“The heart has its reasons, whereof reason knows nothing.”
There are many days in this season of life where I am at my wit’s end. But that doesn’t seem to keep me from pressing forward expecting reason to catch up to my confusion. The Spirit seems to be prompting me to acknowledge that “wit’s end” may be the beginning of the heart’s greatest journey of all. The heart knows what, at times, the mind can’t comprehend.
I have a friend in hospice care and I don’t want to chance visiting her with a cough that might be more than allergies. She is my friend and it is heartbreaking to stay away “just in case.” My friend’s impending death triggers again an awareness that I too am in the ‘dying years.” It doesn’t seem that long ago my parents would say the same phrase out loud.
I have a friend whose ministry is thriving in her church. She is thrilled and surprised at the favor she is given. There are a number of men in her church who are not sure about this ministry to women who have been sexually abused. She is exposing indirectly the men who have hidden abuse in churches, schools, and families and the women are finding freedom that challenges the failure of men in leadership. Who does she think she is? There are hints that she will be asked to limit her time with women and proceed only if a man is supervising her interactions with women.
I spoke with insistence at my husband about the cowardice of men in leadership. He reminded me that he too is a leader and has often cowardly failed, and at times has risen to be courageous, in the midst of my hurt and forgiveness. I feel like thrashing those who fail to protect and also crumbling in tears.
My heart feels tossed in the wind like chaff.
I have a friend who lost her dearest friend, her sister, a couple of months ago to cancer. She wholeheartedly entered the battle alongside her sister while accompanying her to countless doctor’s appointments and hopeful miraculous infusions. They both were alive and well this time last year and now, she plants a tree in memory of her sister. My heart aches for her living, for the first time in her life, without her sister nearby.
In Psalm 131:1-2 David proclaims, “Lord, my heart is meek before you. I don’t consider myself better than others. I’m content to not pursue matters that are over my head – such as your complex mysteries and wonders – that I’m not yet ready to understand. I am humbled and quieted in your presence.”
I do not know why my sister is still alive and my friend’s sister is not. I do not know why I am not in hospice care along with my friend. I do not know why success in a church does not bring rejoicing with the church staff and why a woman’s gifts are such a threat to men. I am at my wit’s end.
It is in that space that the noise in my mind grows into a crescendo and then collapses. It is as if the mania in each voice finally falls to the ground like a sobbing three-year old and there is no energy left to complain. I am finally quiet, exhausted.
I can do no more than to say: “I give everything and everyone to you God. I give everything and everyone to you God.”
My confession doesn’t resolve the questions, but my heart knows that at least I am not at my end, but at a new beginning. A new turn has come and my heart is able to say: “Where else am I to go? Who else has words of life, like you?”
My wit’s end is the beginning not only of wisdom, but opening my heart to the only One who can give life in the midst of madness.
Becky Allender lives on Bainbridge Island with her loving, wild husband of 42 years. A mother and grandmother, she is quite fond of sunshine, yoga, Hawaiian quilting and creating 17th Century reproduction samplers. A community of praying women, loving Jesus, and the art of gratitude fill her life with goodness. She wonders what she got herself into with Red Tent Living!
Becky, you are such a wise, wise woman. Psalm 131 is one of my favorite places to find comfort in the. chaos and uncertainty, as well. “Lord my heart is not haughty, nor my eyes lofty, neither do I concern myself with great matters nor with things too profound for me” is the version in my head that reminds me its ok to be in the space I have been given to inhabit and engage with what I have been given to hold. “Surely I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with its mother, like a weaned child is my soul within me.” Maybe it’s my years and years of breastfeeding and weaning 8 children that make this visual so vivid and allows me to rest in the arms of the one who both fathers AND mothers me and quiets my soul. Blessings and love to you in this season of your life which you are engaging with such wholehearted courage. Thank you.
Julie, thank you for your kind words. I love the visual of your mother breastfeeding and weaning eight children! It is lovely and certainly makes clear that there are different seasons of life. I miss the earlier ones and am hoping to embrace the goodness of this one more and more.
Becky – This is beautifully written. Poignant yet uplifting. The losses and injustices of life are hard to bear. You wrote so eloquently of the push and pull – the angst it creates. The lines, “It is in that space that the noise in my mind grows into a crescendo and then collapses. It is as if the mania in each voice finally falls to the ground like a sobbing three-year old and there is no energy left to complain. I am finally quiet, exhausted,” spoke loudly to me. It is when I stop “kicking at the goads” and finally surrender to the Almighty that I am able to be comforted and filled. A hard place to arrive, yet the best place to be. Thank you for sharing so honestly with us, Becky. Blessings to you and yours.
Barbara, I loved what you wrote: “A hard place to arrive, yet the best place to be.”
So very true. I only wish that in the beginning of my arrival at such a place of sorrow or anger that I would reach to Jesus first and not after collapsing. When will I become more trusting? When will I always do this first? One thing, the older I get the more kindness I am shedding upon my own body, heart and mind. Well, not always…but hopefully more and more. Thank you for taking the time to reply.
This definitely is a sad season as we watch events involving death unfold around us. I should dig into specific scriptures like you do, but mostly I am thinking of Jesus weeping outside Lazarus’s tomb, reminding myself how death was never to have been part of life. Someone told me that there’s a translation that indicates Jesus was actually angry & snorting not gently weeping. That has comforted me. I don’t know why one person’s diagnosis is so much more serious than another’s either. But exactly now as I’ve written this while sitting on my front porch I looked up with tears to see an amazing rainbow! He loves us and is God after all and has plans we’ll only understand when we see Him face to face…. if we think to ask about them. Love you, my sweet, thoughtful and gentle old friend!! Your writing is amazing! Thank you so much for gifting it to us!
Dear Laura, faithful and remembered friend from so many years ago, thank you for your reply. He does love us. I love that you saw a rainbow and immediately felt his love for you. As we erupt in fury and sorrow with snorting anger and sadness…may we be comforted to know that our Savior did the same and sees and cares for us in mysterious and unseen ways. His comfort is ours to feel and embody. He is our hope and our life!
I really don’t have words other than yes. Yes. So much grief.
I get that. Yes…so much grief.
Yes… Yes… how many wit’s end do we have… but each time it does bring me back… just like you… where else do I go… who else can hold my heart, my questions… my unmet desire… only one… who can hold and heal and bring those new beginnings!!
Ro, thank you for your Amen to our predicament. Jesus is our Alpha and Omega!
Wow. Thank you for this affirmation: that “wit’s end” may be the beginning of the heart’s greatest journey of all. The heart knows what, at times, the mind can’t comprehend. Becky, this is so powerful that words can’t quite capture the raw essence of it. Pondering. Pausing. Preaching to myself. Thank you for the “push.”
Thank you Natasha. It is not easy being a human being. Sometimes we need to step back and ponder how angels see us. So much heartache and so much joy. Emotions are not always easy to embody or “handle.”