One of my pastors invited me out to breakfast recently, just to check in with me. Delighted, I accepted her invitation immediately. She’s one of my favorite people – wise, funny, grounded, creative… and a fantastic listener.
At breakfast, she asked me how I was doing. I found that so many surprising (to me!) thoughts tumbled out of my mouth as she asked great questions and listened well.
I told her that I know my life is cake, really. Compared to displaced people, those in abusive situations, those dealing with painful medical treatments, those who don’t know when they’ll eat next… My pain is feeling lost in my own life and feeling purposeless. My pastor affirmed that it’s important to hold both realities – my pain matters, but it’s important to keep it in perspective, of course. I have found that it’s helping me to have a part-time job that gets me out of myself and my thoughts. To encounter others with their own stresses, issues, frustrations has been helpful.
Yes, I have a home, a family, enough to eat. I am loved and liked by some really good people. I’m grateful. And yet. It’s still painful living in my skin right now. I *have* to deal with that and not just shove it aside because I feel it’s indulgent. I believe that God is doing good refining work in my life through this process. If I shove it aside and refuse to acknowledge it, I believe I’m also shoving aside God’s work in my life.
The Guest House
Every morning a new arrival.A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
As an unexpected visitor.Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.