Absurd. Of course, the word means "ridiculous". What I didn't know, is the word comes from a Latin etymology that means "deaf".
There can be no obedience without listening. There is no real listening without relationship. Obedience is not taking the letter of the law and applying it with literal exactitude. Such inflexible "obedience" is actually a manifestation of not listening...it is absurd. Obedience is to hear, in the moment, the heart of the One who is in charge.
Sure, many rules never change. But the way we apply them, the way we engage them, is a huge issue of obedience. And there can be no obedience without being willing to hear. Not just hear words...hear heart.
At no time are we in more danger of defaulting into a deaf-absurdity, than in mid-life. After all, we've earned our many merit badges, like good life-scouts. We can now chart our own course, and do not have to listen. In our flesh, we can even become "hard of hearing" beginning in mid-life. My husband (who is a mere 46, and a tad hard of hearing, having been a drummer all his life) asked me, awhile back, with a baffled expression, "What is it about mid-life, for some people??"
He's right. At this turning point in time, we choose a certain perspective, and thus set the course for the rest of our lives. We either summon the courage to take the creative, relational path of grace and truth, or we, often precisely at mid-point, begin our descent into a rule-keeping, opinionated absurdity. Rigid in our inflexible opinions, we lose hearing, sight, smell, and we lose touch with people who used to matter to us. There is no fruit, no sweet smelling-tasting-beautiful harvest to be had in absurdity. Rigidity is simply a way to justify not hearing. This unyielding deafness does not deserve to be called obedience.
Mid-life can bring insensibility, or it can set us free to experience God and relationships with eyes wide open, ears attuned, head doused, dripping in the oil of gladness, and plowing straight into what God intends to be the harvest-time of our lives.
How do we know if we are living the life of obedient listening, or the disobedience of not hearing? Look for any signs of the ridiculous. Look for the extreme, absurd reaction - which is actually the cool, intellectual rigidity of the quid pro quo ethos: tit for tat. You are this way, I respond that way. You offend me, I withdraw. Your worth has been measured, your "work" evaluated, and I "pay" with excruciating exactitude. I do not listen for anything more, I hear nothing more as to your value beyond what I can quantifiably evaluate.
Absurdity. Deafness. Disobedience. Mercy triumphs over judgment, I want to adjust my perspective to be able to hear the sound of it. It is a sound of joyful shouting, coming from the family tent. After all, I shall be 50 years old in a few years...regardless of the lateness of the hour, I need the revelation of grace to make me soft and winsome....and able to hear.
Late have I loved you, O Beauty ever ancient, ever new, late have I loved you! ...You called, you shouted, and you broke through my deafness. You flashed, you shone, and you dispelled my blindness. You breathed your fragrance on me; I drew in breath and now I pant for you.