On not keeping up.

I cannot keep up with all the news reporting on the experiences and thoughts and motivations of others. I cannot keep up with the commentary on all the reporting on all the experiences. 

I cannot keep up with all the experiences of the people I know from every part of my life, from every decade of my life. I cannot keep up with all of the commentary on the experiences. 

I cannot keep up with all the fictionalized accounts of human experience provided in print and online and onscreen. 

I cannot keep up with all of my own thoughts and wishes and worries about those thoughts and wishes. 


I read Psalm 83. It is a painful, wishful psalm, with the poet desiring that God would respond to all the evil attacks. My favorite line is this: “They have become a help to the children of Lot.” 

I want to remember this for the people who need to hear imprecatory psalms, to know that it is okay to cry out to God in our fear and anger and worry and despair. 

I want to start following the threads of the “children of Lot” who, like obnoxious distant cousins, who like the Sackville-Bagginses, work for the ill of the children of Abraham for generations upon generations. 

I want to follow up on all the references in this one psalm. 

But I cannot keep up. 
And I do not want to give up. Not everything. 
But perhaps I can offer up. 

I can take the time and attention and tools I have, I can take the curiosity and the compassion and the cynicism I have, I can take the conversations and the companions and the calling that I have, and I can offer them up. I can hold them in my hands and say, “God, I cannot keep up or catch up. But I am offering up these resources for the good of you and the people you love. Help me not struggle to keep up. Help me instead to do what I can do next.” 

For some of us this weekend, that may mean writing, privately, the painful ache of our heart instead of keeping up appearances.

For some of us, this may mean abandoning the relentless sharing.

For some of us, this may mean asking God what we can do for those who are around us struggling to keep up with themselves. 

And for some of us, it may be simply catching up on sleep. 



I wrote this a couple years ago. When looking for a post for today, I searched my archives for the word “cannot”. And I found this. It’s perfect.