Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Therefore I Have Hope


I opened my Facebook this morning
and saw one of those things
posted by Christian friends with good intentions,
hoping to stir up in you the perfect parent
and thus lead your family into a state of unmatched perfect outcomes,
never yet seen in the world.
That was how it felt, anyway.

Don't forget: everything depends on you.
If you fail to be perfect in parenting,
husbanding,
wife-ing,
and general citizenry,
all is lost,
and your children will lead the next pagan revival.

Honestly I didn't even read the post.
I have enough anxiety about my performance,
and the results of my performance
without reading it.
Maybe it was a truly helpful post.
But its title looked unbearably guilt-trippy and depressing to me.

And when a child in my house informed me this morning
that I 'was bearing false witness against them!
by requesting that the pan cupboard be straightened up,
knowing that particular child
had shoved everything into it topsy-turvy in a haze of daydreaming,
I lost my temper.

The bickering between this one and one other has worn me down.
I am tired of hearing pointless arguments
and contradictions without cause.
And snotty little comments made to provoke tears.
And denials of reality when reality is that the child is a space cadet,
and walks around putting things in odd places,
whether the places and actions are remembered or not.
And it was the last straw.

I did not bake some cookies to correct the misinformed little soul.
I failed to keep my cool.
And probably ruined all future hope of happiness and prosperity for the child.
Maybe of Christianity, too.
Although I did apologize,
and the child apologized,
and we hugged one another and forgave one another.

It says that if your brother has something against you,
go to him and be reconciled.
It doesn't say,
"If your brother has something against you,
you are obviously damned
because Christians never do wrong by each other,
and don't need to ask forgiveness of each other."

It isn't our perfection that sharpens one another, I think.
I think that where it says,
"As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another,"
it's more about friction than lubrication.
Sometimes I wish there was less to sharpen in me.

My husband texted me, "Broken people beget broken people.
If it wasn't for the Lord, what would we do?
He is strong.
He will hold us up."

Feeling like a jerk, I sat down and looked over a few blogs,
hoping to glean a little grace.
And my eyes fell on one of my favorites,
which was quoting a Scripture yesterday:
"This I recall to my mind,
therefore I have hope:
The Lord's lovingkindnesses indeed never cease,
for His compassions never fail.
They are new every morning; great is Thy faithfulness."

And it's from Lamentations -- a bit of grace in itself.
'Compassions' are multiple.
'Lovingkindnesses' are multiple.
Unfailing.
Unceasing.
New every morning.
And strangely enough, though I am a Christian,
I need them again today.
Maybe you do, too.

There is reason to hope.
Though my lovingkindnesses stopped with six words said to me,
and my compassion probably didn't even get out of bed this morning,
His was new again, as ever.
And His faithfulness is great.

Have mercy on us sinners, Lord,
and sanctify our dirt-born lives.

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