Day of My Psalm

Pallid face, black circles under eyes; I knew this was the beginning it was just a matter of time.  Not now. Not during holiday preparations.  Not before our company arrives. Nothing could chase away the aches, the chilling fever, cough that wrung through the body like a washerwoman twisting the last drop of water from clothes. It is all too familiar.  The phone calls to cancel plans, disappointment in small faces as you whisper no through pained tears. These are the tears that I tried to hide now leaking. “Sorry dear one,” my voice trails, “there will be another time, another chance..” Meanwhile the heart’s ache goes deeper.  How much longer am I required to play the weak role? The one who always falls ill and is less than better? The one who cannot for all her trying pull her house together before collapsing again gasping for air? I am that one, the girl fighting everyday of her life to be strong and not weak.  Funny how tears and fever’s chills and moans of the heart have a way of taking you back to your roots, the beginning where it all started.  On early mornings over warm bowls of porridge, when toes were too short to reach the ground and pig tails were the style, along with my five other brothers and sisters we were fed readings of Psalms.  An everyday liturgy for the soul for without daily filling a body can whither hard and bitter. I know how quickly the lie seeps in. I am strong enough, I know what I need, I can do enough to impress, I am the one everyone can depend on. I have lived this long enough. Through years of braces and boyfriends, music classes and college jobs, over marriage vows and swollen bellies, birthing babies and raising toddlers. One never grows up thinking that before the hair is gray you will suffer, be made weak, realize that you aren’t all this.  I glance over at the date. It’s the 23rd. The day of my Psalm, the psalm that has kept me together and followed me into ER’s and birthing rooms and into those frazzled parenting moments when one is sure to lose your mind forever.  It has sat with me as I comforted a little one in the middle of the night and given hope when there was no hope left.  The lips spill the truth “the Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.” I breathe a sigh of relief.  My shepherd is here.  Here in the disappointment, in the tears and with the frail body that cannot live up to the expectations abounding.  He is here to lead me by still waters and restore my soul. There is comfort in knowing that you are being held, that the shadows of life will not bring fear but Love that pursues you all the days of your life.  I recall the words with whispers, words that have carried me from childhood that have become my identity.  I am simply a sheep, a sheep that wanders away into scary places, who fears more than trusts, who longs to be known and yet forgets that my Shepherd knows me far better than anyone else I run to.  He is made strong when I am weak.  I grasp the covers and sink deeper into my pillow content for the moment to trust and not fear.
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