Sunday, March 23, 2014

When the Enemy is Us

I confess that I have been way too swept up in busy-ness this past week to give myself permission and time to be reflective. 

Wait. Let me restate that. I confess that I have been way too swept up in busy-ness in human things to make time for God this week as I had hoped and expected.

Now I am buried under a head cold, frustrated by my inability to breathe or think straight. See where busy-ness gets me? I got a lot of great things "accomplished" this week -- kept a lot of plates spinning, met a lot of expectations, checked a lot of boxes. But it was costly.

I have been trying to turn my mind back toward this quest to be aware of my own violent nature. And what bubbled up for me is how I can be violent with myself, and how that lack of self-care or tendancy to deride myself actually causes me to act against others.

For example, I have been a cranky soul on the road this week. I confess to swearing at people under my breath more than a couple of times. But if I look behind the outward symptom of road rage, I know I was upset with myself for running late, or for a bad interaction with a family member or co-worker.  Where is the grace for myself, the grace I try to be aware of needing to have for others?

Take that deep breath. I am a beloved child of God. That's not some miraculous shield that surrounds me and protects me from others. Because they are also beloved. Hopefully it equips me to love them...and myself, to treat everyone a bit more gently.

Rereading today's gospel lesson about the Samaritan woman at the well with Jesus, I feel her guilt and self-loathing, her sense of unworthiness that is deeply personal laid beside a societal us vs. them that was embedded in the culture. How hard it would be to even speak to the "other" that Jesus was to her -- a combination of guilt, shame, prejudice and pride all balled up inside.

When there is that much venom in our systems, our only responses are fight or flight.

And so this week, I feel like I am taking a step backward on my Lenten journey, making time to be beloved and live into that call, that warmth, that light SO THAT I can be loving.

Lord, in your mercy, receive my prayer.

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