When my car breaks down and my weekend plans are ruined. And money is tight and my husband didn’t get the job we thought. When the baby is not sleeping well and things just keep piling up and there’s not quite enough of me to make it through the day. And I’m feeling lonely stuck at home and no one’s calling.

When children are dying in Syria and people are being shot in our nation’s capitol and the west is flood and fire and there are just no easy answers.

When my prayers are sounding hollow and even the Psalms are failing to comfort me. When the people I love are being hurt by people I love and my ears are filled with dissonance and try as I might I can’t quite weave a blanket of beauty and love to cover all those raw emotions and wounded souls.

Sarah Bessey lights a candle. I turn on Missy Higgins- her haunting music always speaks to my yearning- and send the kids outside with their Daddy. I preheat the oven and boil water and set about making a meal. Cutting chicken, melting butter, chopping vegetables. It’s simple, it’s rhythmic. It’s the meal I always cook for new moms, adjusted a bit for this family, who is gluten and dairy free. Chicken tenders, mashed potatoes, veggies. I can’t think too hard about the tomorrows; I’m caught up in the simple act of creation. I’m not creating art, just a meal to be consumed. Yet at this moment- overwhelmed- it seems subversive, triumphant. It is my saving grace, this desperate act of meaning in a space that seems hopelessly confused. I’m creating something for someone who just brought new life into the world. To be able to support that ultimate act of hope- the defiance of birthing a new person into being, is an honor fit for queens.

My family will probably be eating peanut butter and jelly tonight because I forgot to buy the double pack of chicken and me making two full dinners is so not happening tonight. But we’ll survive. (Actually, moment of honesty- my children love eating PB&J for dinner, or oatmeal, or any number of no-effort foods. Why do I keep cooking dinner for them again?) So I sing sad songs, sigh a little and pray with my hands, because my heart and mind are just too full. And for one moment I am connected to this family- my hands nourishing their bodies. Hoping that my food will bring the mom a little peace, the boys a little joy. Because sometimes I think too much and sometimes I want to fix everything and often the best way to muddle toward love is to forget what needs to be done for yourself and do for someone else.

Let’s get a conversation going. . . What do you do to heal the soul ache that comes when everything is wrong? Have you had the opportunity to receive from someone, and what was that like? What’s your “desperate act of creation” that creates meaning for you?

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8 Responses to When Love doesn’t seem like enough . . .

  1. sheilagreco says:

    Well, I do a couple of different things. But now I will add reading this blog to that list.

  2. Sabrina says:

    I eat chocolate, or sometimes I send someone chocolate. That always seems to help.

    Also, I try to sit in the sunshine and let its warmth come over me, filling all those cold and lonely places. This to me is like a hug from God.

    • Sunshine! I always forget that nature connects me to God so poignantly, It’s sometimes hard in the middle of Middletown to take the time to connect but there is a big difference praying inside and praying outside.

  3. Bob says:

    Our actions demonstrate our level of trust. When love doesn’t seem to be enough, our faith in love and the God who is Love is revealed by our response to the events and people that surround us. When overwhelmed, we trust God and do the next thing because we can only do what’s before us. We act out our trust in God. So much the better when the next thing to do is for someone else. It’s an elevation of our belief that Love just might be enough. That’s where our faith lives. You’ve shared a poignant example of such a faith.

    • I think so often I forget that I can do the next small thing, and get overwhelmed about all the big things. I think CS Lewis writes something about the holiness of the present as opposed to the past and future, maybe in Screwtape Letters? I’ll have to go look it up.

  4. Julie says:

    Yes! Yes! I’ve come to think of them as “the indisputable things”- those tangible things, things with faces and presence, that unite and connect with and enrich humans, those things that (mostly) can’t be legislated or argued as a theoretical point. The things that no one can take away from you. Like when I buy milk in reusable bottles from these really good farmers who give stuff away to people who cant afford it. Or when the peas sprout in my garden. Or when someone holds my crying baby and lets my rowdy kids sit at their table and eat dinner. Or when someone thinks enough of me to give or receive a confidence. I’m a big fan of subversion so anything that “sticks it to the man” while giving someone else life and strength and beauty delights my soul!

    • Haha! I think people so often equate religion with rule following . . . I just love the fact that most often I feel connected to God, not when I’m purposely disobeying the rules but when I’ve forgotten they even exist.

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