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Keeping It Real.


Today, I have lost my sense of humour. Rare for me but not unheard of. I suspect, in God's kindness, it will return. But not today and I'm enjoying the fact I can admit it. Even shout it.

Things do NOT feel OK (add swear words).

I am FED UP trying to be brave and hopeful (add swear words).

I am NOT willing to look for the positive (add swear words).

NO. NO. NO!

Sometimes life is rubbish. I have found it liberating as a parent to allow this for my children. I grew up in a family where the central fact (my brother's death) could not be remedied so everything else had to be:

"Oh darling, it's not that bad! Cheer up!"

"You heard it wrong, you're being sensitive. They didn't mean it!"

And so on and so on and so on. It enraged me and suffocated me then made me feel guilty and ungrateful. By contrast I am not advocating that I allow my children to wallow in tough times but, for the love of God, when things suck at least I let them own it.

How appropriate to feel this way on Easter Saturday. The disciples knew what Jesus had said... BUT. BUT BUT BUT. Where was He? He was dead that's what.

I am scornful of any theology that will not allow for hopelessness. Why do we need to be brave all the time? It only means we drink, or bottle it up to leak out lethally and messily somewhere (or worse on some one) else.

I say, "Feel it! You're not wrong! This is BLOODY AWFUL!" Even in the absolutely darkest moments, God is not going to stop being who He is or the sky fall in if you admit it. At least you're being honest. And there are times such as now (unprecedented in many ways as the Coronavirus pandemic is) when no amount of funny memes, inspiring videos or clapping will smooth it all down. Even a little. There are days like today that feel (indeed maybe are) quite simply dreadful.

I love owning this out loud because I know that not by one iota does it reflect poorly on my love for God. Quite the opposite. The fact that I can own how depressed I feel and how overwhelmed means that I truly know how big God is and how my pitiful mewlings can be heard by Him and - even more amazing - be of His concern. If I don't tell Him, do you really think He won't know? "Come to Me," He says. I cling to that.

I will come up the other side because the pendulum swings. But not right now. I want to weep and moan and be furious - at myself as well as at everything else. Even when God is poking in. This evening as I lay on my bed in the evening sun, the first flowers on the wisteria poked in through my bedroom window. On days like today I hate that. God wooing me back to life with natural beauty. "GAH! ENOUGH ALREADY!" I snarl like a spoiled four year old. But beauty does ever so slightly work. Even today. Why must He be so good? Thank God He is. Why must He care? Thank God He does.

I am God's child. He is my King. Today I want to cry and swear and mope and stuff my face with chips and then swear some more. Maybe I'm not proud of it, but thank God He can take it. And still love me. Jesus didn't die for me because I behave well.

So on this Easter Saturday, before the glory of Easter Day and the miracle of resurrection sweep us mercifully forward, I stand with you if you're not OK. Today or any day. If you feel overwhelmed, or scared, or exhausted, or beaten. Life can feel, look and be absolutely terrible.

Fortunately for any of us and all of us, that is not the end of the story.

jsg/april 2020

©2020 BY IN A MANNER OF SPEAKING