Sunday, September 13, 2009

Breathe. Stretch. Shake. Let it Go...

If you know me well, you know that I quote Biggie, Kane, Salt-n-Pepa, and KRS-One as much as I quote Jesus, Paul, Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Obadiah. Hip-Hop Culture has been as much a part of my foundation as an minister/artist/scholar as Church Culture. I open with this truth because someone may be turned off by my title. If it helps, Mace was/is both rapper and preacher...

On to my post. In the midst of finally getting my breakthrough on the homework front (I've been struggling to find/buy/lease/borrow/steal motivation lately), I had to take a break. My Pastoral Care and Counseling CLass is all about trauma and resiliency in children and adolescents. Needless to say, the reading can be a little heavy. OK, quite heavy. Like tears welling up and without your permission and streaming down your face before you can stop them—heavy. Like memories from five, ten, fifteen, even twenty years ago flooding to your minds eye—heavy. Like each page require more and more of you and with each page you feel like you have less and less to give—heavy. Today, as I dove into my homework, I found myself emotionally taken. Instead of plowing through, as I would normally do, I stopped to eat dinner I had prepared a few hours earlier (BBQ chicken, broccoli, cauliflower, and brown rice). After dinner, I read a few more pages. Then I stopped to watch a few minutes of NCIS. Then I read a few more pages. Sensing a pattern here?

So, I stopped again, but this time I did what I knew was going to work. I grabbed my house keys and my iPod, pushed play on my "Worship Walk" playlist, and went out to pray in the fresh air. I had to, in the words of Puff Daddy protégé and preacher Mase, "breath, stretch, shake, and let it go." But more than that, I had to give it to Jesus. As I walked, I was reminded of Jesus' invitation to "Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." I had been laboring, over a textbook about talking with children about death. But my labor wasn't a recent development. I had been laboring for a few weeks. Laboring to pay bills, laboring to find the strength to read, laboring to write, laboring even to pray sometimes. I was heavy laden with memories of DJ and Grandma and George and Neville—family and friends who had passed away all before I turned 14. I was heavy laden with the anxiety that comes with not knowing your next steps. Heavy laden with GRE Exam and Doctoral Program Stuff. Heavy laden with feelings of inadequacy, indecision, and isolation.

So, I walked and I talked with Jesus and somewhere between Vinton and King and Green Village Road I rested. I rested in the care of my Savior, who indeed cares for me. I rested, knowing that as I gave Jesus my hurt and grief and frustration and anger, that He exchanged each one for His love, healing, support, and joy. I rested knowing that even though I don't know what is next, God has a plan and a purpose for my life. I rested, knowing that God's grace will carry me (and equip me) anywhere God's will take me. I rested knowing that with Jesus, I am and never will be alone. I rested, and then I came back home and finished my reading.

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