Like most brides, my friend had planned her lovely Charleston wedding for months. But who could have predicted that the city would be evacuating seventy-two hours before her big day? As Hurricane Matthew drew near to Charleston and the evacuation of the city began, we got the call late Tuesday afternoon – the wedding had been relocated to Greenville, 200 or so miles inland, and everything had to be changed on a moment’s notice – every single thing.
If I'm honest, I've had a difficult couple of weeks. Don't get me wrong, there were wonderful experiences, but internally, I've battled significantly with things like my calling, next steps, plans, my purpose, and other things like that.
I’m uncertain what brought this on. Maybe it was going back to New York with Rain. The last time we were in New York together, we had high hopes that it would be a dream come true. It turned out to be the opposite.
Going back is tough. No one likes being reminded of dreams lost.
We spent most of our time in upstate New York for the wedding of some old friends. The resort was beautiful, surrounded by mountains and trees. You’d never guess you were in New York.
Purposelessness has a way of beating you down and spiraling. If you just sit there in it for a while, one thing that doesn't make sense suddenly becomes five things, then everything.
So in an effort to gain some purpose, I decided I’d hike into the mountains
Last year, my neck and shoulders were a wreck. Any stress or worry I have goes right there, always has, so when little spasms of pain started shooting through my shoulders and up my neck, enough was finally enough. I asked my friend who practices yoga if she thought I would benefit from a yoga class or two. She nearly shouted YES and gave me the name of her instructor, Janet.
My first impression of yoga class was, in retrospect, ridiculous. It looked so effortless. I was accustomed to cardio classes and thought exercise wasn’t worth its salt unless there was lots of sweat, so the seeming relaxed nature of yoga was a surprise. I can do this, I thought. Yoga is no big deal, there’s so much resting in it.
I’m good at resting, right?
Last week, I taught on Jesus and the Demoniac. Jesus and twelve disciples step out of the boat and are confronted by a man who’s screaming, cutting himself, and charging at them. The disciples are not mentioned in either retelling of this story. I don’t know this, but I choose to believe they’re not mentioned because they were so afraid, and no one likes to be included in a story where they’re the coward. But Jesus was different. He stood there - stoically, in my mind - waiting on the man to make his way before Him.
The demons are terrified of Jesus. Makes sense now why they were screaming. They begged Jesus not to torment them. Our common image of fluffy, soft Jesus doesn't fit here. Jesus is anything but soft. He’s actually the only person in this story who doesn’t seem terrified. Demons are terrified and scream, the disciples are terrified into silence. Jesus just speaks, “What is your name?”
I need to learn to forgive myself.
I am quite well schooled in the idea that “forgive and forget” is a ridiculous notion. How could one of the keys to forgiveness possibly be linked to forgetfulness? In my experience, memory is unreliable and forgetfulness cannot be counted on, especially in matters of morals and manners.
So what about forgiveness, and in particular, the forgiving of ones’ self? I have found it as hard (maybe harder) to forgive myself than to forgive anyone else.
One of the reasons must be that I am simply dumbfounded and embarrassed at my own raw humanness and weakness. Surely I’m better than this, I think.
2 Chronicles 7:14 tells us:
“If my people, who are called by my name…
can get the really bad sinners to turn from their wicked ways, then I will heal their land.”
No, that isn’t it.
… will rally and get the right candidate elected, then I will heal their land.”
… will be vocal enough to get those sinful Supreme Court rulings overturned, then I will heal their land.”
No… I couldn’t find any of those.
Instead, I found this...
In his quest for meaning and wisdom, contentment even, King Solomon comes to this conclusion: “What I have seen to be good and fitting is to eat and drink and find enjoyment in the toil with which one toils under the sun the few days of his life that God has given him, for this is his lot.”
Enjoyment in the toil – this is our lot.
The song says, “I can’t get no satisfaction.” He tries and tries and tries, but still the singer can’t get none. I feel that.
The New York Times is convincing me that soon I will have to vote for either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton