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Hitting the wall…

13May2013

Last Monday evening, Nana and Papa got to mind Baby Caroline while her Daddy and Mommy went out for dinner. How wonderful! We had been enjoying each other’s company all day…a long-awaited family vacation that included pool time and play time and beach time…great fun with one another and so much the sweeter since we don’t get to see each other very often.

It had also been (for Baby Caroline, at least) a rather exhausting day. We got about two-thirds of the way through dinner when suddenly her world fell apart. There were tears…many, many tears…and great sobbing.  Neither food nor bottle nor a fresh diaper nor a prayer nor a song was able to stem the tide. She was simply worn out…had hit the wall. Nana (who is much better at these things than I) soothed her to the extent that she could be soothed, and then laid her in her bed. And in about two minutes, she was sound asleep…resting in that deep and confident way that babies seem to possess.

Babies (at least babies like Caroline) are so lucky. When they are done…when they have just had it with the world…they can cry. And someone who loves them will pick them up, hold them close, calm their fears and tuck them in. It doesn’t matter where they fall apart. It might just as easily in the middle of Wal-mart as at the dinner table. The Mommies and Daddies and Nanas and Papas of the world understand. And they will scoop them up and hold them close and dry their tears.

Have you ever wanted to just sit at your desk and cry? Or stand at your place along the assembly line and weep? Has the world finally just overwhelmed you (or nearly overwhelmed you) in the middle of dinner…or at a meeting with the boss…or during the break between classes? And when you hit the wall, who is there to pat your cheeks and sing you a song and hold you close?

Most grown-ups, it seems to me, have become pretty adept at hiding what’s really going on inside. And…you might argue…as well they should. It’s probably inappropriate to fall apart every time somebody gives you the stink-eye. And yet, we need to recognize that, just like our little ones, we too have limits. At the end of the day, we too need strong arms in which to rest.

Psalm 130 is one of my favorites precisely for this reason. The psalmist cries out as if from the grave…already feeling alone and separated from the One who saves…and yet acknowledging that “with the Lord there is steadfast love, and with him is great power to redeem.”

Later in the Bible we see this born out in Christ Jesus who cries out on the cross, convinced that he has been forsaken. But the “One who saves” raises him to new life. I’m sensing a powerful word of hope here for you and me, too. When we have hit the wall…when we are worn out by the world and our own brokenness…when we have just simply had enough, still we are not alone. God…like a good Nana…embraces us, comforts us, soothes and calms and (yes) changes us, so that we might be refreshed for wherever life’s journey leads us next.

DLN@CCD

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