Sunday, November 23, 2014

Keep Calm and Carry On

Growing up is hard. I am taking a growth spurt these days. I don't know what I used to think about..... I have had so many difficult thoughts in the past three months. It feels boggling to try to state them. It feels frightening. But they need to be said , if for no other reason than to make my conclusions more concrete. 
It started with fear. Cold nameless dread. Fear of the headlines. Isis, Ebola, Obama, climate change. Fear of others' tragedy becoming my own. Even now, I am not willing or able to say " oh phooey  on that!" We do live in a fallen world. The sadnesses are great, the injustice, the evil. Looking into the future only brings hard questions to mind. Technology is growing so quickly; along with it grows the potential of evil and wickedness. How dare I look my children straight in the eye, make them feel safe, teach them to love, hope, believe in goodness? The answer to this question is there, sounding trite, but oh so unchangeable. The truth for all this questioning and turmoil is surrender to God. Further truth is that, while you may experience a onetime surrender when you give over your circumstances, your desire for control, your children, your ambition to God, you must also maintain surrender. And that does not mean you must remain in a perfectly mellowed out, peaceful state of mind. It means you must also relenquish the feeling of surrender. It is to trust that God will give you grace when you need it.  And then to proceed. To go on making meals, doing dishes, picking up, giving hugs and kisses, reading stories, teaching life lessons, even though your fear wants to say it's not really worth your time . To find the promises in The Word and feast your mind on those, not the news.  (The media makes its money off your fears, y'know.)
During all this muddling God has used the "Call the Midwife" books by Jennifer Worth to help me understand some of these growing up truths. (The PBS series is also very good, but of course the books can go more indepth.) If you are a gentle reader, don't waste your time. These books are stories of the poorest section of postwar London. Add a little history of the workhouses and the world wars, and you have it. These are stories of life and death, goodness in the mundane and badness. They are encouragement that goes far beyond stuff and fluff. The stories are about a band of nuns and midwives who are doing the things I fear- thriving in adversity. We only have today. We have no promise of tomorrow. We have no promise that life will shift gracefully and kindly. We only have love today and a promise of strength for our need at the time of need.  "Keep  calm and carry on"  is true; it really is. Worn out, but true.