Last week I was having one of those bad days. Not so much in that my day was riddled with a series of unfortunate incidents that would someday become an amusing anecdote. It was bad day because of state of my mind and heart.
I was worried that Skid had been making some very bad decisions, ones that could effect our family. I was hurting for Hubs, because he was agonizing over how best to correct things. I was concerned for family members hundreds of miles away who had just experienced one death in the family and were now facing another. I was stressed about my job as organizational changes were causing a ripple of job eliminations. I felt conflicted because some dear friends of ours started their first round of IUI. While I was happy and hopeful for them, the baby-shaped space in my heart made itself heard as well.
It was a lot of weight; I had very little muscle to move it. It was enough to make me want to lay my head on my desk and give up. But I didn’t. Instead, I directed it elsewhere.
I donated money that would allow a child in foster care to have a nice present and cake on his birthday. I sent encouraging cards to my far away relatives. I extended a helping hand to coworker who was struggling with a problem. I smiled at the cashier at the drug store. I gave grace even when I could find none for myself and my burden began to feel lighter. It wasn’t going away. I still have to deal with stresses, but they felt a lot less cumbersome.
This I feel is the essence of Christianity. Knowing the feeling of peace and the power of grace and, instead of just hoarding it for yourself, passing it on. Putting yourself aside and reaching out others whose needs are greater than yours.
Any bad day pales in comparison to the Biblical accounts of the crucifixion of Christ. He had been beaten, mocked, had a crown thorns thrust upon his head, and nails were driven into his nails in his hands and feet, and the Roman soldiers were gambling for the remnants of his clothing. That’s a bad day right there! But even in the midst of all this, Jesus still found the love and compassion ask for forgiveness of his tormentors and reassure the repentant thief that was crucified beside him. He remained true to his purpose: to extend God’s grace to mankind.
Just think for a moment about your worst day ever and how you may have acted. Then think about yourself in that situation. How many of us would have cursed the soldiers How many would have told the thief “I’m kinda having a bad day here. Don’t really have it in me to deal with your problem today. Can you give me some space?”
I’m far from perfect. In fact, if I had a quarter for every time I rolled my eyes at someone in public, I wouldn’t have to worry about my job! But I’d like to change. I’d like to get to point where grace becomes a permanent part of my mindset. Where I could remember put my burden down in order to help another with his.
I don’t think that Christianity is closed-system. It’s not simply about my relationship with God. It’s how that relationship extends beyond me. Isn’t that what Christ’s example is really all about?
So today, as I my concerns and troubles continue to mount, I need to ask myself what can I do to help someone else with theirs?