the alarm goes off in the dark of summer. the inability to quit on my girl is stronger than the mighty ability to quit on myself, so i get up and rouse her out of her slumber. we push it to the very edge, she and i, giving ourselves first 20, then 10, and then 5 minutes to get ready. yes, 5 minutes will be enough, our sleep hungry bodies think. this is the logic of one whose natural body rhythm does not include mornings. so we run late and we don’t comb our hair, but we show up. she has a swimming class. and i will run.
my health is not where i want it to be. and i am a simple minded person, not one to cook complicated food or start complicated plans. i know two things that need addressing, an addiction to sugar and a lack of exercise. there are more, but two things are enough to focus on for the time being. so for the sugar addiction I’ve replaced my daily chai tea lattes with just tea and for the exercise, i’m running.
i want to quit. i really do. mightily when the alarm goes off yes, but even still after my girl has sauntered off to class. i rationalize other things to do during this hour, maybe stay in the car and read, or go sit next to the other moms by the pool and get to know them-that would be neighborly and right wouldn’t it? no, that still small voice replies,
I’m Brennan. I’m an alcoholic.
How I got there, why I left there, why I went back, is the story of my life.
But it is not the whole story.
I’m Brennan. I was a priest, but am no longer a priest. I was a married man but am no longer a married man.
How I got to those places, why I left those places, is the story of my life too.
But it is not the whole story.
I’m Brennan. I’m a sinner saved by grace.
That is the larger and more important story.
Only God, in His fury, knows the whole of it.
-Brennan Manning from The Furious Longing of God
there is a storm swirling around inside, dark clouds looming thick and strong.
and when i run it rises up from those deep places within and spills forth into view and i see it. like Brennan, this is not my whole story, only one part of many other parts that make up the whole of me. but it is an important part to look at and sit with. today, however, i resisted for 30 minutes. i just sat in the car and kept the storm just below the surface, glancing at it a little, forming words around it a little, only a little. but the One who always wins had His way. knowing the invitation for what it was, i opened the door and got out of the car.
too often i think satan is winning. too often it feels like he is winning.
he is not winning.
he does not win.
O LORD, the king rejoices in Your strength.
How great is his joy in the victories You give.
i am no king, but i too rejoice in the victories He gives.
today as my feet hit the pavement the tears flowed freely. out here on these public streets we wrestle, He and i, deep calling to deep, mining for the treasures He’s promised in the dark places.
personal words with real and deep laments brought before me to hold in my hands and look at from all directions. invited to know that He is the Lord, the God of Israel who summons me by name.
i have no hope for change or remedy or relief. these are the places the fight has gone, He knows this.
but i am still running.
and there is hope in that.
to draw further in: Psalm 21:1 and Isaiah 45:3