Curve Balls and Consolations
I’ve had a few curve balls lately… unexpected happenings that have been unsettling.
When you think about it… hasn’t this past year been that way? Who would have even imagined that we would still be facing restrictions, wearing masks, staying home?
And life happens in the midst of it all. I’ve had dear friends in crisis, know those who are deeply grieving, and faced my own set of challenges that I didn’t see coming. At all.
It’s curious isn’t it, this term, curve ball. The unexpected, hit you in the gut, coming out of seemingly nowhere, you’d hope it curved a little better and just flew on by.
For some, and I’ve met these people recently, it can seem like these so called curve balls come flying when you are already down, gasping for breath.
I believe this might describe what many of our caregivers, nurses and doctors, paramedics, and frontline workers have faced as wave upon wave of the pandemic has directly affected their work, and their personal lives. We cannot underestimate their sacrifice and devotion.
There is an ancient Ignatius tradition, a form of prayer where we can lift up our desolations and consultations to God. It opens my eyes to where God is present to my troubles and also opens my eyes to the Creator’s presence and grace throughout my day.
When a curve ball comes, it is helpful to go back to this form of prayer, to take a deep breath. I love the thought that God is not surprised by anything. That God is present when things seem very difficult, sharing in our suffering.
And as one dear man spoke to me recently, in the midst of his own suffering, that none of it could compare to the love and suffering of our Saviour. So in the midst of acknowledgment his pain, we also gave thanks. It was a tender moment.
I find it helpful to have a plan when those curveballs hit. Sometimes you have to take a deep breath and dust yourself off. Sometimes there is weeping, an outlet for emotion and pain.
There is time to have a conversation with God, an honest prayer of the heart. I find it helpful to pray scripture, and there are so many, especially in the Psalms.
It is helpful to talk to wise friends, not for sympathy, but for wisdom, an objective ear, a shared prayer.
Sometimes we enter into a place of quiet. I love the verse, In quietness and trust is your strength. (Isaiah 30:15) Yes.
There is the practical. Eat nourishing food. Go for a walk, breath in fresh air. Practice kindness to others. Do something creative. Make soup.
Curveballs are inevitable. Let God be my cushion, my resting place, my place of safety. Whatever comes your way, know, and know well, we are not alone.