Wednesday, May 4, 2011

An Inconvenient Life

Last night, the sound of a crying baby was seeping into my dreams, until I woke up and realized that it was a real baby - my crying, teething baby.  I spent the weekend away from home, getting precious little sleep (and making up for it with fun and festivities that ensued well into the night) so I had hoped to get some decent rest once I was back in my comfy bed.  Yet that was not to be, and I've been woken up numerous times, both nights since I've returned.

Is is just me, or is life ridiculously inconvenient?  I am constantly bombarded by situations which I did not sign up for, attitudes from people (mostly my children) which are not called for, and a vast array of circumstances that challenge my sense of calm and sanity.

Whenever you mop the floor, there's often a child nearby with muddy boots, ready to trample through the house.

When you neatly fold a pile of laundry, a baby crawls along and takes pleasure in decimating the pile, tossing clothes all over the room.

When there are no socks in your drawer, you can never find two matching ones in the clean laundry basket.

When you want to be left alone in peace and quiet, there's often someone needing your attention and time.

Much of our lives warrant a public outcry of "It's not fair!" and I'm not just talking about the trivial - laundry and mud, snowy days in spring and running out of milk when you wanted to make a latte.  I don't like when I see my friends suffer, and go through hardship and I prefer not to have to deal with sucky-ness myself.

So after a negative rant such as this, I know I must turn my thoughts heavenward.  For a long time, it never occurred to me that Jesus understood the nastiness of our annoying, and frustrating world.  I figured that since he was God on earth, He must have some magical happy attitude that enabled Him to respond perfectly in every situation without any difficulty.  While I believe that He did respond perfectly, He still had to wrestle the emotions and frustrations that come from being human.  We always picture Jesus as being stoic and exuberantly gracious and calm, yet scripture seems to indicate that He went through some measure of highs and lows, and he routinely had to get out of the limelight and have some "me" time.  Yet, I can interpret his "me" time to be a lot more about communion and fellowship with the Father (as seen in scripture that He often went off to pray by himself) than it was about lamenting and agonizing over what is not "fair".

In Matthew 5:1, Jesus sees the multitudes, goes up on a mountain and sits down and is surrounded by his disciples.  He speaks to the crowd, teaching them over the course of the next few chapters.  Then in Matthew 8:1,  He comes down from the mountain and the multitudes follow him and begin to make a plethora of requests.  After a whirlwind of activity that involved healing a leper, a paralytic, and Peter's feverish mother; along with casting out demons and healing many other sick people in the crowd, Jesus takes a look at the multitudes and realizes that it's time for a break! (Mt 8:18 "When Jesus saw that a curious crowd was growing by the minute, he told his disciples to get him out of there to the other side of the lake." The Message)  Immediately following this scripture is the story of Jesus napping in the boat, when a storm comes and freaks out his disciples and He has another "issue" to take care of.  Once again He is shown to be putting other people's needs above His own desire for solitude and rest!  And I thought I had troubles!

When I spent some time digging into scripture, I realized that Jesus well understood the plight of the weary, overworked, over-extended individual.  That spoke specifically to me about His ability to empathize and understand the life of a busy, young mother.  While He didn't have crying babies and sticky hands pulling on His jeans, asking to be "up", He did have crying, desperate people needing healing and deliverance, along with various people (including those considered "outcasts" and unclean) reaching out to touch the hem of His garment.  Everyone wanted His attention, He could rarely get away - and I know He understands my life.

I know what I must do.  I know that there are going to be times where I have to keep going, and keep plugging away despite the weariness and frustration.  I even know that I should be seeking God for an infilling of His peace and contentment and strength.  This is all fine and dandy (I'm not trying to be sarcastic... but it does get frazzling once in a while).   However, there is the knowing of what I must do and then there is the accepting and acting on it.  Ultimately, what enables me to accept God's grace in every situation is knowing that He sympathizes with my life.  He gets it.  He lived it and walked it, and even though the specific details were different from my own, He experienced similar emotions to what I continually face.

I might not get very many opportunities to wander off into the wilderness and pray like Jesus did when He needed a break, but at least I have a lock on my bedroom door.   Once inside, I can attempt to ignore the little fists hammering incessantly, and the continual high-pitched exclamations of: "Mommy, Mommy, Mommmeeeeee!!!!"

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