As I’ve moved through the last few weeks, I’ve recognized my own weeble wobble nature that’s grounded in my faith. Despite the dark days and even darker nights – the fear, anguish, pain, andanger that I’ve felt – there’s something within me that refuses to stay down. Like a capsized boat, I’ve been turned upside down, but there’s an irresistible force that continues to turn me rightside up.
I like to think of myself as a strong, capable person, but I know there’s no way I am righting myself by my own doing. I’m sure someone well-read on human nature could say something about humanity’s preference for status quo and homeostasis or the innate resiliency of the human spirit, but what I feel is not denial for the sake of status quo and definitely not a return to pre-July 4 life. Rather, what I feel is strength beyond my own and glimpses of clarity in the midst of the mire.
In church yesterday, the most striking moment of this occurred as we prayed the Lord’s Prayer. As a pastor, I’m used to being out front, speaking clearly, leading pieces of worship – sometimes in the moment, sometimes considering what comes next. But yesterday, I spoke more softly, sank into the prayer, and let the chorus of voices around me propel me forward. This journey through grief happens despite my attempts at control. And sometimes I am able to coast on the current of my community, which is a blessed gift.
So, I’ve come to the conclusion that I can never right my own life. Whether it’s this current storm or some other that comes along, every human life gets turned upside down at times. Fortunately for all of us, God cast us a line, turns the world rightside up, and gives us the ability to rise like eagles through the work of Christ. It's a work in progress, but thanks be to God.
Tomorrow I travel to
to attend my father’s funeral service on Wednesday morning. For those of you
keeping score, that makes three big losses in just over three months. One of my
friends said it must feel like salt in the wound, and it does in a way, but
there’s also the odd sensation of having reached almost the bottom. I know there’s
more I could lose, and in some of those dark nights I wonder how much pain can
live in one body, but in the sweet light of day I know that I have been deep,
deep down in the pit and I am surviving. Weebles wobble but they don’t fall