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i have been sick with a very stuffy nose for what feels like forever but what has in actuality been about a week and a half. and let me tell you, there are a couple of times when a stuffy nose can be really, excessively inconvenient.

first, at a faculty meeting before you really realize you’re getting sick. you will never feel so conspicuous as you do at a staff meeting sniffling like your life depends on it without a napkin, tissue, piece of cloth not attached to your shirtsleeves, or anything else that could possibly used to wipe your nose (until your wonderful coworker finds a tissue in the bottom of her purse). 

second, when you’ve taken too many decongestants and at the end of a long day of teaching when you’re wearing a white sweater you get a bloody nose all over the copies you were going to make for tomorrow. that’s how you know it’s time to go home, too.

third, when you’re praying with a group of people. there are not a lot of times in life when you intentionally sit with your head bowed forward for long periods of time, but praying is one of them and it turns your nose into a little faucet for all the snot that has been getting comfortable in your sinuses all day. and the main problem when you’re praying with a group is that it’s really quiet, so everyone hears your frequent sniffles and snorts. 

so eventually while you’re sitting there, if the prayer is going on long enough, you’ll decide that it’s probably better to just stop bowing your head and to sit up a little bit. and then maybe you’ll even tip your head back a little bit to try to stop this humiliating and ridiculous flow of snot.

and then while you’re staring at the ceiling (and the prayer is going on and on), maybe your mind will wander a little bit to why we even bow our heads in prayer in the first place. and you’ll think about bowing in general and that maybe it’s supposed to be a little more humiliating and ridiculous than we usually make it out to be. that maybe we’re supposed to pray with snot dripping down our faces because we are so much lower than that which we pray to. in fact, you might realize that you would still think more highly of yourself with snot running down your face standing in front of the whole church than you should ever think of yourself in front of a Holy God.

and then finally everyone will stop praying and you’ll feel guilty for not really praying and for thinking too highly of yourself and too little of God and confused and possibly more than anything else in desperate need of a tissue (thankfully you brought your own). and you’ll make your small talk and say your goodbyes and start to drive home and a song with a truth you don’t want to think about will come on, so you change the station, and the same song is on that station too, so you change the station, and the same song is on there too and maybe God can speak through music that makes you cringe.

Your love never fails it never gives up it never runs out on me.

even if i should be covered in more snot than i am compared to God and even if i’m guilty of more than i can admit and even if i’m confused and full of doubt…

this one thing remains.

i hope you realize how snot-filled you really are (just like the rest of us) and maybe see how this one thing that remains makes God even bigger and holier and lovelier than you thought before. maybe. and i hope even if you don’t realize it today, that you struggle with it. i’m trying to.

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