So...how did you do?
Did you see all of the videos of family teamwork, making masks from old phone books and rubber bands, while your big achievement was keeping the cat away from the toilet paper stash?
Did you see the enchanted couples working together to whip up gourmet meals every night, and enjoying candlelight and conversation, while you were making grilled cheese sandwiches...again?
Did you see people coming together (at proper social istancing intervals) to serenade the shut-in elderly, and then return to Netflix with a grumpily guilty conscience?
In other words...
Were you human?
And are you now beating yourself up, for having missed a good solid crisis that could showcase your fatih?
If you're a bit angry with yourself that you were sharp when you might have been kind, that you didn't fully appreciate those around you even when they got on your nerves, that you sometimes reacte with exasperation rather than smiling patience, well, you're not alone, for...
A long time ago in a place far, far away...
Lord, have mercy on my son: for he is lunatick, and sore vexed: for ofttimes he falleth into the fire, and oft into the water.
And I brought him to thy disciples, and they could not cure him.
Then Jesus answered and said, O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? bring him hither to me.
You can just see Jesus rolling His eyes, and Mary, in the background: "If You do that once that once too often they'll get stuck that way."
And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves,
And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.
(The whip He made is described in John 2:15)
Overturning furniture and chasing people around with a whip does bring on an appetite...
Now in the morning as he returned into the city, he hungered.
And when he saw a fig tree in the way, he came to it, and found nothing thereon, but leaves only, and said unto it, Let no fruit grow on thee henceforward for ever. And presently the fig tree withered away.
Now, it's true that in the following verses, when the diciples were amaed that he could kill a tree with a word, Jesus turned it into a teaching experience on faith. But it started with the fact that He was hungry, and peeved that there were no figs.
A lot of people want these instances to be 'holified'; they want to see Jesus in a pure light where all of His irritation and impatience are grounded in Divinity, and that's fine, except for one thing.
We're turning away a gift He gave us, the gift of the human-ness He freely took on.
He came here to be one of us, to share our laughter and our tears, our joy and our pain, our fears (remember the Garden of Gethsemane), and yes, our anger and sometimes waspish irritation.
It's wrong to exclude Him, to put Him on a pedestal of our own making.
So be OK with yourself, and with the times you failed at being what you thought you were supposed to be.
He gets it.
One day soon you will emerge
to blink in unaccustomed light;
what grade do you think you’ve earned
in this long and dismal fight?
Did you reach out with kind heart
to those who shrank in fear,
to help them make a hope-filled start
in bringing Jesus near?
Or did you see the other side
of self beyond dim flick’ring taper,
trying to find a place to hide
your stash of toilet paper?
If you’re alive and you remain,
you have the chance to start again.
Music from The Bellamy Brothers.
I do try to answer each comment in a timely fashion, but with Internet providers really stretched, I have only about half of the access I once did. Please bear with me!
Thanks to Carol Ashby, Blessed Are The Pure Of Heart is back on Kindle, and will be available in paperback soon.