Sustenance from the archives+: Day 4 – Why & FMF – Share

Sustenance from the archives+ (2)

Day 4: Why

“Why?”*
Inherent in this one word question is a search for answers,
a pursuit of information or understanding.

Sometimes it is rooted in childlike curiosity.
At other times, it is a desperate cry in the face of the previously unimagined,
that which turns “them” into me, into us:
The bereaved.
Survivors of an earthquake or other natural disasters,
or personal events with an emotional impact of tsunami-like proportions.

The betrayed or the betrayer.
The divorced.
The fired.
The suddenly unemployed.
The previous homeowner whose house is now in foreclosure.
The evicted.
The newly diagnosed.
The parent of a child with mental health or developmental challenges.
The list can go on and on.

There is another question that I was taught years ago,
one to which, I am still learning to turn to after a difficult event.
One that moves me away from the default question, “Why?”
From what is often the futility of reaching for and even demanding
answers that God in His sovereignty may not provide on this side of eternity.

The other question is “What?”
“What will I do with what has happened?”
Because I truly do have a choice in how I respond,
and more times than I like, my response is all I have control over.

Experience has taught me that I may not be able to voice this question immediately,
not while the aftershocks are still being felt,
not during the time when emotions are raw and disorientation common.
Then my need is not for answers but for comfort and strength and abundant grace,
and family and friends who hug freely without the need to speak,
especially trite statements that provoke and even wound instead of heal.

But at some point, if I am to truly live in my new normal,
live without resentment and bitterness and anger and self-pity,
or a sense of having been somehow or somewhat betrayed by my Father,
I must sit with the “What?” question.
“What will I do with what has happened?”
Hold on to it?
Or turn it over to the Father
and accept His beauty for my ashes?
His oil of joy for my mourning?
The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness?
Allow Him to use, as He sees fit, what He permitted in my life?
Let His strength be demonstrated in my weakness?

“What will I do with what has happened?
It is a question that no one can answer for us
and the answer or answers will shape us and our “after the … lives,”
as well as the lives of persons to whom we are connected.

Copyright © 2016. E. W. Wright. All Rights Reserved. 

*This version of the poem was originally published as “Why? What?” in the book, Sliced Bread: Food for the Spirit, released November 16, 2016, and shared on this blog on September 12, 2017.


Five Minute Friday: Share*

It can be easy to share our successes,
our victories,
our triumphs,
with the people we love.

But our failures,
our weaknesses,
our struggles?
These we can be tempted,
even inclined to hide,
minimize.
Sometimes out of pride.
Sometimes out of fear
that we will be rejected.
Judged.
Disapproved of.

But true intimacy requires vulnerability.

Help me to remember this truth, Abba,
When I am tempted to hide and pretend with those I love.

Let me counter this temptation with the truth that You know me fully and love me completely.
Let the truth that I am accepted in the Beloved, be enough for me to risk being vulnerable with my loved ones.

And let me be a safe place where they can feel free to share their struggles and troubles, and flaws and know that they will be accepted and loved and supported.

Abba, I pray once more, help me love my loved ones well.

*This post was originally published on this blog on October 18, 2017.

To read posts for Days 2 and 3 of the series, “Sustenance from the archives+,” please click on the link below.

Day 2: Afraid & Day 3: Believe

Please click here to learn about Five Minute Friday.

 

 

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Five Minute Friday: Share

Joining Kate Motaung and a community of writers for Five Minute Friday. The prompt is, “Share.”

GO

Selfishness. It seems to be bound up from birth in most human hearts, if not all. As evidenced by the fact that one of our first words as children is usually, “Mine.” Sometimes spoken in multiples, “Mine! Mine! Mine!” as we fiercely clutch an object to our chests. Sometimes it is not that we want it but what we want is to keep it from someone else.

One minister described the adult version of the clutching, the hesitance to share, as rooted in the fear of running out, rather than faith in running over. Running over. Is this not what the Father promises? “Give and it shall be given to you. Good measure. Pressed down. Shaken together and running over.”

Some children seem generous and tender hearted from birth. Freely offering to share whatever they have with others. Most of us however, have to learn to be generous. To give freely of what matters most. It is often easy to share what we no longer want or value little. The rub is to give what we value most and that often is ourselves, our time, our talents. But there is this promise, “The liberal soul will shall be enriched, and he who waters shall himself be watered.”

STOP

What can we share with others today? A smile? A meal? A hug? Eye contact? Time? A word of encouragement? There is truly no such thing as too much encouragement. It may not be obvious to us that someone needs to be encouraged but as Truett Cathy said, “You know someone needs encouragement if they are breathing.”

Five Minute Friday