Sunday, October 12, 2014

The end of the day

So I have been told that God doesn't give people more than they can handle. What utter nonsense. A statement like that does little more than soothe the speaker who sees someone else going through something, some pain, that is heavy and intense. Someone who gives that statement as reassurance to the one in pain wants to be reassured that *they* can make sense of something confusing and mysterious.

As most pithy sayings go, they are normally uttered without really thinking through what they might mean.

What does it mean to be able to handle something? Apparently the old English pattern of word formation was to add -le to words to identify a tool relating to the item. Thimble was "thumb" + "le." Handle came from hand plus le. The modern usage of the handle verb refers to one's ability to manage, to cope, to take care of. Maybe it's just me, but nothing is simple anymore. And handling things? Is the definition that we are handling something as long as we are actually living, in the simplest definition of the word?

Is it actually the case that there are varying degrees of handling things? I'd say so. I think handling things and whether or not God gives us more than we can handle is not even the point.

I'm alive after a harrowing day. I guess that means I handled it, and everyone can be assured that God didn't give me more than I could handle today. Except I know I had more than I could handle today because life or death isn't the standard I use. For me, it's about how desperately I want to escape my present circumstances, how much I'd like to be able to change what IS.

On the other hand, I got her picked up, him dressed, that prepared and transported, that meeting attended, that other meeting attended with young child in tow, that girl given several hours to rest, that boundary drawn and enforced, that interruption and that one and that one and that one handled, that person's silence experienced, that person's stress and worry witnessed, that bottom cleaned up, that room picked up (and soon after, re-messed up), that one driven to her evening meeting, that one read too and put to bed for the night, and I'm still here. But it doesn't make ME feel better that you think God doesn't give anyone more than they can handle, ok?-

I'd like to think that however poorly I might accomplish the day's tasks and handle what comes up, the point isn't that I don't have too much, the point is that I keep trying, that I keep getting up after I get knocked down, that I keep finding my footing when a strong wind blows me around. Because I'm in the thick of it, and any discussion of whether I have too much to handle or just enough is completely extraneous to the reality of what is.

I'm grateful for the opportunities Life continues to offer me to grow up, to move beyond where I am, to make choices. Setting that boundary today was something I'm not good at, especially with this person. Bring clear in my communication is challenging, but I did it, even though the feeling sucked and the mood in the room was dampened considerably. I did it. Yeah, I'm a champ, and I fall down every day, but I'm still a champ. So are you. You're keeping on. You're hanging in there. I'm proud of you for continuing to figure out how to handle however much you have in front of you.

Let's remind each other that whatever we are handling today, we are doing a bang-up job. I will if you will.

2 comments:

Gina Perry said...

And you are, INDEED, doing a bang up job!

Trip Bodley said...

There was a group of women in a Bible study on the book of Malachi. As they were studying chapter three, they came across verse three which says: "He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver." (Malachi 3:3) This verse puzzled the women and they wondered what this statement meant about the character and nature of God.
One of the women offered to find out about the process of refining silver and get back to the group at their next Bible study. That week this woman called up a silver smith and made an appointment to watch him at work. She didn't mention anything about the reason for her interest in silver beyond her curiosity about the process of refining silver. As she watched the silver smith, he held a piece of silver over the fire and let it heat up. He explained that in refining silver, one needed to hold the silver in the middle of the fire where the flames were hottest as to burn away all the impurities. The woman thought about God holding us in such a hot spot--then she thought again about the verse, that he sits as a refiner and purifier of silver.
She asked the silver smith if it was true that he had to sit there in front of the fire the whole time the silver was being refined. The man answered that yes, he not only had to sit there holding the silver, but he had to keep his eyes on the silver the entire time it was in the fire. If the silver was left even a moment too long in the flames, it would be destroyed. The woman was silent for a moment. Then she asked the silver smith, "How do you know when the silver is fully refined?"
He smiled at her and answered, "Oh, that's easy--when I see my image in it."
If today you are feeling the heat of the fire, remember that God has His eye on you.
Author unknown