I am tired and too delicate for this world.

It all seems to fly at me at once today, an assault of worldly concerns and it feels like just too much and I whisper for Jesus to come and come soon and all the while I feel like a hopeless lunatic just waving my arms as the merry-go-round spins.

Let me get off. I want the ride to be over.

Not because there isn’t hope. There is, and so very much of it. Hope that is tangible and at my very fingertips every day, and I fight to illuminate it, this hope, for me and my babies and all the onlookers.

Just keep that lamp lit, lady.

But it all gets so very tangled, the details of this life and the way we live it, and it can feel like it all really matters… politics and how much the electric bill is and what we’ll have for dinner… and nothing seems to take its proper place in the glowing light of that still-lit lamp of hope. I get sick of the sound of my own voice, at my pathetic efforts to do anything at all that feels like it matters when I don’t know what else to do to make a dent in it. And I don’t know how to stop feeling responsible for saving the whole world in an afternoon. I look around at what passes for a life, how selfish and irresponsible I am most of the time, and strongly consider breaking up with myself. I don’t want to grow old with me. I don’t want to get gray in this hurting world that has it all wrong. I’m already weary, and I’m only 32.

I forget how much it matters, sometimes, to fill a sippy cup again and again and how much it matters to smile to the mumbling man on the bus bench when it’s more comfortable to look away. I forget what the lesson is here when we’re all just trying to be happy, safe followers of a man who cared little in his earthly life about being happy or safe. I don’t know if He wants us to be happy and safe. I don’t know what that kind of love even looks like with skin on, and the best I can do is walk slowly near it and try and eavesdrop on it and rub up against it like a hungry cat, hoping some rubs off on me, too. Hoping I’m someone different in the light of the lamp than I am in the darkness of self.

I don’t know how to reconcile all this today, my full refrigerator and carpeted floor and feeling so financially lacking even though the rest of the world goes on without water to drink and when most babies never turn five and I grow even sicker of my self. I don’t know how to function with any meaning in light of the light that reveals things for what they really are. I don’t know what it means for my priorities or my theology. I don’t know what to make of it.

Joy seems superfluous and arrogant, in the light. Laughter and humor seems to add insult to injury. What am I so happy about when there is so much suffering? What am I doing about any of it? So I sit here and drink orange juice and pound out words and fill my ears with music because creativity is the antidote to despair. Art is the opposite of destruction.

And darkness and doubt can’t exist in the light of the lamp. I create light and receive light and point to light because light is all there is to echo back in answer to this present darkness.

Where there is light, there is joy and peace because joy and peace are hope incarnate. So I light the match and smell the sulfur and spill the words in paint and ink like blood, like water and fish and loaves and wine and sweat and tears all chemically reacting to produce hope, and I ache deep for the whole, wide world—for light, for hope—and create.

Keep that lamp lit, lady. Just keep that lamp lit.

(this post and picture are provided by beautiful cara sexton)

**also, thank you to all who shared your honest and poignant thoughts on the church in monday’s post; the winner of Inciting Incidents is Amy Huzil of Crashing California–congratulations, girl!)

every wednesday and thursday, we gather together to celebrate redemption. here are the details:

1. link up a post (old or new) that you feel is ‘broken’ or ‘imperfect’ or somehow redemptive
2. put the ‘imperfect prose’ button at the bottom of your post, so others can find their way back here (see button code in right-hand column of my blog)
3. read other’s prose, and encourage them!

won’t you join us, here? in which we “walk each other home”? (ram dass)

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