Ever been to a pity party? No invite needed, no company required, no dress code to worry about. You just turn up and, you feel down right sorry for yourself. The kind that calls for a rendition of ‘Havin’ a me party’ from ‘The Muppets’. All it takes is something to push the right button and before you know it, you’re wallowing like a pig in muck, in a situation that is way more toxic than anything you’d find near a pigsty.
For me, the trigger was probably tiredness and a less than relaxing weekend and, while I was fully aware that I had no justified reason to complain, you know how, when the fog of pity descends, clear thinking goes out the window and before you know it, you’ve managed to stop, just short of ‘What’s the point?’ That’s where I was.
In the rather understated decor of the party, you begin to chat with the only other attendee – your own pitiful thoughts – and you start to spill: ‘What do I even do with my life?’ you ask. ‘I mean, I work, I cook, I clean, I make sure everyone is clothed, I ferry kids about, oversee homework, make sure everyone has what they need ( most of the time anyway!) and maybe, I even send the odd message to a friend. But beyond that, what purpose do I serve?’
And then, the conversation goes up a level, as you wallow deeper into the mud of self pity. You explain how you look around at those who seem to do it all so very well, who work, keep on top of everything and have a full life outside of the home too and before you know, it you’re thinking, ‘What significance do I actually have?’
But that’s the danger with comparison, isn’t it? We start to compare and we lose all perspective. I’m sure there were times when Esther looked at the situation she was in and wondered what on earth she was doing there. Yet, we’re told very clearly that she was born for ‘such a time as this’.
With our ‘middlest’ last night at bedtime, feeling a bit uninspired and overwhelmed myself, I turned to a fabulous wee book called ‘Daily Prayers for a Girl’s Heart’ and I opened at one entitled ‘The Present Moment’. I had no expectations other than to share some encouraging words I felt that I was in no position to offer. But, as I read, I realised that those words were meant for this girl too:
Sometimes, Father, I want to do what want to do, when I want to do it … Help me to be happy in the present moment, Lord. To live for today and not worry about tomorrow.Remind me that every day with you is a good day. Give me the strength to be patient and the wisdom to know what is good for me at whatever age I am … So I will be content learning from others and waiting for you to grow me into the person you have planned me to be. Thank you for being with me every stage of my life, gently leading me, tenderly supporting me and blessing me day after day. Amen.
I may be a grown-up in the conventional sense, but I know that I still have a lot of spiritual growing to do and so, it’s good to be reminded, sometimes in very simple, unexpected ways, that we need to live life in the now, as we are meant to – where we are, in the circumstances in which we have been placed. And rather then complaining, celebrating where we are in the moment.
When I was little, I remember signing ‘This is the day that the Lord has made’, on a Sunday and, (confession time) in my childish way, I thought of this as a song for Sunday. Now though, I not only know that it is taken from Psalm 118, but I understand that it is very much about the everyday. We’re not just called to worship in church, to ‘rejoice and be glad’ in our Sunday best. We’re told to ‘rejoice and be glad’ in ‘the day that the Lord has made.’ And that day? Is every day that we are given.
So, no matter how discouraged, pointless or irrelevant you may be feeling right now, you were made for this day, this time, these circumstances.
You’re here, just as Esther was, just as even I am whether I think I am or not, for such a time as this. So don’t look around at everyone else, what they are doing and how they appear to be getting on with life – you are you, not anyone else. And right now, even if you feel more of a Dandelion than a Dahlia, know that you are where you need to be right now and you don’t need to look at anyone else, because they weren’t called to be you, doing the things you need to do. So, like the flowers which simply get on with growing, rather than comparing themselves to others, know that you are doing what you need to be right now and so, the best thing you can do? Bloom, my friend, wherever you are planted.