I was meeting with a parent for coffee one day, one of my favorite things to do, when a bird flew awkwardly and clumsily through the open window of the coffee shop, landing on the ground near some tables and chairs. It took us a second or 2 to realize what in the world all that noise was. I’m sure it took the bird a few seconds too. The mom took off her sweatshirt even knowing she’d probably get some weird bird disease on it and gathered the little injured thing up in it gently and we headed to the vet. We weren’t walking long before it magically recovered from its bird concussion and flew away. We just shrugged.
This week I feel like I’ve been flying into about, oh, 1937134510384 glass windows.
Government shut down. Post shut down. Background checks. Trying to get a medical bill re-sent to me as I am referred to one person, then another, then another, then a phone number, and passed around to 3 more people. Plans I make for fun trips keep falling apart as people back out. I’ve been spending my work days mostly sending emails, filling out paperwork, making phone calls, and waiting. Not exactly fulfilling parts of the job. Just this morning, my bus route was disrupted and I was late to a staff meeting because of a bomb threat to the train station. I felt all kinds of derailed (sorry- pun, couldn’t help it). Even something like the printer not working was sending me into mini-rage blackouts.
Yesterday, as I was complaining, our priest, who is awesome, convictingly sat me down in his office and simply said, “Laura, if you really want to do this job, you’re just gonna have to decide to deal with it.”
We think birds are stupid because they keep flying into windows, but look at it from the bird’s perspective. You see the other side and you think you can totally make it, but your perspective is all wrong because, well, you’re just a bird, and frankly windows don’t make any sense whatsoever to you. What’s a window? How does it work? What’s glass? Why can I see through it but not go through it? A bird will never understand windows. Period.
I will never understand roadblocks, disappointments, waiting, walls, and windows. Period. I am just a human. I can’t see that far. I can’t comprehend the big picture.
Today I woke up and asked Jesus for a better day, and I don’t know why but He gave it to me. I felt like I was soaring through the day. However, I can’t decide if good stuff actually happened or if I was just not as focused on the crappy stuff and actually looked for and saw the good stuff today. What about the days where I can’t see grace? When I’m dazed and confused from hitting all the frustrating walls and forget how to fly? Sometimes I feel guilty for how long it takes me to get back up on my feet.
But I think that’s when Jesus carries me in His sweatshirt, even if I’ll get it dirty. He felt my dirty sins on the cross already and He’s all like, “Whatever, I’ll wash it later, not important”. He’ll carry me until I’m ready to fly, no matter how long it takes. He doesn’t mind, He’s already decided to give me all the help I need until I’m ready to see His grace and see that I’m not really hopeless. My identity is not in my job and if I’m doing something that feels “purposeful” or not. My identity is not in my relationships and whether they are going well or how many people I still have around. I can still have joy and full, true life because He’s safely and gently carrying stupid, confused, fragile little me around and I can trust Him not to drop me. That’s how I can “deal with it” when life throws roadblocks at me. It may take me awhile, I might not bounce back right away, I might panic that He’s gonna drop me and need to hear His reassurance to me over and over again, but He is eternally patient and understands.
“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
2 Corinthians 12:9-11
If you really, truly, know you are deeply loved by someone who is compassionate and strong and gentle and powerful, you can straight up take on anything.