The bag I carry feels a little heavier every day, as if someone is adding a few papers every day to my trusty messenger bag that I cart to and from work. Almost imperceptible, but over time, I wonder why my steps seem to come a millisecond slower and slower. It’s the shorter days of sunlight, the longer days of work, the apparent ineffectiveness of my efforts, the worry if I am doing The Right Thing with my sons. It’s the compulsion to feed my family better, to keep the house cleaner, to find more resources where they don’t exist for the women I help, to make more phone calls, to pray more, to spend less money, to spend money on things we need (new socks for 4 year old boys!), to finish that overdue library book, to be more thankful, to worry less and trust more, to go to the gym, to……. It’s the grief at a friend’s new grief on top of multiple recent grief’s, the weight of decisions made and decisions that need to be made, the anticipated goodbyes and hellos.
This morning in my Facebook feed, I caught a brief glance at a book titled “Don’t Waste Your Pain.” I know nothing about the book, for good or ill, but it reminded me of an essay written by a Westminster Professor a few years ago entitled “Don’t Waste Your Cancer.” The essay was moving, inspiring, and memorable; the writer has since lost the battle to cancer and won the spiritual battle. However, as those words, that idea, flickered onto the screen and my memory this morning, I felt myself recoil. “What,” my brain screamed, “on top of everything else, I have to suffer The Right Way too?” For a “doer” like me, this sounds like another task, another assignment.
I must now add “Suffer The Right Way” to my to-do list.
Here’s what I know: when items like Pray more, Call a friend, Suffer correctly, Parent “better” show up on my to-do list as chores, I have lost my way…my focus is misplaced. In these things I need to DO less and rest more.
Believe in his promise that He will complete whatever remains. “He who started the good work in you will be faithful to complete it.”
Turn away from the to-do list and look into his face. “Turn your eyes upon Jesus, and the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of his glory and grace.”
Start less sentences with “I need to…”