For the Difficult Days

It took me a while to place my feet on the floor this morning. There are times when I am weary of rising, of getting up again, of fighting. Nayyirah Waheed, the prolific poet said, “All the women. In me. Are tired.” Indeed, they are. Sharing hearts with friends throughout the night, into the early morning hours, I kept thinking, how will I do this day?

One foot in front of the other.

Like we do all difficult days. Feet on the floor. Stand. Walk. Kiss the baby. Say I love you. Share a knowing with Cody. Shower. Dress. Walk. Kiss mama. Buy a coffee. Ham and cheese croissant. Sit at desk. Respond. Show up. I’m always encouraging people on the recovery journey to show up, and today I’m encouraging myself. Showing up is our best sometimes, and that’s enough.

I am drawing on the strength of others today, because that is what we do to keep going, to keep rising, to keep fighting. It is what we do to stay engaged in our communities, to stay present for each other, to remind ourselves that while these moments will impact our daily life over time, we are still very much in control of our love for one another. A dear friend, during our dialogue sent me this: I love you! And I need you to get out of bed and keep being you. You are a healer. He uses you to bring peace. You have a unique voice. You have a lot of work to do, my friend. So much more. 

We walked out of our door this morning, and our neighbor came down the stairs sobbing, so we stopped, and we sobbed together, just for a moment, because humanity needs us to show up today. Our crossing guard was ending her shift and traveling on my subway, so I stopped to smile and hold her eye longer than normal. I see her pain, because it’s mine. I sent my community group an email, with the subject line: Bring comfort food. Because we’ve got legitimate fears. Collectively, we are immigrants, and people of color, and women.We are also people of faith. We are tenacious, and accustomed to difficulty. We know how to overcome. Our hope, never in our circumstances, is secure.

Walter Brueggemann said, “Hope expressed without knowledge of and participation in grief is likely to be false hope that does not reach despair. …it is precisely those who know death most painfully who can speak hope most vigorously.”

I am finding my praise in my lament. It is my response to reality, a cry to the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords, a belief that He is faithful, sovereign and just, a song to carry my heart through. Friend, maybe you’re having a tough day. Maybe you’re thrilled. Maybe you couldn’t care less. Wherever you find yourself today, may I borrow from my friend, to encourage you?

We need you to show up, and keep being you. You are a healer. You can be a peacemaker. You have a unique voice – use it to lift the heads and hearts of others. We have a lot of work to do. It’s time to rise, time to love like we’ve never loved, time to understand and see each other, time to get to work in our homes, communities, cities and nation. We are lovers of humanity, and though we may feel despair, we are carriers of hope.

12-14 So don’t you see that we don’t owe this old do-it-yourself life one red cent. There’s nothing in it for us, nothing at all. The best thing to do is give it a decent burial and get on with your new life. God’s Spirit beckons. There are things to do and places to go!

15-17 This resurrection life you received from God is not a timid, grave-tending life. It’s adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike “What’s next, Papa?” God’s Spirit touches our spirits and confirms who we really are. We know who he is, and we know who we are: Father and children. And we know we are going to get what’s coming to us—an unbelievable inheritance! We go through exactly what Christ goes through. If we go through the hard times with him, then we’re certainly going to go through the good times with him!

18-21 That’s why I don’t think there’s any comparison between the present hard times and the coming good times. The created world itself can hardly wait for what’s coming next. Everything in creation is being more or less held back. God reins it in until both creation and all the creatures are ready and can be released at the same moment into the glorious times ahead. Meanwhile, the joyful anticipation deepens.

22-25 All around us we observe a pregnant creation. The difficult times of pain throughout the world are simply birth pangs. But it’s not only around us; it’s within us. The Spirit of God is arousing us within. We’re also feeling the birth pangs. These sterile and barren bodies of ours are yearning for full deliverance. That is why waiting does not diminish us, any more than waiting diminishes a pregnant mother. We are enlarged in the waiting. We, of course, don’t see what is enlarging us. But the longer we wait, the larger we become, and the more joyful our expectancy.

26-28 Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good. Romans 8, The Message

Sending you all my love today, dear friend.

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