In “Letters to a Young Poet“, the author deals with the subject of weakness, difficulty and trouble. As a person who struggles with depression on a substantial scale and yet can try to speak the Word of God to his brothers this is remarkably good news.
“Do not believe that he who seeks to comfort you lives untroubled among the simple and quiet words that sometimes do you good.
His life has much difficulty and remains far behind yours. Were it not otherwise he would never been able to find these words.”
*-Rainer Maria Rilke
@Inevitably, as Christians we find ourselves helping other disabled people that have somehow worked themselves into our lives. The irony is that our illness has taught us something, but somehow we don’t communicate well. Inevitably, we miss the point and speak even more confusion into their hearts. That is frustrating.
When we are finally work up the courage to speak, we seem to only deliver pious platitudes and inane ‘babblings.’ We know we can help them, but alas, we can’t do it. This is when we must meet the Holy Spirit first. Hearing Him will guide us and direct us. We will be able to speak something, that will really mean something.
We so want to be mature and wise. We want to be in a position of strength. We aspire to that. But the truth is, life doesn’t work that way. We are always sabotaged by our weakness. We discover that we have no place to go.
I believe life is constructed so that we’ll learn the reality of desperately humble prayer.
A child plays with two colors of “Play-Doh”. After a while separating them is no longer possible. The colors blend and become a completely different color. As simple believers in Jesus this “mixing” can cause despair and frustration. We must live with the realities of being seriously weak and unconditionally loved, simultaneously. We must blend the two.
St. Paul would come to the conclusion that he “would boast in his weaknesses, that the power of God would be revealed in his life”. It seems to us that “boasting” is a bit of exaggeration or hyperbole. And “weaknesses”, are those terrible flaws that need to be painted over or ignored. But we can’t seem to see them as the starting point of the spiritual life. (Oh God, please teach us to boast in our flaws, to let You use our weaknesses.)
Strength comes in a frustratingly weird way. It’s the very opposite of our heart’s inclination. Admitting that I am weak is my starting point. I suppose you might say that as a physically and mentally ill person, I may have a step on the average person. I can be strong because I am so pathetic. I can speak something that may bring life and hope to someone else.
But I am distinctively flawed, and I can’t pretend that I am otherwise. I now have the liberty to speak without pretense to my wounded brothers and sisters. But let us have no foolish talk that I’ve been able to fix myself somehow. That is not going to happen.