Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Barbed Wire and Bourbon Street

The big horse ran wild through the middle of no-mans-land; running from bombs, bullets, but straight long into barbed wire.

A saddle on his back. A bridle round his neck. But no hand to guide him through.

He became frightened when the turmoil drew near. Breaking free, he ran and ran and ran --- seeking "freedom", he wanted to escape.

But mindless motion rarely leads to a good place.

Dinner and a movie at our home last week found us eating Chicken Almondzini and watching "War Horse". What a great movie ---- telling more than just the story on the screen.

As i watched i thought of so many people who run mindlessly through no-mans-land, surrounded by "bombs", dodging "bullets", but sometimes getting horribly tangled in the "barbed-wire" that clings to them and pulls them down.

Maggie and i drove to New Orleans this past weekend. A special person in her life was competing in a conference championship there for University of Houston. We were there to cheer for her friend and meet his parents. (GA meet CA in LA. Sort of comical when we look at it that way.)

While in New Orleans we indulged in many quiet walks around Jackson Square in the famed French Quarters. Life got sweeter with beignets at Cafe DuMonde. Rain only meant more colors as umbrellas popped and raindrop sounds made the moments more magnified. One day, mid-day, we walked down Bourbon Street. It's raunch could be felt even while we were still 3 blocks away. It was i who suggested we journey down the armpit street of America. Why? When choosing purity, she can best remain strong in her choice for morality ---- when she experiences from a safe distance what immorality looks like. When we walk in the Light ----- just a hint of darkness, can encourage us all the more to cling to the Son.

As we walked down Bourbon street remnants of old beaded necklaces hung from powerlines and lampposts, a reminder of all that had been lost (or given away). Raunchy signs with raunchier pictures framed doorways with invitations into the darkness. Years ago, when i was still trying to figure out what being a daughter of God might look like, i would have walked down this same street with a mixture of curiosity and condemnation. Curious about what could possibly be on the other side of the doorways; judgmental towards those dressed provocatively with dark eyes and marked skin. God has done a great deal of work on me since those days. Oh how thankful i am for His rod and His staff; they have surely corrected me and comforted me. He is the only one in a position to condemn --- He is the One who has paid the price -- because of His deep love.

Maggie and i walked and talked and ached over the pain we could see with our eyes --- in theirs.

So many of the people working on that famous, sinful street ---- are just like the warhorse running through the barbed wire in no-man's-land. They are unbridled. They wanted to be "free" to do their own thing, run where they wanted, do as they pleased. They would allow no boundaries, no rules, no guiding hand on their bridles. And now they find themselves more controlled than ever in tangled bondage; a deep rotting, twisted, cutting, unrelenting bondage. The bondage of lust, liquor, and perversion ----- are just as horrifying as the twisted barbed wire that held the warhorse to the ground. If he moved, he was cut. He could not even manage to stand because of the bonds that painfully held him down.

The horse was held to the ground in the mangled mass of rusted metal.
So many people are held down by the ruthless addiction they wildly ran into as they foolishly ran from the hands that could have guided them to a better place.

After many years of learning and being taught ---- i now walk down places like Bourbon Street and feel such compassion and pain for the bound up hurting people who glare at me from lusty, wounded, angry eyes. It's painful to see ----- it must be terribly painful to live. One lady i passed, was inviting us into a strip joint as she lit her cigarette (or something of the sort). As i looked in her eyes and smiled, she paused and looked back into mine. She looked away and down. My eyes did not miss the hundreds of scars on her upper arm. Cuts, thin scarred slices, where she had worked to feel something --- anything --- . My heart went out to her. She knew, we both knew. I passed on, but i felt my Abba remain with her --- i prayed.

When watching the movie, my heart was so stirred for the wounded, bound horse.
When walking down Bourbon Street, my heart was stirred for the wounded, bound people.

They are the same.
Both ran recklessly into no-man's-land until the tangles of the barbed wire world finally gripped tightly enough they were held fast to the hard, unyielding, dirty ground.
Yes, they are the same --- but --- they are very different.
The horse is an animal with no soul inside ---- while she, the scarred lady, she will spend eternity somewhere. And what she chooses now --- before her last breath --- will determine where her forever will find her. Oh God... she didn't seem to be choosing well... does she know?..?..?

In the movie --- two soldiers come out from their foxholes to help release the horse. A white flag was waved, they had found something more important than what they were fighting over.
In real life --- shouldn't we who call ourselves followers of Jesus be willing to come out of our foxholes, wave the white flag, and reach out to those who are wounded and bound. When we do, if we will, we will surely find something much more important than all the things we seem to be fighting over.

I was convicted as i walked on past the scarred lady. I was afraid --- what could i say to her? what could i possibly do to help her? after all, hadn't she somehow "chosen" to be there? Or, had she just run wild into no-man's-land because of the bombs and bullets that shattered her younger years?
I've talked to Abba about it a lot.
He reminded me of His deep love for her.
He reminds me of His great grace towards both of us.
His call to me --- is to love --- and not judge.
Did she see pure love in my eyes?
I hope so.
It was there for her.

May i never be a "christian" who judges another. But instead may God grow me to the place where His love rests so close to the surface of my skin ---- that all who come near ---- are bumped by grace and touched by love.
I'm still in the classroom --- learning. I'm thinking this class will last until my days are finished here.
But oh how thankful i am for such a patient Teacher.

©2012 Donna Taylor/Reaching for the Robe

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