It’s been a long, stressful day, and I am tired and a wee bit grumpy. In fact, the last month or so has been long and wearisome. Covid-19 is taking a toll, the new puppy is full of energy, I started a new-to-me job, it’s been difficult deciding how to school the kids, church in person or church online… it’s been a challenge navigating this pandemic and all the seemingly normal tasks have had added demands and adjustments. Maybe you’ve been feeling it too. Perhaps my job is not to complain. Joy in circumstances and all that. I don’t know about you, but some days I have a hard time being joyful. Some days I have a hard time connecting and being the light of Jesus in ways I know that I ought. Some days I choose not to shine.
You wanna know what the new puppy did this week? He’s been barfing socks. He’s a labrador — and I know they have iron stomachs, but he has a particular affinity for socks… and with a house full of teenage boys, socks seem to be quite readily available. And he’s quick, too. And so, I have been panicking about intestinal obstructions, up at night worrying about possible major surgeries in our future for exploratory searches to find foreign bodies — and the guilt about not having enough energy to follow around the dog and his adventures in eating strange things. I was told not to worry “he throws them up whole”… and I wondered at this gift – until I got to see it for myself. Yup, an esophageal miracle: sport sock completely intact, gagged back up, packaged neatly in a thin film of bile. (Sorry * graphic warning* for those of you who are squeamish). It’s actually quite impressive in a sword swallowing magician kind of way… how did that little body encapsulate such a bulky thing and expel it, all while wagging it’s tail and happily playing for the last hour?
Alright, enough of the gory details — but I share them with you to explore some thoughts with me. I’m sure many of you have heard the phrase: “garbage in, garbage out”. It’s actually a computer reference, implying that what you enter into a software will influence the information the computer will spit back at you. Perhaps you’ve even experienced it as my new co-workers and I have as we navigated this new computer system implemented in the last few weeks. Unless you follow the correct steps, you don’t get to the place you need to be. And that can be frustrating. And so it is with life sometimes.
When your faith journey is “disconnected” or you’ve been entering in all the wrong stuff, it tends to come back up. Or come back out. And not in the way you want it to. We get grumpy, burnt out, and ill tempered. People say that you need some “self care”. A time to replenish and recoup. And although those words seem fostering and valid, I’ve been challenged recently about that whole idea of “self” care. If, as believers, we have died to self, are we feeding the wrong entity? If He is the vine and we are the branches, does watering the leaf do any good? Or is it better to quench the roots? To dig deep and choose nourishing food that sustains and grows us. Not fillers made of old socks. Do hot baths and candles really replenish the soul?
Now, please, don’t get me wrong… I love a good spa day as well as the next girl. And I’ve convinced myself I “need” them once and a while too. Yet, no amount of warm drinks and essential oils are going to repair a damaged heart. It takes the life giving, supernatural gift of grace given to us by a perfect heavenly father. I’m saddened that we are missing some forms of our corporate worship connections during this pandemic. Even being the introvert I am — fellowshipping with other believers fuels the flame of my heart. It is the soul food I sometimes require.
So, what of it, my friend? Are you spending your time devouring sports socks only to throw them up later? Guilty as charged here this week. There. I even admit it to the whole internet. I’m not connected in the way I need to be. But there is always tomorrow…