A Blessing for When You Can’t Catch a Break

I think as the weeks are going on and the novelty of everything is wearing off and we’re just getting either bored or frustrated or lonely, it’s helpful to name the frustrations.  I’ve mentioned this writer a few times in sermons, but Kate Bowler, a Duke Divinity professor on the prosperity gospel wrote a book called “Everything Happens for a Reason, and other lies I’ve Loved, ” after she was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer at age 37 with a young son.  She’s also done a fabulous podcast called “everything happens” where she interviews people on grief and faith and all sorts of things.  And during this pandemic she’s been posting videos where she talks people through this.  But what I love about her, is she doesn’t try to give easy answers, or even say things like “everything will be alright,” she lets you sit in the discomfort of the moment with a reminder of the hope as well.  Yesterday she posted a blessing for those who “can’t catch a break” which goes like this:

a blessing for when you can’t catch a break:

my God, just as one trouble faces, two more appear.

hide my in the shelter of your wings till the troubles have passed.

God have mercy,

Christ have mercy,

Spirit have mercy.

blessed are we when we cry out God, help me here now.

blessed are we who look for the angels.

you comfort us in our troubles and give songs in the night.

you strengthen our hearts to hope that some small good might yet b e done, yet in this moment it is enough just to be.

with unfailing love, I have drawn you to myself.

God have mercy,

Christ have mercy,

Spirit have mercy.

let your eyes close, and soften into stillness.

God is awake.

This morning she posted a fairly vulnerable video about self-help and how that’s usually just not enough, and as Christians we know this.  Be reminded that we have a community,  and we have the Holy Spirit.  Here is what she wrote on her Facebook post about it:

Sometimes there is not enough. I’ve been hearing people talk about this all week and feeling SO GUILTY ABOUT SAYING IT. Sometimes we run dry. Sometimes we can’t get it together. Sometimes are so limited.

Today I want to talk about the moments when even SAYING that doesn’t make it better. The battery is dead.

The self-care and wellness gurus have an answer for you! If you simply take care of yourself, you will have more than enough.
Put a face mask on! Climb on that Pelaton bike, girl! You are the answer.

It’s a message that is especially targeted toward women who run out of everything and wonder why they go to bed tired and they wake up exhausted.

I turn to my faith in times like this because the Christian tradition has a different answer that is NOT A SOLUTION. It’s just an arrow. It says, look, we are not made to solve our own problems. We are a group project and you were meant to be cared for by others. And it promises that God comforts those who run out. God wants to bubble wrap anyone who just says “This is not enough.” So, if you ran out, I am so so sorry. It’s Friday and I’m so sorry that this week drained you completely and it is completely unfair. You haven’t fixed this because there wasn’t a solo fix. Praying for community and comfort for all of us who run dry today. Have a beautiful terrible Friday.

I encourage you, if you have facebook, to follow her page because what she has to say has been very profound to me and I think especially on your most stressful days, will be profound to you as well.  I hope this is a blessing today.  

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