The cherished child of an acquaintance loses their battle with disease. And we can’t stop the tears.
A church elder is arrested for child pornography. And we can’t fight the churning in our stomachs.
A friend is asked to walk a hard road. And we beat our fists because we cannot go with her.
A man on the internet makes a comment, a joke, that he would leave his wife and family for a night with a model. And I am broken by the lack of respect and fidelity that people in this world have for their marriages.
Someone antagonizes “Cue jealous comments from fat housewives.” And I reel back in disgust and indignation.
Because that’s me.
I’m not jealous, but I’m predictably offended on behalf of the wife who has been so unjustly scorned. So publicly belittled. They call me on the affront I feel so acutely, and have attempted not only to invalidate but to shame me – and anyone who dares to feel offended by such brash perversity – by stripping me of all dignity and worth through hate and taunt.
I blink away hot angry tears and fight the temptation to let it hurt me – because I am; I’m tempted to let the idea that someone is mocking me – disregarding who I am as a living, breathing, intelligent person – pierce me with these daggers they stick skin deep.
I’m tempted to lash out and rip my insecurities out of their hands; demanding that they have no right to enter and violate the personal and vulnerable places of my life.
And it’s silly because they’re just one person, but there are at least 50 other people who agree with the sentiment. And that’s 51 too many for my sensitive skin.
I think of all the things I could say; witty, defensive, vengeful cuts to prove that I am more than what they think I am. That my opinion deserves respect. That I am worth something.
But it would be no use, because these people? They don’t care if they’ve salted the life-long wound of an unknown face in the world. They don’t care if somewhere there’s a wife fighting lies that she’s not pretty enough, not appealing enough, not good enough, not worth enough.
They don’t care. Not really.
If given the opportunity to look me, or her, in the eye and see the effects of the words they throw around with such carelessness, I suppose that most of them would feel shame and embarrassment for their lack of humanity. But this is the internet; a place free from that sort of responsibility.
So I just sit in the front seat of my car, while behind me my kids are waiting patiently to go to the park, and all I can do is cry.
Cry for my tender heart that bleeds so easily. Cry for a wife whose husband has missed her beauty. Cry for the parents who are mourning their child. Cry for the message that has endured another blow from a fallen leader. Cry for a friend that I am helpless to aid.
Cry for a world that is bending and breaking beneath a curse that is too heavy to bear.
What do we do when the world is too much?
Too heartbreaking, too perverse, too dark, too loud? When we feel like asking if someone could please stop the ride and let us off, because we really would rather not live here anymore – what do we do?
The only thing we can. We just surrender.
Surrender to Yahweh. Retreat beneath the shelter of His wings. Hide away for a time in the secret places of His love and grace.
We let His love wash over our souls and we remember that His approval is all that counts. His love is perfect and good and holy and it delights in us exactly as we are.
He reminds me that my audience is an audience of one, and that He alone deserves my efforts and energy and attention.
We remember that He knows our hurts, and that He knows how dark the world can be, and we let him fill our lamps with oil so that we can be the break in it.
We seek Him in a place where He has called us by name, a place He has carved out for our intimacy, that we could eat the fruits of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
A place where he heals our wounds. A place where He Himself has bent low so that He can listen to us as we cry over injustice and loss and the loss of sanctity.
So tonight I shut the door of the world and all the voices in it behind me, and find a balm for my soul in the Healer of our hearts – because tomorrow is another day.
A day of fighting the dark, of encouraging the mourning, of edifying the body, of loving our neighbors.
Of reaching out to dying world, and lighting the way back home.