Rage is tiring. As a recent bout of asthma has reminded me, even anger requires strength, air in the blood. I’ve been thinking about Haitians, about border patrol agents, about the Covid wars, and Afghanistan. I’ve been taking deep pulls of albuterol into my heavy lungs and praying with rattling breaths. I can’t do much in this state, so I’ve had time to think.
It’s just that easy to cry, you know; just now my eyes are stinging with tears over all that is sad and broken right now. I don’t want mamas wondering where they’ll get diapers and milk for their babies as they shelter under a bridge. I don’t want border patrol agents made out to be monsters as they do their work in a very frustrating and dangerous situation. I don’t want families screaming at each other and severing their bonds over masks and vaccines. I don’t want folks dying without their loved ones, their last words unable to be spoken because of a ventilator. I don’t want nurses and doctors screamed at and mistreated. I don’t want women and girls in Afghanistan to suffer loss of freedoms. I don’t want my country to turn its back on Afghans who helped us at great risk.
I need to let the tears run, because it’s what they’re supposed to do; to let love take on a form that washes.
I don’t have the strength to flip tables. Maybe even with lungs that would hold great draughts of air I couldn’t really. But I can trust God with the things outside of my ability to help, and let go of the tables. God is wise. He knows our smallness, doesn’t he? As a parent gives simple chores to their youngest child, so He reminds us to clothe the naked, feed the hungry, visit the sick and imprisoned, love our neighbors, give freely, pray, fast, worship. He isn’t necessarily calling us to culture wars, power acquisition, nation building, and defending our rights. We can’t even be sure we’re flipping the right tables. We could be just spilling soup into the dust.
Anyway, my elderly neighbor needs company with his wife being in the hospital, and a beloved aunt got a cancer diagnosis, and many friends are going through the hell of divorce. I can’t move their suffering, but what can my flesh and blood hands do? I can make a supper. I can send a card. I can make time for conversation. I can pray, and I can weep for them, my love going upwards and downwards and sideways. I can even do that with rattling breath and powerlessness and smallness.
Maybe we need to let go of the tables and give our hands some good work to do.