When I was ten we bought a Christmas tree from the firehouse lot. It was an immense thing because we had a cathedral ceiling in our living room and grand things made us feel grand. My father wrestled that tree from the roof of our station wagon and into the house. It was so tall though, that even though the bottom was bolted into the stand, it began to tip and then fall over altogether, ornaments and lights going everywhere. My dad laughed, my mom shook her head, and my older brother talked about something called Murphy's Law, and then all three pulled twine around the tree's upper branches and nailed it to the wall.
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"If something can go wrong, it will go wrong," is not the sort of mantra I want to adopt on any day of my life, but there are some days. Some days, you know?
Some days when you wake in the middle of a deep REM cycle, jolted by the sound of your 4:30am alarm. Some days when you drop the toothpaste four times in a row and your contact lenses are irritated. Some days when you're already late and you hit the school zone exactly as the lights start blinking and the traffic slows to 20mph. Days when you drop your debit card out of your car window at the ATM and when the barista gets both your name and your drink wrong. Days when all three printers your computer is connected to at the office won't print content and time sensitive documents. Days when your browser crashes multiple times within the first 20 minutes of work. And it's only noon. And I didn't even list everything that's grating on my last nerve today, because, trust me, there's much more.
I don't know about you, but I find it difficult to pray or think or even resemble a Christian on days like these, when everything that can go wrong (even if it's going right on time—like blinking lights in the school zone), will go wrong. I want to snap at everything and everyone who doesn't understand the urgency of just one thing going my way. Just one thing. My way.
I also don't know about you, but the last thing I want to do today is find some sort of comfort in a Psalm about peace or a Proverb about perseverance.
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Today is the sort of day I'm painfully, awfully aware of my sin and the sin of everyone around me. I'm aware that baristas are busy and drivers without constraints are dangerous, printers are prone to malfunction and my frustration with the world at large begins with frustration at myself. Today is the sort of day I remember: oh, it will go wrong, it will go horribly wrong, from the moment I wake until the moment I sleep, but that is only a physical reality of a spiritual truth.
The Genesis curse swooped in on perfect days, idyllic pleasure, quiet ambling, and sweet romance. It swooped in and wrecked a whole lot of things, and January 16, 2013 is one of those things. I keep hoping my day will go better, but it might not, and it will be okay. It will be okay because there is a better day ahead, a final day, a full feast of what is only good and never wrong.
If you're having a bad day today too, let me just encourage you with the reality that you might not have anything pretty or perfect, smooth or safe today at all. But, if you're a child of God, you do have a better day ahead. He promises you that.
"But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. For we have come to share in Christ..." Hebrews 3:13-14a