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Lagging Behind

Where does weariness come from?  It is felt physically, in muscles and joints and bones, in the eyes and even at times in labored breathing.  Sometimes I feel it in my stomach or like every nerve in my body is exposed and raw, sensitive to even the lightest additional touch.  It shows up in these physical ways, but I think those are just the presenting symptoms of a mental and emotional raft with a major puntures.  It is hard to see the process in slow motion or in a linear way, but all I know is that by this past Friday, I felt like a piece of plastic floating on the water…plastic that may or may not have once provided hours of fun in the pool and riding waves at the beach.

Never mind the life context into which Friday fell, let me just tell you about Friday.  8:05 next door neighbor knocking at window to play, like most days since summer break began.  8:30 Martha Jane screaming about something she would like that we are not providing either because she can’t have it or we don’t understand her non-verbal, yet still vocal demands. 9:30 I actually consider grabbing a quick nap because I am already so exhausted I can hardly think straight.  9:45 doors and windows are being opened and closed to hollar in and out between my children and neighbor.  No quick nap.  Feeling a bit agitated mostly out of sheer exhaustion.  10:30 have finally gotten everyone dressed, cup of water poured all over the rug by Martha Jane cleaned up and headed to car.  Martha Jane then throws the front door open so wide that our dog gets out and refuses to be herded back into safety before we play a fun game of front yard and street chase for 45 minutes.  We take my mom to pick up her car and then head to the quiet, peaceful library, while receiving repetitive phone calls from neighbor friend who is playing with his grandmother’s phone.  At the library, we successfully and quietly gather our books, sign up for summer reading and are close to leaving when Martha Jane bursts into tears…within ONE minute of her tears, an old man reading his paper comes over full of disgust to tell me we are disturbing the entire library and I need to get THAT baby out of here!  He then glares at me as I stand resolutely until Ellie has finished her writing contest entry form.  Jerk.

Remember what the Amalekites did to you along the way when you came out of Egypt. When you were weary and worn out, they met you on your journey and attacked all who were lagging behind; they had no fear of God.  Deut. 25:17-18

I clearly have not been a slave in Egypt for generations nor have I been physically attacked for my own lagging behind, but I love that these verses at least give a picture to how I am feeling.  Way to kick me when I’m barely walking, old man whose newspaper reading was disturbed for a nano-moment.  And then (well, not right away, but the next day) I began to think about the way I think of others who are lagging behind, and how I too actually despise the weak rather than jump to show compassion or kindness or even offer strengthening mercy.  I have felt myself actually resenting the poor people who walk the streets of our neighborhood, either to a bus stop or the corner convenience store or ***at this very point in my writing, Terrell just called to say my car had been broken into at a nearby playground where he had taken Chad for a short father-son outing.  Window smashed, door dented and his wallet stolen.  Seriously?!?!?!  (Will process that on another post.)

So, sometimes there are just things to grieve.  There is a time for mourning.  There is a time for weeping.  There is a time to lie down, to cry uncle, to collapse on a bench in an elementary school garden when you are intending to be out for a long Saturday run (wait, I actually did that yesterday…and ate a delicious apple from said garden…thank you E. Rivers.)

Walter drew my attention to Jesus’ own mandate to mourn, “they will be comforted”…and that comfort is in knowing more of Jesus.  He is making all things new not so that now, in the brokenness, I can pretend things are fine but because He of all people knows things are really broken.  People, including me, are mean to each other because we don’t fear God. We all determine to be our own gods, determining for ourselves what is right in our own eyes…whether that looks like smashing car windows and taking wallets or running without restraint as children through a house, upturning all spaces along the way or just hating people we see walking along the road because they don’t dress or act the way we would prescribe.  Or if we’re an old man wanting to read a paper at the library or a weary mom taking out my own fatigue on the electric wheel chair driving down the road in front of me as if it had any business acting like a car.  Its just so much easier to divide, to despise, to judge, to recklessly destroy, to resent, to reprimand and judge…than to love, to heal, to encourage, to help, to pour out rather than take…

Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you.  This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you, I will not drink from this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom. Matt. 26:27-29

He poured out not just the air from His Raft becoming mere floating plastic, but His life blood.  To breathe and pour life into me.  The Lord is faithful and compassionate, slow to anger and quick in love.  While I was yet His enemy, He died for me.  I need to drink deeply of Him, to mourn deeply so as to grasp for His life more and to find comfort that the grumpy old men, the stereotypical neighborhood hoodlums, and the impatient and compassionless mama who writes this may all share equal seats at that banqueting table One Day.  May it be so soon.

Oh, and if you need a laugh or just feel that there is a bit of bad ass judment coming to your enemies, read the next verse of that Deuteronomy passage I posted above.  When the humble hope of redemption isn’t enough, sometimes a good dose of enemy smiting can bring a smile. (:  He will in fact make all things new, and it is going to be so good…even for those of us who are weary and lagging miserably behind.

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