I Look To You

Without whining, I want to say something about dealing with changes and the stress that goes along with it. Looking back over the last several years, it appears that I have enjoyed a relatively uneventful life. My biggest worries consisted of getting kids to their practices and commitments. That may sound boring, and I guess it kind of was. As I experienced the smooth waters of a colorless existence, in the back of my mind I thought about previous days of turmoil. In some perverted interpretation of karma (which I don’t really believe in), I convinced myself that I had paid my dues and that life would continue to be smooth sailing from now until…when? Until the end of my days.

How short-sighted! How naíve! How dumb! It’s just plain stupid to measure one’s success at living by how much pain or difficulty one manages to avoid. Doing so will always result in disappointment.

Recently, I’ve been dealing with losing a job, health issues, both personal and involving friends, anxiety, stress, and probably a hard case of what I call “situational depression.” I fell into the trap of trying to dig myself out of the difficulties and bad news, and that accomplishes nothing.

Finally, just when I’m beginning to know some relief, I remember words from Psalm 121; words that have been there all along:

I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.
My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth.
He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber.
Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.
The LORD is thy keeper: the LORD is thy shade upon thy right hand.
The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night.
The LORD shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul.
The LORD shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth,
and even for evermore.

Oddly enough, Whitney Houston came to the same conclusion, said (or sung) in a way that will sell a gazillion records, delivered via a single she released just today. Give a listen:

“I Look To You”

Now. To remember this “in the midst of.” That’s the challenge.

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How Much Longer Can I Hold My Breath?

How much longer can I hold my breath?
The average human being lasts for no more than forty seconds.
I have been holding mine for months.

 Every time I exhale to complain, Guilt makes me catch my breath
            and I try not to speak.

“There are so many other people who have real reasons for holding their breaths,” Guilt says.
            “Some of them can barely breathe at all.”
I try to keep the air I would use to whine inside me.
But that air escapes.

That air comes out
            around the corners of my eyes
            in the graying of my hair
            in my gut as my stomach rolls
            when I wake up with a jolt in the early morning hours
                        and I cannot fall back to sleep.

If I had more faith, would all of these symptoms go away?
If I had more faith, would I be less preoccupied with my breathing?
If I had more faith, would I breathe freely
            allowing the Spirit to move in and out of my body
            and to bring with it the ebb and flow of peace?

I do not have the faith to breathe.
How much longer can I hold my breath?