Thursday, December 11, 2014


People ask me all the time how I handle what I handle.  Generally speaking, I have to say that I handle it well on the outside and badly on the inside.  This past few weeks have been pretty dark in my heart, and it's been hard to pull myself together to get anything done. I've been feeling disconnected, and I'm not caring for my home, my mom, my work, or my church in the way that I should. 

Recent readings have been helping me to reconnect.  Weavings magazine had an article recently on the topic of 'acedia' (yeah, me neither) which technically means 'laziness' but which implies something deeper, a sort of deliberate apathy.  The article explored our 'addiction to nothing' - our tendency to literally run away from work, family, and God into a desperate "parody of leisure":  Pointless web surfing, pleasure reading that brings no pleasure,  mindless video gaming, or as the author of the article admitted, "my new best friend, Sudoku" - whatever activity it is that keeps you from doing what you are meant to do and being who you are meant to be for 'just another couple of minutes'.   Ouch.  It kinda hurts when somebody nails a diagnosis to your soul, doesn't it?

I ran across a link to  blog post:  Here is the post in its entirety:


"But as a mountain erodes and crumbles and as a rock is moved from its place, as water wears away stones and torrents wash away the soil, so you destroy a person’s hope." — Job 1

This Advent I am grateful for the gift of hopelessness. Yes, you read that correctly. This past year has been full of heartbreak, suffering, and lament. It follows on the heels of nearly two years of unemployment, financial insecurity, and stress-related health issues. Any hope to which I once clung — any hope outside of God, that is — has been destroyed.
And for that I give thanks.
Anyone who has experienced any kind of suffering knows that it’s a rude awakening. Something breaks in, shattering to pieces every illusion that this life is somehow fair and leaves you feeling heartsick, like the proverb describes. The tree that you thought would give life and shade and fruit and beauty turned out to be a useless stump.
And it’s only a matter of time before something else falls apart. It would seem that it would be better to never hope, rather than to be disappointed again and again.
This summer, as I waited anxiously to hear what was strangely afflicting my father (who had already had several health scares and a heart attack), as I nursed a broken heart and came to grips with personal disappointment, as I watched how a once rosy-outlook turned to a heavy-grey, I learned the true meaning of hope. Everything in this world will break or decay or simply fade away. Nothing here is permanent and even the most seemingly perfect and ideal situation has at least a hairline crack.
Yet the One who Paul refers to as “the God of hope” met me in that hopelessness. Seeing God, who is perfect in holiness, perfect in faithfulness, and perfect in love, juxtaposed with all my other hopes — even the good ones, like having healthy parents — made them look flimsy and dull. As Isaiah wrote thousands of years ago, all of creation withers and fades, yet God’s word endures forever. God’s plans and purposes are not subject to decay. God’s love never fails.
It’s that God of hope that we must long for — and who alone can satisfy our longings. It’s that One who can fill us with “all joy and peace,” as we trust in God. It’s that God who can cause us to “overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
Each year at Advent we sing about the “thrill of hope” that comes with Christ’s birth. My weary world rejoices as I consider that God has not abandoned me to the hopelessness that comes with this fallen creation, but came down to live in the midst of the fragility and flimsiness of my hopes, to be with me as they shattered or simply faded away. This hope anchors me even when life falls apart. This Advent, may you know this God of hope.
Juliet Vedral is Press Secretary for Sojourners."


And there it is, said so much better than I could ever say it.  Sometimes it is the stripping away of all we knew and held dear that finally opens our eyes to The Reality underpinning it all.  "The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of the Lord endures forever."  Eternity lives in each and every human soul, but our human bodies will suffer and die.  Accepting the discord between those realities is challenging, especially when the suffering belongs to a beloved child.  Finding reasons to stay connected and not run away into empty 'acedia' is my challenge. 

Challenge accepted.


No comments:

Post a Comment