Monday, May 23, 2011

out of order

What do you do when certain things are not working in your life? You can't really call a repair man (or lady) to fix it because life doesn't have an 800-number to call in situations like this. For the last few days I have been experiencing general fatigue. I seem to always be tired, appetite is low (lower than usual), and I don't have a lot of grace for others. Perhaps I just need a vacation (yes, definitely!). Perhaps I have a bit of a sinus infection or something. Or perhaps I have run out of my own strength once again.

Being weak and vulnerable is always such an undesirable position to be in, and I find myself there at least a few times a year. It is when the capable and smart and funny and loveable me has left the building, and all that is left is the tired, drained, uncreative, complaining, and selfish me. Ideally, I would like to hole up in a monastic retreat until I recoup my composure and refresh my spiritual and physical self. Alas, this is rarely the case. At times like this, almost always the number of people through my home increases and the needs and needy are more present than ever. Though I have become better at not being a total jerk when finding myself taxed beyond my abilities as a giver of care and hospitality, I know I fall far short of being loving. I don't like the person I am at these times.

Inexplicably, though, Jesus still does like me and believes that I have something to offer besides whining and behaviour that borders on being rude. Why else would he trust me with some of the most challenging group situations at times like these? The difficult part is setting aside my social and physical exhaustion (which easily becomes an excuse) and reaching out for the giant helping of godly compassion that he offers me. This compassion is always available. I have never known it to be in short supply, and it always functions perfectly, softening my heart and the hearts of those around me. It is to my own detriment that I do not embrace it more often.

Weakness is hard to admit to. Weakness is hard to give up, too, because it requires giving up selfish-centredness as well. Strength that is not mine is hard to accept because it requires a certain and non-negotiable surrender. And one thing I am learning about this life is that any day void of the element of surrender is a day I have lived as an island, in isolation, without faith.

I am weak today. Be my strength, oh Mighty One.

This is a photo of the antique cash register at Le Placard Café in Montreal. It now serves as a display of flyers and sugar caddy. Very cool!

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