5.15.07 from the refuge blog…Downward Mobility

kathyescobar church stuff, healing, jesus is cool, spiritual formation, the fam, the refuge 1 Comment

Well it’s official I am over the hill! 40 years old. I know those of you who have already hit this mark don’t have a lick of sympathy for me. My favorite card this year was made by my son Josh, who’s 15. Here’s what he made up:
Roses are red, violets are blue
You might be 40 but you look 22
Yeah, he’s a liar, but he loves me (and if you ever need a self-esteem lift, just talk to Josh, he’s the best at that). But really, I am realizing that this whole turning 40 thing has been harder than I thought it would be. I keep flashing back to the idealistic dreams I had when I was twenty. When I was young and stupid I definitely thought life would be a lot easier when I was forty. In my dream, I wouldn’t have to worry about money, I’d be at the pinnacle of my career, fairly chaos-free, I’d have my two perfectly behaved children and a maid who would clean my house every week. Somehow, someway in the last 20 years, things have gone awry. A lot of my friends from college are rich but I now make less money than I made almost 20 ago when I graduated from college. Chaos is a word many people use when describing my life, somehow two kids became five, and walk into my house and it’s quite clear that there’s not a maid to be seen! My big plans for upward mobility have been thwarted over the years. Things didn’t go quite the way I had hoped. What happened?

Jesus got a hold of me, that’s what happened. And he keeps ruining my plans for upward mobility. Every time I try to get it, it sort of slips away. I think that’s a little bit what happened to me in this past year and a half as I transitioned off the mega-church fast-track and back into real life. Power, status, money, whatever you call it, escaped me once again. Hmm, I am pretty sure those were the exact things Jesus railed against but I am so attracted to. Jesus’ plan seemed to be a lot more about downward mobility than up. That’s kind of the big idea in the Kingdom. Whoever is first shall be last and the last shall be first. The least of these…blessed are the poor in spirit…all of the things the world (and even the “church”) told me I should shoot for, achieve, do, really, in God’s economy, means nothing. God’s economy is about love, tangibly expressed. And boy am I surrounded by a lot of people who know how to do that well. Real, true, authentic people who don’t give a rip about upward mobility and 401k’s and color swatches for their walls. I am in the trenches with people who are fighting for their lives, trying to live it well, and fighting for mine, too. And they’re fighting for the lives of others who can’t fight for themselves, either. Yesterday I watched a video of the poorest of the poor in India, beautiful women and children ravaged by AIDS and living in the slums, sold into prostitution, sifting through garbage to find something to eat. I sat at this table with people who are smart, talented, educated who have sacrificed their careers, money, status and power, to care about the least of these. I was awed. And reminded, for the next 40 years, I will have to fight against my human nature to clamor for “upward mobility”, a bigger paycheck, more status and power and listen to Jesus’ call…go down, Kathy, downward mobility, that’s what I’m all about

I need to be reminded that Jesus’ words of blessing to the poor, marginalized, the downwardly mobile was not a threat, a coercion technique to force me into a miserable life. His call to me to go downward is His methodology for the abundant life, the easy yoke He places. If I crave His peace and presence, then I guess I have to trust His methods. Funny, isn’t it, that I think more money, power, status will give me security and a strong sense of self? Yet Jesus says it will be exactly the opposite…if I find my life, I will lose it…