For months there has been an ache inches beneath my rib cage. Even as I settle into familiar rhythms, I realize how anemic my heart is. It’s hard to remember what I was doing before the world caught a virus and those days are fading in my memory like old photographs while I muddle on through a new era. All the bickering back and forth only reminds me of our brokenness as I drag my body and soul into the homestretch of 2020, jabbed left and right by a world that’s constantly changing. I am trying to keep up with it, but rules are being renegotiated and the meaning of normal is always evolving because nothing seems to stay the same. What’s ok to say, but what isn’t? If I breathe a certain way, will it cause a stir? If I rap the Doxology in church will it be the same as singing? (Probably not.) I can’t quite reconcile it all, especially when the baby gets thrown out with the bath water. And in the midst of all these current events, I feel a sense of dread when I pass election signs; I can almost hear a faint ticking forewarning of explosive aftermaths.
Where are the bare bones of life? The basics? Can someone break it all down for me? When I am cradled in the palm of nature, I feel closest to normalcy. But running away to the hills certainly won’t change anything, nor is it responsible.. The problems always find us again. My friends have a way of steadying me and can coax me out of flight-mode. After all, moving forward is my preference, rather than fluffing pillows and nestling down into a bed of defeat. And yet, my thoughts are like square pegs trying to fit into round holes as I piece together wishy-washy politics reduced to arguments that sound worse than a house full of siblings in quarantine. A good friend of mine would sometimes stop to contemplate these surreal moments in time and wonder for just a second— is it all even real? These theatrics become a weight that sits heavy on my soul, so I begin lapsing into cynicism. I feel myself starting to disengage and slip into the shadows.. not in some eery, evil way, but in the way that my language becomes eye rolls and jaded sighs.
I am just trying to raise my children. I want to be an activist and a pacifist. I want to be a Christian and a patriot for my country. I want to be a seeker of justice and a mediator. Conflicting emotions plague my heart. If I rely on the world for the definition of what is“right”, it also changes in order to suit one agenda or the next. My head is a mushy, murky mess that I try to swim through in order to attain clarity. Just when I am ready to give up trying to have conversations about it, the other night a friend miraculously read my mind, while we both sat next to each other wearing masks covering most of our faces. I could have cried right then and there. "You too?" I thought. She saw it in my eyes, the exasperation, the utter confusion trying to properly form words; somehow she understood me and It was priceless.
We admitted trying to do our best. Trying to follow rules, but struggling with our common sense, trying to comprehend scientific data and yet getting through one day is mentally exhausting in itself. We are trying to be politically informed. We are trying to fight injustice. We are trying, we are trying, we are trying. I swear we are trying, but it never feels like enough when I size it up next to the issues at hand. So how do I, or we do right by all the voices that tell us to vote this way or to prevent COVID another way, to stand for the flag, yet also to be an advocate for reconciliation and fight to eliminate racism. My arms can only reach so far around a country that is battered and bruised, needing CPR, because I am coming up for air myself after being churned under by riptides.
There is a lot going on in the world, and I live in a tiny corner of it. -- I have no idea what the answers are, even though my little girl mind always thought my parents knew everything. Irony laughs—Here I am all grown up and more confused than ever. While there are no perfect resolutions, I am committed to the tiny tribe of people that God has surrounded me with and I will keep showing up. I will keep putting my feet on the floor in the morning, loving on my kids and husband, going to work, finding slivers of light and grace and standing in them, being faithful to my family, extending mercy, loving-peace, and praying. I will pay attention and keep my ears and eyes open offering up this one life of mine. This is how I steward my minas. I know that I am not enough, but I know that Christ is more than sufficient. This is what I cling to in a time like no other, by trusting the God that has seen it all backwards and forwards and knows the end of the story. In Him is where my loyalty rests and that’s the only thing that does make sense to me right now.
Dear Ones, When Christ asks whom He can send, let it be me.. let it be you. Keep feeling your way through these times, and trusting Him, even when the tide rises. Emulate light over darkness and don’t slink away to the shadows leaving the work to someone else, because there is truly so much work to be done.
I am done, I am done waiting on the creek to rise, ‘cause there’s more to life, oh there’s more to life….