The only writing I’ve done in the last two weeks involves Post-It notes and to-do lists. Bad, bad writer.
But it’s that time of year. Every year is the same, and every year I swear it’s worse than Christmas. Award ceremonies, class parties, “graduations,” rehearsals, recitals, performances, more award ceremonies, more class parties. I counted thirteen End Of Year activities between the middle of May and the first week of June – and I think that’s a conservative estimate and does not include our normal weekly runaround. Last Tuesday, I put more than a hundred miles on the Loser Cruiser – and I was never more than five miles from home.
I am fried.
I texted Gretchen last week.
Not that I’m dramatic or anything.
And the amount of sleep I get – or don’t get – doesn’t seem to matter. Nor does what I eat – or don’t eat – or how much I exercise – or not. I’m still fried. I went to Body Pump one day last week and survived forty minutes before I passed out left. I made it through the bicep track and rationalized skipping the lunges, shoulders, and abs – we’d already done squats, which are close to lunges, and I really hate shoulders, and I’d kinda worked abs already throughout all the other tracks.
So I quit. Big, fat, fried quitter I am. Quitty McQuitter. That’s me.
And I went home and laid my flabby, quitty self in the hammock for the next two hours.
And it was good.
While I vegetated, marinated, and contemplated in the hammock, I soaked in the words of Jen Hatmaker, one of my new favorite authors. She joins the ranks of Anne Lamott and Glennon Melton as Women Who Are Changing The World And Inviting Me To Join Them.
When Jesus told us to “take the lowest place” (Luke 14:10), it was more than a strategy for social justice. It was even more than wooing us to the bottom for communion, since that is where He is always found. The path of descent becomes our own liberation. We are freed from the exhausting stance of defense. We are no longer compelled to be right and are thus relieved from the burden of maintaining some reputation. We are released from the idols of greed, control, and status. The pressure to protect the house of cards is alleviated when we take the lowest place. (Interrupted, pg. 64)
Jesus did not seek out the rich and powerful in order to trickle down his kingdom. Rather, he joined those at the bottom, the outcasts and undesirables, and everyone was attracted to his love for people on the margins. Then he invited everyone into a journey of downward mobility to become the least. (Shane Claiborne, The Irresistible Revolution – as quoted in Interrupted)
And regarding Communion:
When He said, “Do this in remembrance of Me,” it required continuous action…Remembrance means honoring Jesus’ mercy mission with tangible, physical action since it was a tangible, physical sacrifice. In other words… “Continuously make My sacrifice real by doing this very thing.” Become broken and poured out for hopeless people. Become a living offering, denying yourself for the salvation and restoration of humanity…We don’t simply remember the meal; we become the meal…We are the body of Christ, broken and poured out, just as He was. (Interrupted, pgs. 54-55)
As a bonus, another quote I found in an interview with Colin Powell:
Kindness is not just about being nice; it’s about recognizing another human being who deserves care and respect.
So as the month of May is breaking me, I’m learning about being broken and poured out for the broken. I’m looking and praying for the Who and When and How. I’m chewing on what it means to step off the Great American Ladder of Success and Reputation to dwell among those who can’t get one toe on the bottom rung – because that is where true purpose and success (and Jesus Himself) are found.
It goes against everything we have been taught to value. It bucks mainstream American Christianity, whose consumerism and self-absorption has shredded the Bride’s relevance and attraction to a hopeless world. We’re known more for what we’re against than the way we love. Or the way we’re supposed to love.
These are a few thoughts I’m contemplating and fleshing out as we free-fall into the summer. For now, I’m ten-down-and-three-to-go on the EOY countdown, and my Post-It note to-do list just increased two stickies. Two words offer a bright, hopeful, beaconing light at the end of this vast, dark tunnel:
Have a great week, y’all.