Jars of Clay has to be my all-time favorite band. I love how every album of theirs is a style unique to that album, and yet their band maintains an identifiable sound. The above quotation is from their newest ablum and I found these lyrics from the song, "Two Hands," compelling.
It appealed to me for three reasons really:
- It speaks to the human condition, doesn't it? We are born with indecision and doublemindedness. Now we want it; now we don't. Now I love you; now I don't. It takes a work of God to unite our hearts and make us pure in heart, or singleminded...and that is a process we should work to facilitate.
- Part of my diagnosis is that I am Bipolar. So the "push-me-pull-you" aspect of my mind works overtime. And I struggle with this, not only in relationships with people, but also with God. Hot or Cold. Full of energy or completely lacking in ambition. That's me. (According to the book of Revelation, that's better than being lukewarm!) There is a quote from some famous theologian (and I am not evading giving him the credit for it; but my mind is a complete blank on where I heard this.) It says something like: we are never in a holding pattern with God. At all times we are either growing closer or pulling away.
- I am currently working on a manuscript about the process of becoming Single-hearted. So anything in this vein draws my attention. It is our nature (human nature) to be divided in our heart and mind...but God desires that we be: in constant pursuit of him; solely focused on pleasing him and carrying out his goals for us; more passionate about our love for him than for any other person or thing. "Blessed are the pure in heart"--this is what this verse is talking about.
Being hot and then cold is a difficult way to live....because we can undertake some big, ambitious projects when we are "hot" and energetic...But then we burn out and die down to a cool stagnation, don't we? I do, that's for sure. Then suddenly we find ourselves unable to finish what we started--in fact we cannot recall what its appeal was in the first place! And my family finds it hard to live with me in this cycle also. I'll tear the house apart in a huge burst of energy to reorganize and clean; and then it will get left a mess because my enthusiasm didn't last long enough for me to complete the job. I'll be interested in them and full of affection one day and then for the next week, want nothing but to hide in my basement room and not see anyone.
Maybe you recognize this tendency in your family member who suffers from mental illness. I know that this cycle is difficult to live with in myself; it must be really a challenge for someone from a perspective farther removed than mine who has to deal with me! One thing you need to know: your loved one always loves you the same way they do or did at their most ardent display of it. It is the illness that creates this apathy; this distance; and the flatness of "affect" (as psychiatrists refer to the expressionlessness of many patients with psychotic disorders). Somewhere in their hearts or in the place where their true selves are hiding out; they love and need you intensely...It just somehow gets lost in the trip from heart to face. And, if they are like me, they recognize this failure in their wiring, and feel guilty about it and are powerless to change it.