01 September 2011

Musings on Liturgy: Where Do I Go?

To whom shall we go? 
You have the words of eternal life,
and we have believed, and have come to know
that You are the Holy One of God.

Praise to Thee, Lord Jesus Christ,
King of endless glory.

My head hurts today. The raging hormones of pregnancy can cause that, they say, and I suspect that pondering the future too much can, too. Not being able to take my traditional rounds of medication makes me grumpy, and when I'm grumpy too long, I go to a bad place.

Most of you reading this probably know that place, if not in your own experience, at least in your experience of other people. It's a place where life sucks and where I don't want any demands placed on me because I'm uncomfortable, darnit!, and the people around me are supposed to take care of me, not the other way around. 

It's not a good place. It's not a place that makes me a better wife, mother, symbiotic host, or friend. And it's not a place from which I really want to talk to God. After all, he calls me to be more than my headache, to come out of the place where I want everyone to feel sorry for the poor pregnant woman who cannot take medicine to feel better and see where others are at, too. 

And yet, where else is there to go?

The words above, part of my morning liturgy, seem like one of the most appropriate greetings for God that I've ever heard. That's the way I see them, like the words I say when I'm finally through the door, after I've stated my intention to want Him and only Him and asked that my heart be changed so that intention can be truth. Then I get to see Him, and these are the words I'm given to say. 

Truly, there's nowhere else to go. Or nowhere else that it makes sense to go, anyway. In reality, we all try to go a lot of different places other than to God. People talk about these places all the time. They're the things we try to fill ourselves with, the things that actually make us more empty, and yet we return over and over again.

There's only one place we can go, but to do that we have to admit that He is God. We have to say that He is the Lord, the Son of the King and King himself, and that his perspective, the eternal one, is the one that counts to us more than anything else does. It's hard to do this, especially hard when we want our circumstances to matter more than they do, when we're demanding acknowledgement of our pain or our struggles or our unmet desires before we submit to anything.

That's not to say that these things aren't important. We need to feel our pain, and we need others to see it and speak into it. Our circumstances do matter, because that's where we're loved. And if we aren't held and loved in the places where our deep desires aren't met, we'll have holes inside that effect the rest of our lives. 

These things matter, but they aren't everything. Even when we're hurting, there's more going on than our pain. There are His words of eternal life, and the knowledge that He knows us and sees us, and that our pain hurts Him, too. It's not always comforting to remember these things (in fact, it can be maddening), but keeping them in mind can change our perspective. When we see Him through our pain, we see the pain itself differently.

And so today I work to acknowledge Him. I work to love the people around me, even with their demands, because He loves them and because He loves me. And in the larger picture of our current struggles and state of unknowing about what the next few months, I try to find the joys in every day, because those are things He has given, rather than dwelling on the unknown, or the things He hasn't given.


kirsten said...

I love the way you think and the way you love, dear friend. In spite of the unknown, and in spite of the headache today you work to acknowledge him and love him, to love those around you because really -- is there anything else to be done about it? To whom else is there to go? To what else?

I love this passage because of its context -- because a bunch of people had left Jesus at that very moment because they were offended at His words that unless they ate his body and drank his blood, they had no life in them and no part of Him. People abandoned Him because He spoke the truth that would save their souls, and they couldn't handle it.

And so I think of this with the place that you're in: the headache and the grumpy and the uncomfortable and not even wanting to deal with the world on account of it all. And there is Peter (good ol' Peter), reminding us that as uncomfortable and painful as acknowledging and loving and living may be, that there really is no other way to live but to acknowledge and love Christ, and so acknowledge and love others.

Loving you where you're at today. <3

Anonymous said...

hang in there.
you don't go it alone.

emily wierenga said...

i understand, friend... and i also get that there's nowhere else to turn but him. and he takes us, headaches and all. praying relief for you sister.

Misty said...

when we want our circumstances to matter more than they do, when we're demanding acknowledgement of our pain or our struggles or our unmet desires before we submit to anything.
When we see Him through our pain, we see the pain itself differently.

sarah, these words.... yes x a million. so often i can't see past myself, my needs, wants, hopes, disappointments, and they're all about me. if i were to just see him, just pause long enough to see that i am a mere dot, much would right itself, even if my own headaches didn't go away or house get cleaned or whatever, at least then i could react differently to the world around me--in love instead of selfishness.