Lord, This is hard.
Miss Wankeral, my grammar teacher, told me to never leave a “this” alone. “A marriage is always necessary”, she says. “It must have a partner”. This rock. This doll. This something. But what is the “this” in this situation. This time. This trial. This learning. This acknowledgment. This job. This task. Yes, all of those. And more, I suppose. You are drawing me out. That is a truth I know. You are drawing me out and taking me to someplace new. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. Yes, you are taking me to someplace new. A place of healing. A place of still waters and green pastures. You’re teaching me to walk away from the things of this world. Be in the world but not of the world, You say. That has always been so hard to understand. But I am finally starting to understand it. It means to let go of everything I see but cannot understand and to hold on to everything I cannot see but can understand. Let go of culture, let go of things, let go of people, let go of money, let go of dreams. Hold onto your love, your joy, your peace, Hold onto You.
Yes, this is hard. It is hard to give it all over to You. Yes, the hard things are the things I’m not ready to give over to You. There, that’s the truth. That is the “this”. The grammar that exposes my heart. This is hard, this giving over is hard. This letting go of the hope that my way could be better than Your way. I don’t want to give up my comfort. I don’t want to give up my choices. I don’t want to bend my back to Your will, to surrender to every possibility. I want to keep this fist clenched, and this is the hard. The faith to trust that Your will is better, every time. The faith to believe that despite what I hunger and crave it may not always be what is best for me. The truth that being in the world is not the same as being of the world.
I don’t want to give these things up, especially not to You. Because if I give them up to You, I know that You may not give them back to me. These relationships. These comforts. These indulgences. These desires. These things I want so much even though I know, secretly, they only hurt me. These images I have of myself, of where I should be heading. There they are again. My should be’s and want to’s. Oh how they creep.
Come unto me, You say. Come to me and I will give you rest. Yes, You are right. It is exhausting; juggling all my desires on spinning out of control plates. Fooling myself into believing that a tight grip on my desires equates to a tight grip on control, a tight grip on life. I have no control. And maybe I have life, but what kind of a life is it? It is not an abundant one, not with this fist so tight. Not with these plates spinning, always spinning, and falling off, and flying off. And where did that one go? And how did I forget to watch this one? And when did that one break? Yet still I cling, except when I cling so desperately to anything but You, nothing goes the way I hope for. And the very medicine I need is the very medicine I pull back from.
No, it does not taste good. And rather than swallow, I choose to hold it in my mouth, continually tasting the bitter I so believe it to be rather than giving it chance to soothe and heal. Come unto me, all who are weary, and I will give you rest. You know me so well. Yes, I am weary. Weary of the conditions of this world. Weary of what culture says I must be, how much money I must make, what I need to be happy. Weary of how this disease drags and pulls and blurs. Yes, I am weary. And the burden grows with each clench of my fist. And the very thing I hold to is the very thing that causes this disease to spread. I came that they may have life, and have it to the full. A full life, that is what you want for me. A full life, full of every possibility. Why then do I let this fear grow inside of me? Why do I tell myself that surrender brings loss? Why do I choose to ignore truth. Because surrender sews possibility. It is a door not a wall.
I swallow the stuff.
I swallow the liquid medicine I have held onto for so long. I swallow and let it soothe, let it coat. I swallow the medicine and realize it is not so bitter. Come unto me, You say. Oh Jesus, let me come, here I am. Take me. Take my heart, take my desires, take these plates. I reach out to you and with it I realize I have let go. These hands no longer make fists. These hands, clenched for so long are now open. Open for possibility, open for life, open to hold Yours. And as you take my hand, I feel it. I feel that balm, as it coats and soothes, warming my innards, the deepest places of me. Warming all that is in and around me. This balm that sinks to the bowels of my heart. This balm that instantly heals. This abundant balm. And as it sinks I realize it’s not as hard as I thought. And as it heals I realize that my this has changed. Yes, my this has changed. And there is no more hard, there is only easy. There is only rest. There is only You. There You are. Come unto me, You say, Come unto me and I will give you rest.
And oh! What a rest it is.
Isaiah 43:19| John 17:16| Matthew 11:28 | John 10:10