My first job out of college was as a paralegal to the largest law firm in Oklahoma. Great people. Great place to work. I learned so much.
One of the lawyers with whom and for whom I worked was just crazy smart. He was a deep thinker and consummate scholar. He carried the weight of his job with every step he took, and his health suffered a bit because of that. I always knew it was Mike coming down the hall because he would sigh heavily. He was a lovely human, and he was intense. One day, I heard the tell-tale sigh and looked up as Mike frantically entered my office. “Have you seen it?” he demanded. “I just had it and I’ve lost it. I can’t find it anywhere. Have you SEEN it?”
At this point, I’m frantic now, too. My heart is racing. Did I misplace something? I’m scanning my desk, shifting papers, looking for anything that might be what was lost. “What, Mike? What did you lose?” Then, wearing his most serious face, with his shock of white locks amidst his head of dark hair, he looked at me and said, “My motivation. I just had it and now it’s gone.” He grinned his big grin and retreated.
I’m kind of feeling that way about my world these days. At the beginning of the year, I was determined that I was going to hit 50 in my best shape, physically and emotionally. Only clean eating for me. And good fitness. And time for personal spiritual development. And a life in balance. Ha!
A few weeks into the year landed me with a foot injury that still is not completely healed. The pandemic hit and life changed completely. My demanding job became more demanding. In my stress, I ate more, I drank more and exercised less. So, I’m on target to hit 50 in the worst shape of my life. Motivation? Have you seen it?
Ugh! And then there’s the whole wallow factor! I pile upon myself unreasonable and irrational guilt for the state I find myself in. Grace is in short supply when it comes to how I treat myself. I loathe myself for being sloth-like. I berate myself for preferring the chips and salsa or bread over the apple or green salad. What happened to the motivation I had to be my best me? I just had it and I’ve lost it. I can’t find it anywhere. Have you SEEN it?
Even now, as I wallow in my weakness, I am reminded about what my weakness can do. My weakness exposed, I can be authentically me. My weakness exposed, I can begin the process of healing from the inside out. My weakness exposed, I can related to others in a new way. My weakness exposed, I am fully open to the ways God wants to work in my life. “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” – 2 Corinthians 12:9. Thanks be to God!
Mike left this world too soon. But he left the world he touched in a better place for his time in it. He worked hard. He studied and learned continuously. He cared deeply. He loved big. He shared generously of his time and talents and treasures. He sighed under the weight of such living, but he pressed on, steadfast nonetheless, until his ultimate retreat.
“Count it all joy, my brothers and sisters, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” – James 1:2-4