“How are you doing?” The words make me pause. How am I doing?
I feel as if my feet are on flimsy pieces of wood, floating in two separate rivers which are running in opposite directions. And not nice, gently bubbling ones, but ones that are rain-swollen, churning. My balance is precarious at best, and each passing day, the currents are carrying my left and right sides further apart.
The flurry of activity and busyness is draining and necessary, but I’m not handling it well. I seem to start doing a dozen things at once, but never quite complete any of them. I’m trying to type up procedures for the various things I do at First Pres. I’ve got unfinished lists of tasks by committee and by month. I feel as if I am giving glancing attention to really big stuff. Every day another question, another issue, another task.
Worse, I feel like I’m not making time for those I love and will miss here. The sense of urgency about everything else is seeping into this, too, and I hate it. I want time to just spend hanging out. To sit and talk and laugh and just be together. To savor being with those who have become so very dear to me. I don’t want to leave feeling as if I missed letting my friends know how much I love them. As hard as it’s going to be, I want to have time to say goodbye.
And all the while, my feet move further apart. At any second now I’m going to completely lose my balance and topple into the water.
I think about Jesus during His final days of earthly ministry. How did He prioritize what mattered most? Did He feel pulled in all kinds of different directions – wanting to rush around and heal as many hurting people as possible?
Reading the Gospels, Jesus seemed to withdraw more from the crowds to spend more time with His disciples. No doubt He left people who were sick and needy. Jesus didn’t fix everything in Galilee or Jerusalem. It’s interesting to me that He did take time to go to the temple and clear it out!
How did He handle the fact that He was leaving His disciples for the cross? Even though He told them time after time after time that He was going to be killed and then rise again, He knew they did not understand. He knew that He would be led away and they would need to take care of themselves while He was tried, convicted and crucified. Jesus knew that they were going to be terrified and huddled locked in a room.
I think of the beautiful prayers of Jesus in the Gospel of John. Prayers for the disciples then, for all of us now. For Himself, for His Father’s glory. Instead of a flurry of activity, Jesus spent those last hours before His arrest eating a meal, serving His friends, and praying. First in the Upper Room, and then in the Garden. Jesus did all He could to encourage them, but in the end, He had to leave. He had to be obedient to His Father’s purpose.
Obviously, I am not Jesus, and what I am about to experience is not what He did! I never want anyone to think I am comparing my small trifling transition to His all-in sacrifice! But, I do find parallels, and I take comfort in the fact that even Jesus could not spare His disciples – or Himself! – from the pain.
I cannot keep my leaving from being a major disruption to my staff, my church, my friends. As I wrote earlier this week, I have a wonderful community of sisters and brothers in Christ. The fact that they matter to me means that this is going to hurt. It means things will be different, for them, for me.
So, what to do? I’m still not sure how I’m going to keep my balance. The water is there, threatening to drown me. Maybe part of it is just admitting I’m feeling this way. Acknowledging that I can’t do it all. Looking to Jesus, leaning on His strength. Allowing the beauty of His prayers to give me hope.
May my life in some small way bring You glory, Father! I’m tired and anxious and I am sad. I don’t know how I’m going to get done all that needs to be done. Today I choose once again to give this all to You. Tomorrow I'll probably try to take it back! But, for today, here it is - here I am.
Father, You love my friends, You know what they need, too. Thank you. May we all be one, just as You are one with Jesus. Thank you for His example, for His prayers for us, so long ago. Thank you that although we most surely have trouble in this world, through Jesus we can overcome it. May we continue to put all our trust in Him alone.