I was standing in my sunny kitchen. It was the morning after our family reunion. It had been a glorious weekend — lots of good exchanges, wonderful food, incredible singing and familiar faces. It was well planned and things went smoothly. I had reasons to rejoice, but I felt so incredibly sad.
Most of the weekend had been colored by my Sweet Mama’s nasty fall, with ensuing concerns about her coumadin blood thinner and the ever increasing bruising that kept showing up on her face. I had made decisions to the best of my ability and tried to be as careful as I could to not miss anything — but her trip to my brother’s house in her beloved Pennsylvania mountains had to be scrapped.
I wondered at the depth of my sadness, and thought about the many things that were tugging at heart. There are difficult faith journeys of several people whom I love deeply that keep me on my face before The Father. There was my Sweet Mama’s fall, of course, but there are also the difficult questions about her care and ongoing aging issues. There is a precious sister in law who is dealing with serious health issues and a brother whose melancholy temperament and tender heart is suffering, too, as he watches his beloved’s pain. Youngest Daughter’s internship in inner city Philadelphia has been stretching and wrenching in so many ways. And though she cannot tell me the stories, she lets me pray, and it is despicable the crimes that adults commit against defenseless children. Sometimes I hear snippets from other avenues and it feels as if my heart will break for the children. And I know my girlie. Her heart is not hardened. Yet. And though things hurt her so deeply, I still pray that she will not allow the sin she is exposed to daily to harden her heart against all that is pure and good and right. There are others who are making life choices that make me sad. There is grief and conflict and fractured families. And this old world is “hell-bent for disaster” on too many fronts.
I stood there in my kitchen, praying against the darkness in my soul. I knew that there was more going on here than the proverbial “Yoder Blues,” but I felt powerless against the magnitude of it all. It seemed there wasn’t even room for my favorite weapon of grateful praise. Maybe if I would take each thing that was troubling me and bring them individually to The Father, it would help. And so, I began, but it wasn’t long before I felt overwhelmed by the enormity of my task. The broad expanse of need (both mine and others) was so great. And then a strong impression overwhelmed my conscious thought. “Pour it out!”
“Pour it out???” The thought was so full of hope. I wondered what would happen if I could envision taking this heart, so full of negativity and pouring it all out into the love and joy of The Father. The mental picture energized me and I picked up the largest tumbler I could find and filled it to the brim. I imagined that tumbler, full of all the things that were making me so sad, and I held it over the sink and prayed as I poured it all out and watched, weeping, as it went down the drain.
Unbidden, Psalm 51 came to my mind in song.
v. 10 “Create in me a clean heart, O God,
And renew a right spirit within me!”
(Yes, Lord Jesus, A clean heart! A right spirit!)
v. 11 “Cast me not away from thy presence;
and take not thy Holy Spirit from me.”
(Please, Father God!)
v. 12 “Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation;
and uphold me with thy free spirit.”
(Ah, this I need, I need!!!)
v. 13 “Then will I teach transgressors thy ways;
and sinners shall be converted unto thee.”
(And may your strong arm be seen in this weakness in such a way that others will be attracted to you and come to know you and love you!)
“Pour it out!” I looked at my empty tumbler and turned to face the day. There were still things to pray about, things that concerned me. But the sadness had retreated and no longer overwhelmed me.
And my heart gave grateful praise.