It seems my brain is taking on a mind of its own...
The fuse seems uncharacteristically short in recent days. Syllables I'm not sure I would normally utter tumble forth more freely. Words of grace seem distant and the exercising of that grace towards others can seem a herculean effort when so many are in such a hurry and care very little to reciprocate. Emotions expose more quickly and Karmic justice is the desired end for trespass.
Escape to the garrison of my home. That's all I need - the safety of my castle. My domus.
Here I find my beautiful bride. She is strength to me. She brings order to chaos. She orders our home, she orchestrates the meeting of our physical needs. She clothes and feeds us. She is raising a young man and two pre-teens while I daily venture into the world to gather the income our family relies upon. She, in a word, is "amazing".
And she is stressed. In my absence of excessive work the strain is showing in our family. "All hands on deck" is slowing to "A few hands holding the whole thing up". In the midst of this, a boy adopted from trauma and abuse spirals into a negative behavioral cycle. These usually ebb and flow. We expect them from time to time. But something is amiss, something is off. This spiral is a nosedive to depths we've not encountered before.
Perfect timing for my bride who is essentially "single parenting" for weeks on end. Working six and seven days a week, I leave before the kids are up. I often return after they've gone to bed. And my bride has a few minutes via a phone call or before I collapse to sleep to recount the myriad of emotional highs and lows experienced throughout the day. To say I've dropped the ball on this conversation a few times would be an understatement. Thankfully this pace is starting to wind down, but at home, I've been stumblin'.
I ran across the following recently. It hurt all the way down to my stubbed and achy stumblin' toes.
Great peace have those who love your law, and nothing can make them stumble.
In the Hebrew in which this was written, this literally says
Great and abundant welfare, tranquility and contentment belongs to those who hunger and desire for God's instruction and direction and nothing will be a stumbling block to them or cause them to fall.
I can honestly say, my "hunger" for God's instruction in recent weeks has gotten lost somewhere between deadlines, appointments, project schedules, invoices, home, and child tantrums. In fact, I'm pretty certain that I have been fasting and consequently malnourished. Priorities. The end result: stumblin'.
But I have all these responsibilities. I have the carnival of life going on around me. It's a three-ring circus and I don't want to get in the clown car again. I have the weight of the world on my shoulders and sometimes it's just too heavy. How many would echo similar sentiment?
In fact, he too stumbled.
He stumbled under the weight of all of it. The whole world, for all time, on his shoulders. It started in a garden. Close friends dozed nearby as he could feel the approach of the storm. The sheer weight of what was to come drove him to his knees as he bitterly wept "let there be another way..."
It continued in the dragging of rough hewn timbers through dusty streets. He stumbled despite the screaming, despite the raucous, despite the whips.
It's zenith was with a shuddering breath as a sin laden savior released us all with the words "It is finished".
It concluded when quiet, sure feet, stepped confidently past the stone that was rolled back into the open, never to falter again.
He stumbled so I wouldn't have to.
Does this mean I never will? Hardly. But when I do, I know there is one who knows the alarm of the fall, the dread of the impact, and the pain of the blow. He's always there with outstretched hand to help me set my feet, and end the stutter-step so that I can move on with purposeful firm steps in the direction that he has for me.
Patiently, he is ever at the ready to lift me up so that I don't have to keep stumblin'.