Everybody knows somebody who is always going through it, and they must tell everybody about what it is that they’re going through. From the time she was a little girl ’til her 30th class reunion, she has been going through it. Everybody knows somebody who is perpetually hanging in there, taking it day by day, or holding onto God’s unchanging hand. If those are your default responses to How are you, then I’m talking to you and everybody who encounters you.
Everybody goes through trials. It’s not a matter of if; it’s a matter of when and how often and how long. We all face adversity — Christians, Jews, Muslims, atheists, agnostics, Ghostface Killah — all of us face tough times. James, Jesus’ half brother, encourages us to consider it pure joy when we face trials of many kinds (James 1:2). We could discuss WHY we should consider it pure joy, we could unpack the meaning of pure joy, or we could tackle the meaning of face. There’s a lot of meat on this bone to nibble on, but I believe that the biggest obstacle in this verse centers around facing the trials that James speaks of.
Everybody must come face-to-face with their greatest fear, their worst enemy, or their gravest responsibility. Turning your back to it won’t make it magically disappear. Don’t believe me? Try it right now. Turn your back to your abusive wife, your mountain of unopened bills, your chronic illness. There’s no need to turn back around to assess the situation. She’s still there; they’re still there; it’s still there. It’s like the Little Kid and the Boogey Man Syndrome. You hide under the covers so the Boogey Man can’t get you, but the Boogey Man only disappears temporarily while you’re under the blanket, but his presence lurks in the shadows. You know and I know he’s still there waiting on you to turn down the covers and face him.
Everybody knows somebody whose grown up Boogey Man Protection Blanket is really a cloak of cliches that they wear every season. It never seems too heavy or too light. It matches everything they wear, and though it doesn’t look good to others, it remarkably looks and feels good to them. I’m hanging in there. I’m holding onto God’s unchanging hand. Girl, I’m going through it. These are the cliches that keep this cloak intact. Those are merely the threads, however, that tie together the pelts of old R&B lyrics: I can do bad by myself, If loving you is wrong, I don’t want to be right, or can we slip away? Heaps of dysfunctional thinking tied together with ironclad lip service, and you’re wearing this messterpiece year round.
At some point, you’ll get tired of carrying the weight of all those run on sentences, all those cursory comments, all those lies. Even you don’t believe them anymore, but you utter them again and again — the script you learned from your mother and her mother — from your father and his father. Is today the day that you face those trials of many kinds, or will you continue to wear your favorite Cloak of Cliches passed down from generation to generation?
Join me tomorrow for my Music Monday post. It’s time to shed that cumbersome outer garment. It ain’t even cold yet, Boo.