I can’t remember whether Nancy suggested the word grumpy or cranky the other night. Either will do.
So will weary. So will sad.
In the course of our days, you and I talk with many people who are grumpy and cranky and weary and sad. That includes the conversations we have with ourselves.
And no wonder.
We’re in the middle of a global pandemic. I don’t know about you, but in the past months I’ve watched people die with “the COVID” and die without it. I don’t know about you, but I talk with people who can’t visit loved ones in the hospital. I don’t know about you, but I listen to people who have lost jobs and opportunities, who have been misunderstood and misconstrued and maligned.
No wonder we are grumpy and cranky and weary and sad.
And when people offer us simple affirmations like “we’ll get through this” or “we’ll get back to normal” or “we’re in this together”, affirmations that are clearly untrue, no wonder we are grumpy and cranky and weary and sad.
But here is a true statement: “This is hard.”
A simple phrase which, when offered outside the glass door of the room holding a beloved dad, is startlingly comforting in its stark truth.
Paul, in one of his letters, gives us a picture of his perpetually happy life: “I have been on frequent journeys, in dangers from rivers, dangers from robbers, dangers from my countrymen, dangers from the Gentiles, dangers in the city, dangers in the wilderness, dangers at sea, dangers among false brothers; I have been in labor and hardship, through many sleepless nights, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure. Apart from such external things, there is the daily pressure on me of concern for all the churches. Who is weak without my being weak? Who is led into sin without my intense concern?”
Paul does have an enduring hope. He does speak of his joy and contentment. But he is willing to be honest about his own challenges and frustration and fear.
Some of you are in the happy parts of life. But some of you are not. And to you who are upset with yourselves for being grumpy and cranky and weary and sad, I offer this word of acknowledgement: “This IS hard.”
For an Advent journey that invites us to acknowledge the challenges of this year, to remember some of the good we’ve forgotten, and to offer hope to ourselves and others, you can still join us with Giving a Year Meaning: A Healing Journal for Advent 2020.