When life Sucks You Dry
June. The long awaited summer appears as cool, windy days imminently give way to scorching temperatures and still, stagnant air. A month for love. Weddings, anniversaries, Father's Day. For me, A month of loss. I find myself counting; 1,2,3,4...people who recently have, or are in the process of, leaving my life, at least my sphere of physical accessibility. Then, those who I realize have left, not in body, but in heart. A loss of connection and communication, which leaves me wondering was there ever any to begin with? It is all too much.
As I think of it I feel the anxiety swell inside me. My breath is short. My lungs aren't wide enough, my eyes aren't big enough, my ears aren't tuned enough to breathe it, see it, or hear it all. The thought of it sucks the life right out of me. The expression, 'life sucks', may sound as unrefined speech to some, but It certainly is so often accurate. Life on this earth can suck the very life out of you. Sheer madness on so many levels shroud sanity, veil reality, and make us as impersonal as technology.
We are striving to be noticed and heard, but in the process of doing so, we are squelched by the tone of our own voice. My volume, the way I stress my syllables, my physical stance, are used against me, interpreted as some persona depicted in a play. It is easier to press the delete button rather than face emotions and real life issues. As we advance in technology to exceed, we are giving ourselves emotional lobotomies. Let the emoticons describe you. They are silent and offend no one.
So, what do I do when I am trapped in this vacuum where my words, tears and feelings have been sucked out and left me listless while the onslaught of life's personal losses and universal tragedy are violently forced in, thus causing a mental and emotional asphyxiation. My natural default is to withdraw, succumb to unconsciousness, be apathetic, and appease whatever appetite arises. After all... I'm impulsively grasping to breathe!
But really what I need is an even exchange. We breathe in oxygen and some carbon dioxide. When we exhale, we breathe out less oxygen but more carbon dioxide than we inhale. The carbon we breathe out as carbon dioxide comes from the carbon in the food we eat.
Christ made the exchange for us. Man's life fell when he chose to disobey. Christ's life arose when He chose to obey. A great exchange. My sin for His life. My distress for His rest. My despair for His hope. It doesn't seem like an even exchange, does it? In His unfathomable love, He gives the opportunity for me to live a balanced life, breathing in and breathing out hope.
Just as the body needs a balance, so do our souls. Proverbs 11:1 tells us "A false balance is an abomination to the Lord, but a just weight is His delight". Life won't stop happening. People won't stop leaving. It will insist on sucking energy from me.
It hurts...all this leaving. I think of how I just took for granted one's presence. We 've known each other for some 30 years, yet the times we actually spent together in the past 10 were too few. Or my new found friend who was here only a short time and now has returned to his home state. To find someone new and your heart connects so quickly, it seems so unfair that it lasts such a short time. Then there:s the one who may leave, not even a definite yet, but inside already the emptiness is growing, like my heart is preparing me for what I know to be inevitable. I am fighting against it with my will, even as I know I won't win.
So as I exhale all this hurt what can I take in as an exchange that will put hope in its place? Maybe the benefits of knowing them. All of them are different, each with unique gifts they brought to my life. They all showed me hope. Instead of grieving their departure, can I rejoice with them? For they have hope yet to be realized in their future. Why should I selfishly bemoan that? There are others in my life who are still here. Those who need more time, more attention, more conversation perhaps, now that I am reminded firsthand again how suddenly life can change.
And Jesus, didn't He die to His own self willingly so that we could have hope? He took the hardest road, the cross. It was not cheap. Salvation is free to those who ask, but without the trials that are meant to strengthen me I will never know the full power of this precious hope. It is process and we are growing in it.
So here is my opportunity to breathe in and out a hope that will keep me balanced and nourished while feeding others.