This one is for those of you who have grown weary.
Not the good kind of weary that is about muscles and bones, but the kind of weary that is layered and deep; the kind that comes from waiting and wanting and lacking. The kind of weary that comes when you work at something with all of your heart and soul, but you cannot see where it is going, or what it is accomplishing.
The kind of weary that sneaks up on you and settles over you; a thick blanket of weary where you can’t see anything else.
This, too, is a good kind of weary, not from what has been done, but what is being done, which you cannot see. The working and not seeing is what makes you weary.
Exactly as I was writing that sentence, my younger sister walked by, her eight month-old son strapped onto her chest (but really he’s strapped into her, as every mother knows).
“I’m just trying to get him to go to sleep,” she said, exhaustion creeping around the edges of her words, blurring everything else.
Weariness is that mother, my sister, caring for a son that will someday care for her.
Weariness is that couple that I prayed with recently, their eyes pools of sadness, reflecting all that has gone wrong. Their weariness was their clothing, covering everything.
Weariness is the pastor that wrote me, explaining how these words that I write on this blog are like water to his parched soul. Weariness is thirsty work, but it is good work.
And I am thirsty, too, of course.
When I wrote this, I was up at the cabin. I ran around the lake that I have circled dozens and dozens of times over the last twenty years. This lake knows my story. It remembers when I brought Mary up here for the first time, where we stole kisses, along with each other’s hearts, underneath the pontoon.
It remembers the anguish of deciding that a move we made was the wrong move, and it remembers the question my older sister asked me that led us to move home.
It remembers the marathon training, the kids finally being born, and the waterskiing accident. It remembers.
It has carried my weariness and it remembers.
On a run around that lake last week, I saw the eagle, the one that soars and dives and sometimes perches above our deck. And that eagle helped me remember something that everyone who is weary needs to remember. So I stopped and took a picture, right then and right there.
Can you see it? It’s a speck of an idea, so you need to stare at it until you remember.
“O Jacob, how can you say the LORD does not see your troubles? Have you never heard? Have you never understood? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of all the earth. He never grows weak or weary.”
The God who understands us is the God who is not like us, not in this way. This is the God who knows and is not overwhelmed by our troubles, not like I am. This is the God who, like the lake, knows your story. This is the God who remembers the pain and the laughter and the circling.
But this is the God who doesn’t just know.
“He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless. Even youths will become weak and tired, and young men will fall into exhaustion.”
We are surprised by our weariness, by our limits, by our failure. But even the strong are weak, and even the tireless ones fall into exhaustion (because tireless is a label that those of us who are tired give to others we only assume are not tired). God is not surprised by our limits and our weariness. God waits for our weariness to sink in, and meets us there. It is God who waits for us to show up in our weariness. And it is God who gives us what we do not have.
“Yet those who wait for the LORD Will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary.”
The Hebrew word for wait, in this verse, is qavah. It’s meaning, like all Hebrew words, is rich and nuanced.
It means to eagerly look for something.
It means to lie in wait for something, like you are going to ambush it when it finally comes.
It means to collect, to bind together.
So stare at that speck of an idea. Look eagerly for it. Lie in wait for it, and ambush it when it comes.
Collect it all together, bind it together and carry it with you, when it comes.
You will need it on this journey.
And until then, keep circling your lake, which knows your story, and will call you home.