Thursday, August 14, 2008

My brother Joseph

A long time ago, I read Frederick Buechner's description of Joseph in his book, Peculiar Treasures: "Almost as much as [the story of Joseph] is the story of how Israel was saved from famine and extinction, it is the story of how Joseph was saved as a human being. It would be interesting to know which of the two achievements cost God the greater effort and which was the one he was prouder of."

My first love of Joseph was, ironically, because I thought I would be good as the narrator in a production of "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat". There is something about the hopeful dreamer that puts him (or her!) self at the center of those dreams. And there's something humbling and really freeing about realizing that I don't have to be in the middle of the dream in order for it to be beautiful. The dreamer never gives up dreaming, and I happen to be one of those dreamers.

But God is finding a way, even now, for those dreams of mine to have a peculiar shape. It's a cruciform shape and it requires me to let go of as much as I hold on to. And to pray myself into the difference.

I also think about Joseph and the personal attacks he endured. Some of them were based on something that was real (he really was a brat in the beginning of his life)...some of them were based on a falsehood (the incident with Potiphar's wife). I think about attacks in my own life based on my personality or based on my own behavior. What way is being charted by God to show God's goodness through those?

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