Sunday, January 16, 2011


I spent a weekend in October at a Monastery. A group of women, for whom I have deep spiritual respect, invited me. So I went. What would be needed to really describe the experience is beyond my communication abilities, but suffice to say on the last day I found myself in a tiny chapel, which I had previously mistaken for a garden shed, having a good snot-fest cry on one of the two pews. My tears blurred the details of the peeling baby blue wallpaper and the face of a plastic, painted Mary as she tenderly watched over my little soul.

I prayed for my kids until I actually thought I would be sick (so while I cried and committed my children to the care of their Heavenly Father, I pictured myself walking back up the winding mountain path to this sacred space with a mop and bucket). I told God it was too much. Not that my life has any real hardship, but the moments when I consider seriously the privilege and responsibility of Sheparding little souls, I find myself wholly and completely lacking. Completely lacking, as in naked without a pen on the first day at a new job. Or at the airport, boarding a cross-continental flight with a baby but no diaper. A house without a roof. A car without tires. Instructions to dismantle a bomb written in Mandarin. Lacking.

And so I said to Him, out loud, “This is too much.” And he answered me right away, “It is not yours.” It wasn’t much of a fight. What could I say? It is true that as a junior high kid I had dangled my toes in an alpine creek and told God that if he was real he could have my whole life. I was earnest, but it also seemed like a safe bet. If he wasn’t out there then no harm done. But twenty-something years later, in a little shed part way up the mountain, my promise came back to both haunt and soothe. It is too much. The blinding beauty as well as the darkness of this life: too much. And so with each morning sun, I have no choice but to place it all in capable hands and rest.

“Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.” Psalm 90:14

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