Whew. I'm spent. I feel like I've battled all day. I have, actually. More on that in a bit.
A lot going on in my head and heart today.
Today is the celebration of All Saints' Day in the Catholic Church: http://www.wf-f.org/AllSaints.html. So in my devotion time this morning, I ran across this statement......"The saints are true realists; they take seriously the hopelessness of man as it is and do not seek a refuge from the present in the future. They get on with the job in spite of everything and hope against hope."
What does the author mean by "a refuge from the present in the future?" When I think of the future as a refuge, I think of the hope of heaven. But the way this author is using it, he seems to be saying that it is not a good thing to take refuge in the future....so he can't be talking about heaven. Any ideas? I guess the gist of what he is trying to say is that the saints were present with people in their difficulties, in the moment of their difficulties.
That "in the moment" theme again. My theme for 2007. And and probably for 2008.
Now for the battle. I've struggled with self all day today. But it didn't feel like the usual struggles. It felt like a continuous unrelenting onslaught all day long, where I needed to consciously throughout the day forcefully change the direction and content of my thoughts. They came unsolicited, and I fought them off, some more quickly than others. Arrrggh.
Are there ever days where you feel you are a focused target of the enemy? Where it feels like his mission for that day is to throw so many things your way that at times it almost seems easier to give in than to keep fighting? That was my day. And of course when that happens, you hear his voice saying things like, "See? You are sinful. Why even bother trying?" and "Just give up. You know I'm going to win in the end."
So then you add in the fight against the deceitful messages on top of the rest of the battle and sometimes it makes one just want to retreat.
With that in the background, I made a hospice visit at the end of the day. This particular woman is declining. I would be surprised if she was still living in a couple of weeks. And she is a dear. I feel like I've made a friend in the few short weeks I've been visiting her. Today she slept through most of my visit so I talked with her family.
I grabbed her hand to wake her to tell her I was leaving. Her eyes flew wide open, she grabbed my hand in a death grip and said, "You can't leave me." Now she has been feisty and known to have a sense of humor, so to lighten what I saw in her face to be a very serious statement, I asked with a smile, "You want me to stay with you ALL of the time?" And still very serious, she responded, "yes, I do."
Well I told her I couldn't do that.....not that I didn't WANT to (genuinely). I said even though I couldn't stay with her physically through the weekend, I told her I would be with her constantly through my prayers. I asked her what she wanted me to pray for. "That it be over soon."
With assurances looking intently into her brown eyes that I would be back on Monday, I pryed her hands from mine finally and walked out the door.
And I cried. Sad to be losing a new friend so soon. Sad for her struggles and uncertainties. Sad that I couldn't just move in with her for the weekend.
I found a quiet spot to park and pray for her. And I was infuriated that the enemy had not called a cease-fire and continued to assault me--during my prayers! And then the messages came like "You can't even focus to pray for this dying woman." I finished my prayers, albeit exhausted.
Hopefully tomorrow I will be stronger in battle.