Monday, December 14, 2015

Sometimes Getting Out of Bed Is Too Much to Ask

On some mornings the blankets are heavy. My bed feels safe, which isn’t the same as comfortable. My blankets don’t judge me for the stupid thing I said yesterday, and my sheets don’t know about my failures. I leave my head against the pillow because putting it anywhere else seems like too much work. The world shouldn’t ask such a sacrifice of me. Not today. Not every day.

I hate myself on those mornings. I hate that I can’t just get out of bed. That I wallow for 5 more minutes, 15 more minutes, 50 more minutes. And two hours later when there is no more sleep in me, I still hate that moment when my foot touches the cold floor.

When my heart was grieved, and my spirit embittered I was senseless and ignorant. I was a brute beast before [God].

On the hate-filled mornings I remind myself that everything is a gift: a full night’s sleep, a warm apartment, a cup of coffee in the morning, and an insouciant kitten who loves my feet more than I love anything. I know that life is good, but that truth breaks against the grey walls of a hatred that looks like apathy.

On those mornings it seems impossible that good triumphs over evil. Ever. If good can’t manage to conquer my petty desire to stay in bed and sleep, seriously: what is it going to do against the willful inanity of Donald Trump and his media circus? The gun violence plague? The systemic racism that binds us all against our wills?

My feet had almost slipped . . . for I envied the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked: They scoff and speak with malice; with arrogance they threaten oppression.

For the last few months, I woke up nearly every day like this. When I didn’t, when I forced myself awake after the first alarm, that same hatred rose up in the afternoon, crippling me in retribution for my earlier resistance. Trudging onward is the only option, praying in whatever desperate fashion seems to stave off the bitterness threatening to overtake you. Pray that you have not already been overtaken.

All day long I have been afflicted, and every morning brings new punishments. . . . When I tried to understand all this, it troubled me deeply.

I woke up two days ago, and the blankets weren’t heavy. My mind was awake, and more importantly, so was my heart.

The grief in my heart had lifted. My spirit shed bitterness like a child shedding layers of puffy clothing after coming inside from the cold. I chose to lay in bed not in obeisance to the sloth of bitterness, but in order to wallow in the happy moments that trickled through my mind: ice cream shared with friends, gifts given, and hugs received after a long time away.

As for me, it is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge; I will tell of all your deeds.

All of your deeds. Even the ones that leave me wondering what it’s all about. Even the ones that leave me helplessly sad. Because as soon as my envy passes, whether by divine hand or not, so does my blindness.

When I look back on the moments that weighed on my heart, I see them differently. The stupid things I said were still stupid, but they were also well-intentioned and forgivable. My failures hurt, but they happened amidst triumphs that I hadn’t seen. And looking back, they seem a lot smaller.

My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

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