Remember that one week when everything was going perfectly?
Yeah, me neither. At least not any time recently.
Sure, there are good days, but they seem to be more and more isolated as the years march on…. These days, if I look at a typical week, there seem to be enough ups and downs contained in seven little days to write a history book. Or a dramatic novel. Or a mystery series. Or a comic strip.
And currently, I have enough material from last week to put into a theological-psychological-mysterious-political-stand-up-comedy-routine, with an added blend of illness. And that’s just in my teeny tiny life, let alone on a grander scale.
Last weekend had me flat on my back. The flu took its dandy ole time traveling through my family…. Kid by kid, adult by adult… And there were taxes to be filed and a house to plan revisions for and a ministry (or two or three) to become involved in and a baby with a big genetic appointment and friends to see and laundry …(wait, scratch that. I did NO laundry for a week)… and politics to observe and debate and pray for and Holy Week approaching….. And finally, there was one day in the fog of the week when it looked like I could actually have a moment to think. And that’s the day that the school called and said my daughter’s one corner of one eye seemed a little itchy and they didn’t want to take any chances of pink eye, and I must, I MUST, come get her immediately.
Here’s what I didn’t say (outloud): “You have GOT to be kidding me. Never mind that I thought I was going to brush my teeth for the first time in four days (silly me) and that she was healthy when I sent her to school today, as I never send in an ill child… Never mind that I needed that precious hour (yes, I needed to pick her up an hour before school let out) to simply gather my thoughts after so much crazy bombardment during my week. Let me drop everything and come pick up my healthy child because I’m apparently not in control of this situation anyway…”
Of course I didn’t say any of that… She was just doing her job, and she’s a good sweet nurse… I just rolled with it, picked up my (healthy) daughter, and lived out the rest of the chaotic day.
But by the time I got to the weekend, I just collapsed… out of sheer weariness. Everything seemed out of my control, nothing I did seemed to work, my to do list was impossible…. And all I could do was lie down and rest as much as possible, no matter what anyone’s expectations were of me…. Sure, I could make feeble attempts, but they would be cancelled out, wouldn’t they? All it took was someone (or life itself) to simply say, “nope, it ain’t gunna work. Pick up your daughter. Scratch that project. Sure, you have a lot of mental energy, but it’s not working right now, so just rest….”
This was torture to me. I’m a “doer” and there were things to be done. Right to be made right. The house to be cleaned. Or at least just the children to be cleaned. Bills to pay and strategies to form…. But none of my physical condition was within my control anyway, and neither was the condition of my family… The lack of control itself caused a weariness that went past the physical and into my very soul.
And as I watched the political scene unfolding this last week, my weariness increased.
What good is my vote, anyway? Why are so many friends fighting each other? Why is there so much chaos and contradiction? Why does it seem as if a deadly political train is running down a ridiculous track and that for years now, decades, we can’t seem to influence our elected government anymore, or at least the sheeple that put these people into office?
And then, on Palm Sunday, I heard the story, as I do every year, of Christ’s “judgment” by the politicians. We hear “Crucify Him!” from the sheeple. But this year, I thought about a different aspect of the story….. wasn’t there anyone in that crowd who disagreed with the mob? Were there not those who shouted, “This is madness!!!! STOP THIS!!!” There had to be, as the bible recounts how Pilate feared a riot…. which means there were two (or more) “sides.” We all know which side was louder and the money and power behind that side, and who won out “politically” that day…
Well, I feel like “the other side”… the one that was drowned out by the crowds. (Yes, yes, I’m a sinner, so I get that we all figuratively “crucified Christ”), but I feel we are living in similar times. Those of us who put church teaching and moral values above politics feel drowned out, and…. weary.
I feel weary. I feel like someone who needs to haul my tired body into a van and pick up a child who I know is healthy, using the last inkling of my energy to do something that will have no real impact other than to pacify a suspicion…. Kind of like how I view my vote these days.
We waited, we waited for EIGHT years to “get to” the next election… And how does it look, my friends? I look at the candidates, all of them, and I think REALLY? I mean REALLY? These are the only potential leaders we have or that we can elect? This is it? Out of millions of people?
And have you noticed the riots and the violence breaking out, not only physical ones, but verbal assaults like never before, even between and within communities and churches and families?
Does this look familiar? (Think 33 A.D.)
Yes, I’m weary. And maybe you are, too. I want to lie down like the picture of my baby above, hands crossed, and say “so be it” with a defeatist’s attitude, or at least, like a baby with no control.
But the weariness I feel in my heart and soul point to the fact that I have been trusting in people to control what God ultimately has dominion over…. He had dominion over Caesar and Pilate and Herod. And in the end, Jesus, King of the Jews, “won” the grandest victory possible: that over sin itself. And that victory was won during a ridiculous political era when the church was saying “they had no king but Caesar” and people were just looking for any way out of the brutal rule of the Roman government… They were so desperate that they even chose to release guilty Barabbas over the obviously innocent Christ.
But I discovered something interesting this morning, in my weariness… I discovered the meaning of the name “Barabbas.” It means: “son of Abba, or son of the Father.” Barabbas himself was a notorious thief and murderer on death row. And we can all see the obvious corruption when the crowds called for his release rather than Christ’s, who never committed any crime.
However, when the crowds shouted “We want Barabbas!!”, they were really shouting, “We want the son of Abba!” Even in their foolishness and corruption and fickle behavior, they still asked for the Son of God, and they still got Him.
God has the victory… He always does. He did in 33 A.D., and He will in 2016, even if we say “Give us Barabbas!” And this, my friends, gives me hope….. Jesus has already offered to take on our weariness and give us rest. And as for elections and world events and taxes and pink eye, let us use this Holy Week to offer it all to Him…
Because, whatever the earthly outcome of earthly events, He will still come to us, He still offers us redemption, and His Resurrection still conquers all.
And no one can stop it.
Love and Lenten blessings,