The journey is too much for you

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“Get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you.”

I’ve been thinking a lot about the story where Elijah runs away, gives up on life, takes a nap and is then woken up by the Angel of the Lord, told to eat, falls back asleep, woken up again and told to eat again because the journey that’s coming will be too much for him.

“The journey is too much for you.”

Take a deep breath and read that again.

“The journey is too much for you.”

Since all of this isolation/quarantine started happening, I have found new mercies every morning. I have found joy in the little things. Friends have left gifts, supplies and even treats on my balcony, and it’s been so fun to see their faces even from far away. Also, I am now going by Juliet, as I stand on my balcony every day – O Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo? (just kidding, very tragic story)

Yet this whole weekend, even as I remembered the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus, I couldn’t stop thinking about the story of Elijah.

“The journey is too much for you.”

Y’all, this journey is long and it is in fact too much for me. Between each life that’s lost, I think of their stories, their families, what made them laugh and weep or both at the same time. I think of all the people who are still working taking care of others –  in hospitals and nursing homes and grocery stores, I think of the undocumented immigrants that are suddenly essential workers, I think of the social workers who are quietly but firmly still showing up, I think of the parents that are trying to hold it together while loving and caring for their babies, I think of my single friends who would love to have someone to come home to after a long day at work, and I think of you – because even today you chose to live, and sometimes that is enough and the bravest thing you could do.

Elijah’s journey was long! It was 40 days and 40 nights. He walked by himself, and when he finally arrived to his destination he found a cave where he slept alone. He even tells God that he is the only prophet left because they’ve killed everyone else, and to be honest, I could see why he would think that. We were created to be in community, and when we spend way too much time by ourselves or in our head, it sure does seem like we are the only ones left.

But I so love what God does for Elijah in this moment. He tells him to find a couple of guys who also get to play in this story. To get there Elijah has to go back through the wilderness, but isn’t it so hopeful that wherever he is going he now knows he’s not alone?

I know right now the way to love one another is to not be with one another, but just because the wilderness is between us, that doesn’t mean that we are not together and rooting for each other!

And maybe like Elijah, we do not see the thousands, but maybe we get to do life with one or two people. Maybe we get to check in on a few friends. Maybe we get to send an encouraging note to an old friend, or buy someone’s lunch, or call that one friend or family member whom you miss but pride got in the way.

We have been forced to slow down, to face our mortality, to feel the heaviness of the road we did not want, and so I think of Jesus on his way to Golgotha. Carrying the weight of a wooden cross, knowing death was at the top of the hill, yet he walked the heavy road with strangers helping him along the way. The journey was too much for him too, so much so, it cost him his life.

But the story doesn’t end there. We don’t end here. We will grieve, and we will cry, and we will lose hours of sleep, we will feel like we are alone, it will feel like the silent day between death and resurrection, but we will make it friends. Silent Saturday is the prelude for Resurrection Sunday, because death doesn’t have the final word.

So yes, this journey is too much! But we get to do it together. And maybe you’re like Elijah, who needs a nap and a snack, but check with your heart today – what do you need? Somedays I need to move all day, but some days I need to rest. Some days I walk for hours, and some days I do light yoga, but every day I wake up, and every day I get to check in on a friend, and suddenly, I’m not alone.

Resurrection is on the way.

 

 

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