Careful

In reading James 4 this morning, it occurred to me why to do lists are so troublesome. As soon as words are put to paper there is a permanence given to what may otherwise have floated off into forgotten oblivion. I grab on to one of the floating possibilities for how to shape time and in writing it out I also “nail it down” (picture what that phrase refers to) into something more concrete. The trouble is, what comes with that is an illusion of control over what will be. A low grade anxiety my even result if I don’t do that which I asserted should be done. And certainly, sometimes there are some things that need to be done, reminders of needful things. But there is something binding about the written word. Maybe that’s why it’s so important. It’s one thing to put words to our experience. It’s another thing entirely to put the right ones to it. Every time my eye falls on what’s been written – and undone – it gives the illusion that there’s something I ought do and this may very well trip me up into a potentially misled pursuit. As ever, the only reliable plan in checking our actions is returning/inviting/placing all said action before the only One who knows what’s best and Who, mercifully, miraculously, is willing to pass on such knowledge to us. If offering that to do list/what we are to do is preceded with “if it is the Lord’s will, we [I] will do this or that.” (James 4:15), we ask Him and submit to Him first, before proceeding. We wait in quiet expectation and slow in the humbling knowledge that we don’t know any of what is before us, but He does and will give guidance (perfect at that) to our steps. Incidentally, praying before writing to do lists – or anything for that matter – safeguards us from many potential missteps. Incredible that He will bother with the likes of us. 
 And I don’t know how this fits, but verse 17 feels like a warning this morning: “Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought do and doesn’t do it, sins.” God help us, please.

Burdens (and their proper carrier)

Swinging on this crazy pendulum

Between all right and all wrong

Is dizzying, wildly disorienting.

Atrabilious! This brainy black bile

And I feel to be held under by all this care.

Loving ought be liberating:

Come to find out that the world’s weight

Is anything but light.

Then I look up

(A common, but too uncommon theme)

And realize that You’ve been gentlemanly

Standing, waiting

For me to lay all this burden down.

I’ve been bent over with it,

Eyes to the ground

Impossibly straining neath all this weight,

Saturated with the sweat and the load.

I look up at You (finally)

And You smile at me:

All that impossible, tender, complete, understanding, compassionate love in a look.

With nary a word – it took but a second to see you there, to remember You there –

I hand over the load.

It’s not heavy for You:

I don’t know what or how You do with it,

But it’s gone

– or completely changed into something else –

And we walk, You and I.

And there is nothing superfluous or in question

(There is little to be said in true love’s companionship,

Once the repentance is over.)

No more swinging or straining

I find that I am standing upright

Eyes straight ahead

With You

Reconciled and whole and free of all those many burdens

Ready to tackle more

Now strong and courageous

Thanks to the nothing’s-impossible-for-God

God

The next step blessedly clear

And beyond it

A burden not mine to carry.

This moment, this quiet, His assurance

All I’m responsible for.

Hallelujah!