Thursday, October 12, 2017

Who is Sufficient?

225,000 square feet.  It seemed like an impossibly large building for only 2 people to care for.  But that is just what was asked of us, barely married for 3 months, while my husband attended college. The caretaker/janitor's position opened up at the new church we had begun attending, and with youthful enthusiasm we jumped right in.  We cleaned and monitored, attended events and washed up afterwards, and became intimately familiar with the church that had a caretaker's apartment built into the upper level for us to live in.  Sufficient for the task? Not at all, but we found ways to push our limits in order to keep going.

This week over at Michele Morin's site, 
Living our Days, 
 where we are in Week 6 of our study of 
Jayber Crow, by Wendell Berry,
our friend, Jayber, finds himself taking on the church janitor's work also.  

So it should have come as no surprise when I found one of my favorite scenes unfolding in this week's reading.  Jayber often came to do his cleaning at the church in the evening after he had worked all day at the Barber Shop. Needless to say, the quiet and calming presence of the church was an easy place to rest and even take a nap. (I remember those same peaceful feelings when the sanctuary was empty, and while cleaning, we played our own music through the church's high tech--for then--speakers!)

It was during one of those rest times that a dream overtook him:

 "One day when I went up there to work, sleepiness overcame me and I lay down on the floor behind the back pew to take a nap. Waking or sleeping (I couldn’t tell which), I saw all the people gathered there who had ever been there. I saw them as I had seen them from the back pew, where I sat with Uncle Othy (who would not come in any farther) while Aunt Cordie sang in the choir, and I saw them as I had seen them (from the back pew) on the Sunday before. I saw them in all the times past and to come, all somehow there in their own time and in all time and in no time . . . They said nothing, and I said nothing. I seemed to love them all with a love that was mine merely because it included me. When I came to myself again, my face was wet with tears."

Berry, Wendell. Jayber Crow: A Novel (Port William) (p. 165). Counterpoint. Kindle Edition. 

The longing that I felt for Jayber to know more about the TRUE Love that had touched him, only grew as I read through the next few chapters.  Sadly, Jayber moved from his own touch with the Wonder of Love to look for love in all the wrong places.  I still have hope that in upcoming chapters he might find where that longing will be fully met.

But my own longings are hanging in the wind,
crying out for GRACE 
when I have none of my own.

In the same way that Jayber failed to see that the One who is all love was right beside him, giving him that dream of love for His people, I too have ignored the call of that ONE.

When I have sought my own sufficiency,
When I have leaned on my own strength,
When I have looked for my own help,

my own Sweet Lord has never stopped calling me.

While chronic illness calls me to 
muster up my own strength,
My Jesus calls me to 
find a sufficiency
deeper than my own
and a love 
that fills every longing.

There is Life from the Lord
that is bigger
than any work of my self,
a freedom
brought from His Spirit.

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control"
Galatians 5:22,23 

 Who is Sufficient?

Years came and went
Strength surged
Depended upon.

My ways were laid 
Who sees everything.

Abilities brought out
A way of life.

My heart was crushed
Who sees everything.

Illness has a way
Pointing out lack
Hidden underneath.

My body was broken
Who sees everything.

Mercy invites inside
Seeking to give
What I have not.

My soul was enlarged
Who sees everything.

Grace covers, fills
Living in me.

My Life is overflowing
Who sees everything.

God with me.

And a verse usually spoken at Christmas gives the invitation for each of us to find JESUS,  the son
given to be with us.

The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”).
Matthew 1:23 NIV 

May this song of encouragement bless you today. He is with us, and invites us into His Presence where His Sufficiency is everything we need.

You can find Jayber Crow by Wendell Berry by clicking here.

I am linking this week with:
Debbie Kitterman, #TuneInThursday 
Barbie Swihart, #Glimpses 
Meg Weyerbacher, #TeaAndWordTuesday