Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Restore a Weary Heart

Dear Friends,

Winter can overpower us with its relentlessness, especially this year. Even in other years that are not as bitterly cold or snowy, by the middle of February, let’s say, we get weary.

We can have a weary body, but not a weary heart. Weary bodies are restored with sleep, food, rest, relaxation. Bodies seem to get weary faster than hearts do, but when hearts grow weary, restoration takes longer. When I am weary of heart, for whatever reason:
  • I cannot think clearly
  • I cannot muster hope
  • I want to quit
  • I miss important signs
  • I putter, eat more, cry more, coast
  • I congratulate myself on a just weariness

In the worst of heart weary times,
  • I want to close down, walk away.
  • I say to God: You do it. I can’t. I don’t want to. I won’t.
Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men and women shall fall
exhausted; but they who wait for God shall renew their strength, they shall mount up    
with wings of eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.

    (Isaiah 40.30-32)

Renewed strength doesn’t come unless I reach out to
  • notice when someone picks up a piece of what I am supposed to do
  • let the word of comfort someone offers me really touch me
  • remember how often in Scripture we hear “Do not be afraid”
  • tell others I am heartweary  and accept their ministrations

I don’t need to tell God about the times when I am heartweary, as if God doesn’t know it, but I may need to admit it to God and remember

The steadfast love of God never ceases, God’s mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. “God is my portion," says my soul, “therefore I will hope in God.” (Lamentations 3.22-24)

I can be overcome by my heartweariness. I can wallow in self-pity, grow breath-deprived in the stagnant air of a barricaded heart, or I can
  • put some blinking lights on a lilac bush, so God can see me
  • watch a homely, spiny cactus bud in March
  • taste the Eucharistic bread and cup as real food and drink to revive me

Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble of heart, and you will find rest for your souls, for my yoke is easy and my burden light. (Matthew 11.28-30)

Lent is coming. Set aside weariness. Indeed, fast from weariness. Feast on the strength the Holy One gives without cost.

~Joan Sobala, SSJ