At the beginning of Lent I hoped to blog a poem a day, and started well, responding to Stephen Cherry's Lent Book, "Barefoot Prayers", but over the last week and a half have hardly read or written anything at all. It would be easy to feel down and defeated but thankfully I don't, I have been suffering from a horrible cold and chest infection and have needed to take care of myself, and if that means that I don't have the energy to do the writing I was hoping to do that is OK. I haven't failed, instead I have allowed myself to rest when I needed to, the same issue arose today when I wanted to help someone in need but knew that if I did that would be a step too far.
Saying no can be so hard, no to my goals, and no to folk wanting help or time or anything really, but I have had to do so, and in doing so I have found a gentle grace with myself that I often don't allow. It may simply be my personality type but I am often driven and don't like to show vulnerability even when I am aware of it, and it might just be that I am human, I suspect it is a mixture of both.
So today I not only said no, but I have also accepted and asked for help, I need to come aside this afternoon, to spend some time in quiet and in prayer, to ponder the coming roller coaster ride of Holy Week. As I did so I began to ponder that exhaustion was a part of Jesus experience, he knew the need to withdraw, to come aside and called the disciples to do the same. He knew what it was to feel overwhelmed and even to want to walk away from it all, just meditating on his experience of Gethsemane helps me to know that even when I come to the end of myself that I cannot come to the end of God, and I remember that his strength holds me in my weakness.
So I have resolved not to beat myself up but rather to be gentle with myself, and today I join Stephen Cherry in yesterdays prayer;
God of the Golden Rule,
let us be to others as we need them to be to us.
And let others be to us as we
seek to be to them.
When we fail forgive us,
when they fail
When we hurt each other reconcile us.
And all by your most gentle grace.