Monday over Coffee: Take a Bow

Need Some Words of Encouragement?


Take a Bow

It was an ‘off’ day. Not as in, I took the day off. I was off-off. Mentally. Spiritually. Physically. Not myself. I worked, but my ‘To Do List’ received barely a glancing blow. I forgot my only Zoom meeting of the day. Then, I let myself become irritated by news headlines, yet continued, story after story, into a veritable ‘doom scroll’ until fully vexed. My exercise was lazy — more a slow trudge than a fleet-footed run. I didn’t eat well and my interactions with family ran the not-so-expansive gamut from unengaged to short-tempered. By the time the sun went down, I was in full ‘Billy Goat Gruff’ mode according to my wife, and that was all before the Astros lost.

Based upon the day’s industry and flow, one often feels a rewarding sense of full-heartedness in the evening; that terrific feeling of earned success which we call ‘a good day’s work.’ I felt not a hint of it. So, in a bit of a funk, I shuffled on some music and listened to a song called Grace:

Grace — She takes the blame, she covers the shame,
It’s the name for a girl, it’s also a thought, that changed the world.

When she walks on the street, you can hear her strings,
Grace finds goodness in everything.

When she goes to work, you can hear the strings,
Grace finds beauty in everything.

Think of all we’ve endured in the midst of uncertainty and stress recently. It’s simply an unavoidable fact that it’s going to back up on us some days. It can’t be helped. It’s been about five months since all this started and the fact that we’re even upright could be considered reason for taking a bow. It’s taken wisdom, ingenuity, and tenacity just to get this far. So, in the midst of a busted year, to run into a bad personal day, even one beyond the general trouble on hand, should not be surprising. No one performs well every day.

When I misplay one or even a few, I remember what I used to teach the little leaguers I coached. When a player didn’t get his glove down as a grounder approached and made an error, I’d tell him to just ‘brush it off.’ The gesture was designed to put the bad play in the past and get re-focused for what was next.

It’s an often overlooked blessing that our world spins as it does, day to night and back again. We get the chance to brush our poor performances away to a considerable degree because of this. We’re given to rest and to sleep. Circadian rhythms, whatever it is, God turns the page for us. The griefs and friction of each day are cut and abridged, put to bed as it were, so they don’t pile up as they might otherwise if not for this arrangement. Think about it — what a miracle it is that essentially the lights go out, then reliably the lights come back on as we regain consciousness each morning and get to start over again in a semblance of newness. Scientists really can’t explain this fully even now. We just know it’s grace at work.

In addition, Earth is moving around the Sun in an almost circular orbit at a speed of roughly 30 kilometers per second — that’s a brisk 67,000 miles per hour if you do the math. That is to say, we’re really moving. This confounding trip around the sun we call 2020 is therefore passing, and while some of the difficulty and strain which characterizes this year will undoubtedly spill into the next and beyond, we’re gaining traction, we’re integrating, we’re dealing with it, and the calendar will turn bringing with it yet another semblance of the new. That’s grace at work too. Can you hear her strings?

Finally, it’s also by a quiet grace that day by day — even the ones in which we perform especially lamely — we are continuing to gather resilience. We’re accumulating grit. We’re running with weights around our ankles and getting stronger. Wax on, wax off. We’re gaining skills all the way through this. Quite literally, we’re learning to better handle adversity just by getting up every morning. So wherever you are right now, stop and take a bow. I’m not kidding. A deep one.

God—

 

So I had a bad day. I didn’t get my glove down. Help me to brush it off. To receive grace. Help me listen for her strings. And to know grace finds goodness and beauty in everything. Amen.

 

—Greg Funderburk 


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