the thing I feel bad about
the late, great Nora Ephron once wrote a wonderful book entitled I Feel Bad about my Neck. I have seen my genetics and while they are filled with sass, wit and mad kitchen skills, I know the day is coming where I’m not going to much care for my neck (or my eyelids, or the underside of my upper arms). Unless that day happens to coincide with the point in my life when I care more that all my bits and pieces work as they should, and not care nearly so much what they look like. That would be real nice.
This has nothing to do with my neck. This has to do with the thing I feel bad about. I feel bad about my rotten attitude. I have spent an inordinate amount of time recently thinking and talking (dear Lord Jesus, please bless my dear office-mate and friend for listening to me prattle endlessly about whatever issue of the moment is tearing at my heart. She is a saint. Amen) about justice, about sustainability, about equality, about loving our neighbors. Listen to me tell you this. I really really care about those things. I hurt when I see people hurting. I want to collect little magical toadstools and create delicious magical meals from them that will fix all the problems and heal all the hurts. I flatly refuse to call myself a Christian, or even to proselytize others into Evangelicalism, because I am so convinced that Christians don’t really feel interest in being like Christ as much as wanting to feel superior to other people.
Do you see what I just did???? go back. read my last sentence. now, go throw up, or read words by someone who actually has logic in their thoughts. I do that kind of thing all day long. I flip out because “we” need to love, to do unto others, and to dispense grace and mercy. I flip out because a work contact hasn’t responded to a request in a timely manner. For real. within moments of each other those flip outs happens. For every minute that I have agonized over needing to care for “the least of these”, I have spent an equal amount of time being really torqued off at anyone who continually refuse to measure up to my ideals of peoplehood. Poor customer service, a loved one’s shiftless ex-husband, an acquaintance with an outrageous sense of entitlement, girls who think tights equal pants (ok but seriously on that one. we can do better!) the guy who sits at an outside table talking too loud on his cell phone, on and on it goes. Big issues or minor irritants and I am beside myself with exasperation. In mere moments I go from petitioning the throne of God for world peace and food for all the hungry children, to wishing for a magic button to POOF! make the stupid people disappear. Oh I am an outstanding example of outlandish love.
Even so, I still DARE TO HOPE when I remember this: The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh every morning. (Lamentations 3:21-23)
Every single day! Brand new mercies! What hope! I’m not even kidding you, I don’t know how to wrap my brain around that. There are plenty of days, ok all of the days, when I feel quite confident that I’ve taken a mortgage out on all my fresh mercies for the next 6 weeks. Yet, I still DARE TO HOPE.
You guys, I want to be like Jesus. I want to go out every morning with fresh mercies for the people around me. Not the arbitrary “people out there somewhere” but the one who shares a house with me and smacks his toothbrush over the faucet making little water freckles on the mirror every.single.day., the one who takes advantage of my sense of responsibility at work, the one who doesn’t respond to emails in a timely manner, the one who turns in front of me without using that handy little indicator signal, the one who just flat rubs me the wrong way for no good reason, the ones who for various legitimate reasons frustrate me, hurt me, irritate me, get under my skin. FRESH MERCIES FOR EVERYONE!
If I’m going to end up with hooded lids and a calf neck, I am daring to hope that I will have let my faithful Jesus and his daily supply of fresh mercies mold me into a sassy ol gal filled with real love. Not affected love, not “if I’m nice enough to these people some of them might show up at my funeral” love, but love that says “hey now, you’re a real mess, and I should know all about a mess… c’mere and let me hug you for a minute and give you some of these extra mercies I’ve got piled up around here.9