September 5, 2017
Weekly Reflection – Overwhelmed!
Events can make you feel overwhelmed. This past week has thundered with an over-abundance of tragically electrifying events. Floods, cancer, interpersonal conflict, temptation, work overload, threats of nuclear war, financial stress…the list seems endless, and it tends to leave me exhausted, depleted, disoriented, and be muddled. Have you seen any of this in your life? Does it sound familiar?
Disrupted – Finding God In Illness and Loss is the title of a book written by Virgil Fry of Lifeline Chaplaincy in Houston, Texas (the city that was hit last week by Hurricane Harvey). While the book is written primarily from the perspective of a hospital chaplain, its content speaks to any of life’s “disruptions.” Fry writes in his Preface, “The topic…affects everyone.
Like it or not, we are mortal. We experience disruptions, illness and loss that we cannot avoid, but these disruptions teach us.” Like when a hurricane barrels into our lives, a government bans religious expression, or when we simply don’t see how to make ends meet in day-to-day life. In times like these, we learn to look to God, lean on one another, and even cry out in pain.
I have received comfort over the years from the following prayer, also written by Dr. Fry. Perhaps it will be meaningful to you as well.
It’s one of those days.
The kind where everything surges, leaving me overwhelmed
The kind I try to avoid, try to suppress, try to muster my energy to fight back
But somehow, today it’s not working.
When others ask how I am, I answer, “Fine”
When they question my aloofness, I smile
When they push for honesty I hesitate
There they express concern, I thank them.
Why is it, Lord, that there are days like this?
Do I dare ask? Do I really want to know?
In my mind’s eye,
I rehearse other overwhelmed strugglers
Like Moses, fed up with exasperating fellow wonderers,
Like Hannah, praying so earnestly she was deemed drunk
Like Jeremiah, lamenting the cruel fate of his people
Like Mary, stung by unclear words of her 12-year-old.
Such stories, in a powerful way, confront and comfort me
They remind me again that my view is, at best, partial
That my story, like everyone3’s story is ongoing and unfolding
That paradoxically, being overwhelmed and insecure can be a statement of faith
That such days serve as a corrective balance to overlooked schedules that fail to reflect on Your handiwork.
Lord, it is good to be alive, sustained by Your Spirit, recognizant of Your mercy, justice and love.
For the times You restore my soul, with or without my prayer to do so
I stand truly grateful and amazed.
May Your creation forever proclaim Your caring ways.
As Dr. Fry writes, “My prayerful hope is that these recorded experiences will enrich and better equip you for your spiritual journey. And may the God of us all be thanked for eternal promises of supplying everything we need on that path.”
Blessings and peace in the midst of today’s disruption,
Disrupted – Finding God In Illness and Loss, Virgil M. Fry, ©1999, 21st Century Christian
Prayer, Overwhelmed, courtesy of Lifeline Chaplaincy, lifelinechaplaincy.org