Sometimes You Eat The B'ar


One of my favorite lines from my favorite movie The Big Lebowski is uttered by veteran actor Sam Elliot, who delivers it with a bit of a Texas twang: 

"Sometimes you eat the b'ar... and sometimes the b'ar, well he eats you."  

Yesterday was one of those days when the "b'ar" (bear) got me real good.  I felt pretty mauled after all was said and done.  Things started devolving pretty early, and kind of kept it up as the day wore on. 

What started as a simple addition of an internet phone in my wife's home office, devolved into a full-blown mess with my internet provider inexplicably killing my internet for hours without a promised call-back.  

Everyone had to scramble around to get their work done, and the phone never got added because of equipment "incompatibilities."  The people we called to fix the problem asked if we had other people to call to fix the problem---that they basically created.  

But what I heard was: "You really tried to fix this Mr. Bloder, but you just made it worse, and now your whole house is without internet... bwhahahaha!!"  

All of this was followed by a litany of other things that didn't work out as I'd hoped, and when coupled with the fact that I was behind on a ton of work, frazzled and feeling like I would never get caught up again, I got kind of tense.  

The tension led to a bunch of fun-filled thoughts like, "Can I honestly just go to bed now?  I know it's only 3PM, but maybe we can just call it a day."  or "I've heard that Sedona is really nice this time of year.  I wonder if I start driving there now if I could get there by dinner." 

In the midst of all of my tension, I suddenly had an epiphany about how silly I was being.  None of the problems I was facing were life-threatening, world-shaking, or anything worth freaking out about.  

"God, help me." I whispered to myself (and God).  "I need to see better.  Help me see better."  

First, I  let myself feel all of the feelings because I've learned you need to do that in order to let them go.  Then I worked on one thing at a time--slowly knocking out one task, and then another.  

Then I watched some videos of animals doing awesome things.  I listened to music and wrote a few lines on a poem that I have been working on for a while.  

I also ate some leftover Maudie's Tex-Mex, and it was almost as good as it was a couple of days ago.  And slowly but surely, the world settled under my feet.  

The other day I read this incredible prayer by Laura Jean Truman that I've been thinking about ever since.  It occurred to me that this very prayer might have been in my heart when I whispered my own tired, shaky prayer for God to help me see better. 

You see, what I was really asking God for at that moment was the courage to open my eyes wide enough to see the world differently than I'd envisioned it with my fear-stoked imagination.   

Here's the prayer that I read:  

Grant us the courage to keep showing up to impossible battles, trusting that it is our commitment to faithfulness, and not our obsession with results, that will bring shalom.  

True, my prayer started out a little more raw than this one, but it's basically the same thing.  I wanted to have my eyes opened.  I wanted to have the courage to keep showing up--to learn to be faithful. 

I wanted to be a shalom-bringer, for sure.  But mostly, I wanted to actually feel shalom, the very peace of God on this earth.  I needed to feel it on the other side of all of the other feelings--to experience resurrection and new life.  

Maybe you have had a day where the "b'ar" has had at you pretty good.  Maybe you are wondering if it's worth showing up for the seemingly impossible battle of simply living a life marked by courage, and commitment.  

In case you were wondering... it is worth it.  May you be overwhelmed by how much it is worth it for you, and may it fill you with joy and purpose.  And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.  

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