your fool I will not be

I don't go down easy. When I broke my back nearly seven years ago, the assumption most people had was that I'd pack up and call it quits. That's not my style; that's not who I was made to be. There's a lot of stuff in this line of work that is difficult, but I don't give up easy. Seven and a half years ago during my TeachBeyond orientation, we had a session on spiritual warfare, and I remember Howard Dueck sharing that sometimes when you're in the rapids of a raging river, you need to go deeper to find the current and reorient with the river instead of flailing about in the frothy surface being beaten against the jutting rocks. I'm deeper with Jesus than I've ever been before, and it's safer here being directed by the strong, guiding force of the Holy Spirit than trying to use my own strength to fight the attacks of an enemy who wants to keep me from my calling.

I am a stone

I am a human.

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