Ain't No Lousy Institution Gonna Break My Stride

You know how, when you are at the end of your rope, and you are barely clinging onto existence, and it takes every last bit of your energy to just get up and put one foot in front of the other to function through the demands of your day?  And then, say...your washer goes out.  Or your A/C breaks down.  Or...let's just hypothesize...the transmission in your 5 yo car goes out.

You guys...I'm starting to feel like a big, whiny complainer.  But...I have seriously been dealt a nasty hand this week.    

I can't say more.  I wish I could...but...

All I have to do is scan the news headlines each day to see that I am not alone.  And even when I really want to give up, I know I won't.  I've been in this place before, and I will be in this place again.  I hate the desert, but I know I will eventually find the water and shade.

I think there are a lot of people having a hard time right now.  I am seeing a lot of friends making big changes.  Some are making smaller changes.  But, I think, a lot of us are just reaching for something "other."  I am in that boat.  I have been in it for awhile.  (Probably significantly more since my sister died.)

I read this perfect devotion in my Bible this week.  It is a poem from Alice Macdonald Kipling (Rudyard's mom), and I think I will cherish it forever: 

As from my window at first glimpse of dawn

I watch the rising mist that heralds day,

And see by God's strong hand the curtain drawn

That through the night has hid the world away;

So I, through the window of my soul shall see

One day Death's fingers with resistless might

Draw back the curtained gloom that shadows life,

And on the darkness of Time's deepest night, 

Let in the perfect Day.  Eternity.

My response?  I can NOT wait.

Fortunately for me, in the meantime, I have had some relief and respite.  Just a simple back-and-forth text with my dear friend and sister provided one comforting moment of empathy, and afterwards, I had the random sense that everything is going to be ok.  And it is.  It will all work for the glory of those who love Him, and that is one thing I don't think anyone can question about me.

...or my honesty.  I said to my boss in a very precious meeting, "I'm going to be honest..."

and he interrupted me, "Are you ever not?"

I pondered for a minute.  "No.  No, I don't think that I am."  Thoughtful pause.  "Sometimes to a fault."

This is me.  

And, while things may not end up the way I'd hoped, I know that no effort I have ever made will be in vain, because I serve a God of Justice and Mercy, Power and Might.  And He can make manure grow pumpkins.  I have seen it with my own eyes in my own backyard.  (It was a pumpkin, you guys!!  I'm still not sure about the squash, though.)

You know what else he can do?  Take my simple love for Monarchs and make it mean so much more.  I released the last one today!  8 for 8 successfully raised from caterpillar to butterfly. 

I was pondering today my 100% success rate with the caterpillars.  It does not always happen.  And I do so love 100 percents.

But…as I thought about my 8, I realized the number was more significant than I had initially realized.  8 is also the number of babies I have.  Only 4 developed successfully, and the agony of that loss has gracefully softened over the years.

But I know, too, from my precious Papa that numbers have a biblical significance.  And guess what 8 signifies…new creation… "man's true 'born again' event when he is resurrected from the dead into eternal life.” (Read More Here.)

What a beautiful metaphor and reminder he has given me in the context of my simple, sincere joy this summer!

I share this video with all humility, because...yep...I am a TOTAL and COMPLETE nerd, and I happen to find beauty in the genuine.

Anyway.  I have tended toward blind determination.  I made a play against my "pickle ball" bestie the other day.  I just kind of fell to the ground and swept my paddle at the ball.  I had no hope of victory.  But it landed.  I never saw it.  I trust that they were not trying to build my confidence with little white lies.  It must have been a killer play.  My bestie said, almost annoyed..."Do you EVER give up?!!"

"No.  Not really."

I lose.  A lot.  I get knocked down.  I get stabbed in the back.  I get angry.  I get fed up.  I vent and I release.  Then, I get right back to it.

I have this favorite song from childhood, "Break My Stride."  My mom loves to tell the story of how I would belt it so loud they started turning the channel as soon as they identified it, before I would notice.  (Cruel, right?  Oh well...I once habitually pretended to be asleep when my 3 yo came to my room at night, so...)

But the truth is...I don't know why, but from childhood it has been my end-all-be-all.  Nothing will ever best me.  Ain't nothing gonna hold me down.  I WILL keep on moving.

And I think that's just how it has to be with me.  I am going to continue to face obstacles for the rest of my life, but until my last breath (whining and complaining aside), I will NOT give up.  I will not.

I hope you are with me, because I am loyally by your side in this battle we constantly face.

And really, none of us is ever alone.  Reach out if you need to.

As always, your homie.