April 4, 2012

I am surrounded by my failures

It is very quiet here today.  I am home alone, which never used to happen and now happens all the time.  I find ways to fill the emptiness of the time and the space -- housework, errands, the internet, meals, phone calls, e-mail.  Yet sometimes, like today, all of those are dry like dust.  I cannot do it.  I cannot do anything, it seems.

So I sat outside in the sunshine, feeling the feelings that emerge out of the quiet:  loneliness, fear, ennui.  I looked around the yard, and I wanted to see the spring and the melting snow and feel happy.  And I did.  But I also saw the weeds.  The broken toys.  The houseplant, a gift, that I let die.  I thought of wasted days and years and opportunities.  I thought, "I am surrounded by my failures."  And it's true enough.

What I want is to escape, to run away from the brokenness and the waste and the failure.  I want to sleep or eat or cover it up.  I want to deny it.  I want to erase it.  And I can't.  I will wake up.  I will be hungry again.  The wind or the dog or the kids will throw back the cover.  No denial, no eraser, no distance or wish will change the past.  What I have done and what I have failed to do...

It's sad.  There's nothing else to it.  What might have been isn't, and what is is.  And I'm sorry.

So I sat and thought about failure.  And about Jesus.  And about Holy Week.  And about the cross.  When Jesus was arrested and condemned to crucifixion, it was the very public pronouncement of a colossal failure.  A messiah on a Roman cross was the very definition of world-class failure.  Epic.  Unredeemable.  The game was over.  The jig was up.  A real messiah would win, and crucifixion was loss, full bore.

I thought about the women who watched and sat at the foot of the cross, in the shadow of failure.  What did they think about?  Did they blame Jesus or just pity him?  Did they think about their own  failure?  This was the messiah they followed.  They had other choices.  This one ended up on a cross, bleeding, naked, dying.  They must have wanted to run away.  But there was nowhere to go, no sleeping or denying or hiding this failure away.  It was on display on a hilltop in view of everyone.

That's a little, tiny bit of how it's going to feel when I click "publish."  Like I have put my bleeding, naked, failure on display.  You don't know all the details.  No one can know every time I've let my kids down, yelled at them, chosen some selfish pursuit instead of loving them.  Instead of loving my husband.  Instead of taking care of my house.  Instead of pulling those weeds.  But I feel like you know.  Today, I feel like you might as well know.  I am a person of sorrows, acquainted with grief.

You are too, of course.  No matter the face you put on.  No matter how well-weeded your yard and well-tended your kids or your job.  You live in the shadow of the cross too.

That's why I will post this.  It's why I will drag myself to the foot of the cross and look at the bleeding, naked, dying messiah.  I'm up there and you're up there too.  Which is why he's up there.

Wait with me.  Watch and pray.

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