Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Not In Vain

Stairs in ReservoirAt the Reservoir

I was in a terrible mood on Sunday.

I woke up feeling okay, but soon thereafter came to inhabit a general state of grumpiness. Which then declined to cantankerous crankiness. And by the time I was half-way to church, I realized I was downright mad at the world.

The train I was riding on went out of service (of course it did), so I waited impatiently on the subway platform for the next train. I stewed and fumed and tapped my foot. I flipped through nearly every song on my iPod, trying to find one that would make me feel better, but none of them did. None of them. Not Frank, not Van, not anything. Nothing. Was. Right. Not on my iPod, not in my life, not in the world.

I caught myself thinking despairing “Why God, Why?” thoughts – Why does my life look the way it does? Why are there volcanoes and why is there injustice? Why does this subway platform smell so bad, and where the hell heck is the damn dang train?

As I was already running late (really late), I considered ditching church entirely. I was in a terrible mood, after all. Maybe too terrible to be around people. Maybe what I needed instead was to take myself to a coffee shop, sit quietly with a book or my journal and just calm down. Do church alone this morning.

But then I figured I had come this far already, and I remembered there was a meeting after the service I needed to attend, so when the damn dang train finally arrived, I got on. And went to church.

I arrived in time to sing a favorite hymn, with a stanza that spoke loudly to me:
"O Joy that seekest me through pain,
I cannot close my heart to thee;
I trace the rainbow through the rain,
And feel the promise is not vain,
That morn shall tearless be."
I sat with friends and hugged them, I was challenged by the sermon, I took communion. Afterwards I went to brunch with said friends, and as we shared our stories over pancakes, potatoes and coffee, I felt listened to. Understood. Cared for.

My problems weren’t fixed. The world – still messy. My attitude about it – not 100% improved.

But I felt connected, and that helped.

That helped a lot.

1 comment:

Elaina M. Avalos said...

Wow. Love the stanza you shared. Thanks! I needed to read that tonight.