How to Start

First morning of the week of the first day of the new year and I couldn’t locate a matching pair of socks.  Then, for the first time in my life I cut my upper lip, right along the line of the lip, like half-inch wide, while shaving.  And my cold, which had climbed into existence over Friday, had moved from severe congestion on Saturday to cough and some congestion by daylight.  By the time I left for church, I was thinking… This is not the way to start a new year.  But I didn’t have a choice.
This was the beginning… sneezing, coughing, bleeding (ridiculously), frustrated and tired.
So, as I made my way to church I claimed my position completely.  I said to God, “I’m not adequate for the day.”  That’s my prayer that means, “You know what’s going on.  I got nothing.  If any good comes from this it’s up to you.”
And so I went to church trusting.
Am I protected?
Should things not start off this way for me?  I’m a child of God!  Aren’t I supposed to be… ah… what?  Invulnerable?  Safe?


We all know that right?  In our reality we are prone to lose things, make wrong choices, hurt others, hurt ourselves, grow conceited, become bigoted, or even hang on to money to the detriment of life.  I am not safe.  I’m loved.  And I can also face the future because the future is made up of relationships and not stuff… at least it should be.
So, as I start out this new year in this abominable manner, I go recognizing first that I’m not adequate for the day (and that I need to remind myself of that)… let alone the year… or my life for that matter.  I’m not adequate.
And the only thing that will make me handle it well is my relationship with others.  If I showed up in church and everyone noticed my messed up lip but no one spoke to me about it, I would be only a face to them.  I would be a figurehead, leading the church like a wooden, carved image that might speak, but mostly just hangs out.  But that wasn’t the case, person after person asked, “Oh, did you bust up your lip.”  And I got to tell them the list of woes that started my day to which they all laughed… laughed, chuckled gently, smiled, whatever… met it with enjoyment and then reached out and rested a hand on my arm, my shoulder, my back or took my hand fully and shook it, each saying with confidence, “It will get better.”
Some said, “You’ll be better” or “You’ll be okay” or “It can only go up from here,” but they each confidently assured me toward hope.  I would not be adequate without the love of those around me, gifts of God for the people of God.
And so I face the year… bloodied, sniffling, hacking but unbowed.
I don’t need no stinking resolutions.  I just have to wake up tomorrow and start again.  That will be plenty.  I’ve got relationships and One who loves me more than I can ever figure out.


4 responses to “How to Start

  1. That is how I start too many of my days but then I too remember I have relationships and ONE who loves me. Who can ask for anything more? Sometimes a nap helps too.

  2. You’ll never know how meaningful this is for me . . . I am going the hacking congested thing and have to get on an airplane Friday back to Tampa . . . poor me 😱
    Not the way to start the New Year!

  3. So appreciate these comments… we are in this together!

  4. Geoff a good reflection. What’s interesting to me is what constitutes discomfort or less than ideal is different for each person. What isn’t different but similar is we all have something that needs to make us realize how inadequate we really are. We need to surrender to that and yes, a nap always helps!

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