Monday, December 31, 2012

A gray day

It's a gray day, and it's like the fog has seeped into my soul.  New Year's Eve seems appropriately melancholy, but much is weighing on me today.  I'm mourning for another minister who has lost her 11-year-old daughter to a lengthy and difficult battle with cancer.  While I ponder what 2013 will bring, I can only imagine that family's struggle just to make it through this day.

It has been a year full of bearing witness to the struggle and grief of others.  While it is a sacred and holy privilege as a minister to be with people on their journeys, both through pain and through joy, it seems like a hard burden to bear sometimes.  There are students who stay on my mind as I worry about them and their battles with depression.  There are faculty who have lost a colleague this year, and staff who have buried family members.  It always seems a little lonelier at the holidays when you consider that someone you know is looking at an empty place at the table.

I'm longing for sanctuary, for a place of rest and renewal.  I'm searching for that light of hope that shines through the darkness.  I'm hanging on for myself, and desperately trying to hold on to others who are limping along in their journey.

I'm struggling with my children who are fighting for their independence while John and I fight to teach them appropriate manners and boundaries and keep them safe.  There has been way too much yelling today, and I alternate between wanting to hold onto to them fiercely and wanting to shake them because they just can't understand (thank God) how tenuous it all is.  While my son screams that we don't love him as we don't give him everything he wants, I want to tell him (but not really) about how lucky he is just to be alive.  I want him to be grateful for the many gifts with which he's been blessed, but how can I impart that without scaring him, without pulling back the cover and showing the ugly realities of a world that's often filled with pain?

I don't know where I'd be without the hope of Christ, without the reminder that God's mercies are new every day (great is his faithfulness).  I am strengthened by the reminders of God's love in all the loving people who surround me, even in the tear-stained face of a little boy that can't wait to grow up and be an adult, so that he can finally get everything he wants and do whatever he wants (and I mutter, "Good luck with that" under my breath).  Oh buddy, may God bring you many good dreams to fill your long and full (please God) life, and may these be even richer than the things you want now. May you know you are held always in love, even in the times of frustration, disappointment, and punishment. May I find sanctuary from the anger that sometimes overwhelms and offer a safe place for my children and all of God's children...may I reflect God's peace, even in my own fumbling confusion and doubt.

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