“I had the blues ’cause I had no shoes until I met a man on the street who had no feet.” When my kids were growing up, that is how I would teach them to respond to even their legitimate woes: someone is always in a more dire strait. Sometimes, however, a person gets the blues and you just can’t shake it.
I’ve been feeling a little bit like George Bailey lately, and Clarence Oddbody is nowhere in sight. It’s more than a ‘bluesy state.’ I always turn to my mantra and to prayer in rare times when I feel like this, but I’ve had limited success lately.
As I acknowledge my failure, I realize I am not making other people’s lives any easier either. I’ve failed (or succeeded depending on your perspective) in regard to what my heroine Etty Hillesum wrote in An Interrupted Life:
“… complaining means shifting the misery onto others.”
I think I’ve done my share of that lately — complaining — and that does not make the world a better place. Doesn’t make me feel any better either, or the people around me.
I may have gotten the wake up call I needed this morning. During his morning homily, Deacon Ken asked, “How do you hear God’s voice?”
While I could answer that in many ways, all different but all accurate as well, my mind immediately focused on a passage I read an hour earlier in Brian Erickson’s brilliant and under-read book The Theological Implications of Climate Control. Mr. Erickson writes:
Abide in me. When you feel as if you are no one and you are going nowhere, abide in me. When you feel as if everything is right and life is bursting with opportunity, abide in me. There will be times ahead when it feels as if we are far from each other, that I have forgotten you and vice versa. But I need you to hold on even if it feels as if your grip is shaky and you are about to tumble down even farther, hold on to me.
That is how I hear God’s voice this day. I will pay attention to it, and I will climb back aboard the peace train. I will abide and I will hold on. As I do, I will make the world a better place to be. Thanks, Etty. Thanks, Ken. Thanks, God. Your Friend, tVM.