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Settled

January has been relentless so far, in part because of how I’ve thrown myself into work. I suffered a sort of adverse reaction in which my body started acting up. It started with the abcess on the back of my left calf, which I identified early because I had one in the exact same spot on the other leg a few years before. That got me on antibiotics. A couple of days later, still on antibiotics, I allowed myself to be sleep-deprived in what turned out to be a futile effort (oh, 3G army) and that got me a throat infection and a leaky-tap nose that effectively dehydrated me.

I’ve had a sorely needed chance to recover in the form of my MC, which is the reason why I’m out of camp with the luxury of time and space for reflection. This is yet another attempt to break the rhythm of chiong-and-crash that I’ve been falling into since December. Chiong periods resulted in good work done but less than I might’ve thought, while crash periods were marked by a general feeling of enervation or me giving myself to distraction.

And so, I find myself twenty days into twenty ten (I can hardly call it ‘the new year’, can I?) without having had the vision or moment of clarity in which my various  concerns and wishes have at least seemed to make sense; every time a concern or demand has been managed or dealt with (even managed with skill or dealt with masterfully), I’ve been left with a momentary feeling of satisfaction that, when dispelled, left me feeling merely drained.

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‘Merely’ is a good word, and I think I am about ready to sum up what I’m feeling:I have helped, I have served, I have mentored and done my level best, but I am weary, and the ground seems less than firm beneath my feet.

And so I pray, for refreshment beyond weariness, and the grace that provides and sustains. I pray in the awareness of just how finite I am, and in the knowledge that I am forgiven, but not because of the good work I have done. I pray also for vision beyond the next obstacle, and hope beyond the next effort; I pray for the hope of rest, not achievement, or any kind of victory of my own.

The verses from Isaiah about stumbling and eagles came to me then, and I laughed (out loud).

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The past weeks have not been devoid of bright points. There was the night I had the opportunity to talk about God, the universe, eternity and infinity at length, and it was nothing short of awesome how things seemed to fall into place despite how limited and awkward language becomes around such subjects. It comforted me to be able to share, and I thank God for the privilege. There was also the chance I had to talk with a colleague about our common struggles and burdens in work and for the church, and one of the great shared moments was when we understood that despite our nominal differences (he’s Catholic while I’m nominally Methodist) we had much in common. This conversation is also going to be one of the things that’ll keep me honest this year. It was also on this night that the breadth and impact of my experiences in the band became more clearly apparent to me. (The timing is fortuitous, because my university interview is in a few days. Better late than never, yes?) I also got my ACT results (very good) and my Grade 8 Theory results (I studied the night and morning before the exam so you should slap me if I ever say I’m disappointed I missed getting a distinction).

There were also experiences that I can only call irregular. I’ve found that being on flu meds does make time move less tumultuously, and waiting times seem shorter. It also makes the ground move for minutes after you step off the ferry (this was kind of dangerous, considering I was escorting someone to hospital; thankfully it wasn’t an emergency case). I’ve had a day when the only food items I consumed were muesli bars. I’ve listened to Radiohead’s ‘In Rainbows’ without the top layer of sounds because my iPod is wonky. Bible study on I Corinthians is bringing me back all the way to the end of 2006 and my life-changing church camp. I still remember singing along with the crowd during the Chick Corea, Stanley Clarke and Marcus Miller concert.

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I am at the end of a long post; it’s not comprehensive, but I relinquish my claim and leave 2009 behind for good. I’m not sure when I’ll be able to write something more tightly concentrated and crafted again, but I’ll leave that to another time, trusting that it will come. Tonight I book-in, tomorrow I work and attempt not to erode myself in the process, and on Saturday I have my interview. The grande cup of Guatemala Casi Cielo is about to bust my gut, but at least I am finally done with the year gone past.

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