Monday, December 31, 2012

The greeting I desire...

How are you doing?
How are you feeling?
How are you?

Questions that fell me.  I simply do not know how to answer them.  I mean, the answer, every day, has a negative element.  And, from a general standpoint, you are not supposed to answer such a greeting honestly.  You do not tell the stranger, the acquaintance, even the fellow congregation member exactly how you are feeling or doing.  At least you do not if you are chronically ill and struggling mightily.  Most do not really want to know. And those who might oft are ... burdened ... with such knowledge.  SIGH.

So, the questions fell me.  I do not know how to answer.  "I'm fine."  The lie does not come easily to my lips.  "I fainted six times today."  Well, not that one.  "I was in such agony that all I could do is whimper and begging God to call me home."  Not that one either.  "I fell down the stairs and lay in a heap terrified to move lest something was broken."  Better, but not really.  "I burned my meal again."  "I found the back door standing open when I awoke." "I couldn't give my name today when someone asked."  "I am despairing."  "I am struggling with the enormity of my sin and the smallness of my faith."  "I cannot even look myself in the mirror."  None of those are appropriate.

All the answers I have about how I am doing or how I am feeling are not that ... well, fill in the positive adjective there and they are not that.

Even if someone close to me calls and greets me with one of those questions, I am felled.  I stammer and hesitate.  I start feeling embarrassed and ashamed and a failure.  Not even with them do I feel free to speak the truth and not even with them do I wish to speak my misery.  At least not to begin with it.  At least not for it to be who I am, how I am.

In the movie Apollo 13, when the spacecraft was first damaged, in the control room everyone was calling out errors on their screens and things wrong with the craft's remote readings.  It was chaos.  Finally, Director Gene Krantz called out, Can we review our status here, Sy, let's look at these things from a... from a standpoint of status. What have we got on that spacecraft that's good?

I have been thinking about that scene a lot lately, as I think about how greetings fell me.  Oft I have a very physical response.  But even if I manage to keep myself together on the outside, on the inside I am struggling to hold onto the fragments that are left of me.

Perhaps ... perhaps ... if you were to ask, "What is your status today, Myrtle?" or "What have you got on your body that's good today?" I might actually be able to respond without being felled.

Today?  Well, I could bend my torso without agony.  I did not faint.  I actually managed to remember to purchase the design software upgrade so that I can switch platforms (15 minutes before the sales center closed--pricing is changing after today). And I was able to draft some thoughts on budget forecasting, board governance, and strategic planning for someone.  That is what was working.

As for the rest....

Lord, have mercy.  Christ, have mercy.  Lord, have mercy.

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