Through the Doldrums

Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:16)

Connecting with kids, siblings, and relatives through Facetime or phone is something we do almost every day. “Hey, how’s it going,” we ask. “Fine,” is the reply. “Anything new happening?,” we ask. “Not really,” is the reply. “Everything is pretty much the same. Went to the grocery today. That’s about it.” “Anything exciting going on at work?,” we ask. “No. It’s pretty slow in the summertime.” And on it goes. Any time one of our children has a bit of news about work, or when one of our grandchildren reaches a new milestone or has a new “ouchie,” it feels like somehow the world is making progress.

There are exceptions, of course. Loss, conflict, and emotions can’t be quarantined. Life is happening. There are choices to be made with regard to what we read, what we watch on the tube, where we surf on the net, and what we do to get out of the house. Even with social distancing, there are chores to be done, and doctor appointments to be kept. Still, it is the middle of August. Hot, humid, lethargic.

For me, it’s easy to become so immersed in the doldrums that I forget that national and international news is still happening, people in neighborhoods and communities are still suffering, and I have a part to play in the outcomes of not only my life, but in the lives of other people. Going the distance throughout a pandemic isn’t just a matter of sitting and waiting for things to get better. Each day I must choose to think positively, to adapt creatively, to manage my time differently. Even during the doldrums. But it’s not easy.

There is also such a thing as the spiritual doldrums. Sometimes I feel a creeping spiritual lethargy, a lack of energy to pray or to engage in those activities that would normally feed my soul. Sometimes the well of creativity and enthusiasm dries up. To make matters worse, my the brain starts talking at me, questioning me: “What’s the matter? What’s wrong with you? Where’s your faith?” Thankfully I have learned how to talk back to my brain. “Nothing’s wrong. This, too, shall pass.” Faith is not a matter of thinking positively, although that’s fine. For me, faith is trusting God, drawing near to the throne of grace, no matter what.

This morning’s mid-August, Monday edition of Going the Distance has been a bit more rambling than I’d like, but it is good to stay in touch with you and to offer whatever words of encouragement I can. I enjoyed the comments you sent about the blue street reflectors I wrote about last week. I hope that this coming week brings you a God-moment or two, and that you bring a God-moment to someone else, too.

Rev. Dr. David Kaiser-Cross
Executive Minister

Prayer Focus: Ourselves
God, you have given me another day to enjoy life, family, and friends. Grant me the grace I need to be fully alive and present, even through the August doldrums. Somehow, this week, use me to bring a bit of joy to the people I meet. Amen.