I have a cold.
I know we’re not supposed to admit to coming down with respiratory viruses online anymore. I know it’s bad hat, but here we are.
I have a cold.
A very common one.
And I am dying.
Builder-husband assures me that I am not dying and that our family is not condemned to social isolation until the end of time—no one else is sick, but I cook for all of them--so I’m not sure I believe him. We’ll see you in 2022, cruel world.
Unlike 90% of all adult humans, I do not automatically turn into an irritable crybaby when I’m sick. I become strong and stoic, like the British in London during the Blitz. Keep calm and carry on. I’m like that. Filled with things like FORTITUDE and SACRIFICE.
(The above is a lie. Builder-husband just handed me a cup of elderberry tea and kissed me on the forehead, which is noble of him because I’ve been moaning loudly for the last 5 minutes. As a comorbidity, I also get really insecure when I’m sick and tired. It’s fun. I’m fun when I’m sick. We should all hang out soon.)
I got this spiritual director at the beginning of quarantine last year because it sounded like a good idea. Someone to “companion with me on my spiritual journey.”
She’s lovely. I love her. I don’t know how but I do. I know next to nothing about her, we zoom once a month and the words and questions that come from her mouth inform everything I think from then on. Which is ironic because I do most of the talking during these things. I assume she’s very good at her job.
This month, she said something about “embracing God everywhere you see him.”
I have a cold and I am dying. (See above. Ibid.) And then Builder-husband hands me a cup of tea and I think about embracing God everywhere I see him and I’m like:
Dang, God’s that cup of tea.
Humble, simple, common—bread and wine, remember, everyone?—but here, even when you’re sick, whining, and insecure.
Open hands, take this. It’s for you. Drink, honey.
The oldest one looked at me yesterday afternoon after I’d been cross and irritable all morning because of my “seasonal allergies.” (Smart child #2 says: “Mom, you’ve never had ‘seasonal allergies’ before.” See above. Ibid.)
Embracing God and seeing him everywhere and I’m like:
Dang, God’s a child inviting you to take a nap.
He doesn’t want too much from us, actually, not really anything. He doesn’t need it. He’s got it all already. He just wants us to rest in him.
It’s hard to be melodramatic and sick and insecure when you keep “embracing God everywhere you see him.”
There’s not much to do but surrender. I’m not much good at that. It feels better to struggle against things I’m not meant to fight against—like rest and care. It feels like I’m getting somewhere when I do the emotional equivalent of slapping the cup of tea out of God’s hand—or whoever his hands are at that moment.
Resting is harder. Accepting is harder. Trusting is harder.
This lent has sort of come and gone without me noticing, normally I add a spiritual practice or give something up and really focus on the 40 days. But this year, well, this year has been the emotional equivalent of “I have a cold; I am dying.”
I’m not sure he wants much from me this year. Or any year? Maybe all he ever wants for us is rest and embrace?
Jesus is wily, though, one minute he’s all like “come unto me all ye who are heavy laden” and the next he’s like “you’re going to jail forever, Paul.”
I can’t quite tell what he wants.
But I am beginning to see a little bit, how his character is just disarming. And confusing. And winsome.
Is this Easter?
Not the beautiful sermons or ancient words and hymns, but this confusion: who is he? Where is he? What does he want?
You gotta embrace him where you see him.
And you can see him everywhere. Richard Rohr writes, "God comes to you as your life."
If you have the eyes for it.