This is not a make-up tutorial. But it is a reflection on how I’m making it through.
This morning, I made the bold decision to put on make-up. It’s an investment of time—but not too much time, really—in the hectic schedule of the morning. And I’ve become a devout believer—perhaps thanks (?) to life in a pandemic—that people don’t need make-up. We’re beautiful as we are, and we don’t need cosmetics to cover us up and/or make us better. But this morning, it was a deliberate choice for me. It was my choice . . . to care. To give a you-know-what about something. To care about details. To care about myself (supposedly, the make-up I use is healthy and natural and nourishing and all those good things). So I pulled out the multitude of little jars of powder and all the accompanying brushes that claim to achieve their various tasks, and I methodically and deliberately applied it to my face. With as much concentration and devotion as I might handle prayer beads, I tap-tap-tapped the powder into the jar lids, swirled the brushes in my flesh-colored dust, and pressed the powdery brushes onto my skin. And then, as a final, joyfully defiant flourish, I applied mascara to my eye lashes. And even put on earrings, too!
I did this little ritual, because life is hard. There are so many good things happening in my life, but there are some painfully important elements that are missing, too. Admittedly, I’m not experiencing life in all its fullness right now. One loved one is deeply hurting physically and emotionally right now. Another loved one just suffered a brain aneurism and stroke yesterday. Disease and division, hate and fear, and twisted realities hover all around me—around all of us—right now. And, honestly, even though I’m a pastor and supposed to have all of my stuff together so I can take care of other people—sometimes, all of those awful things in our world feel like they’re about to do me in. My heart hurts. My soul aches. And I, in comparison with many in our country and in our world, actually have it pretty good and privileged. . . .
A very dear and faithful friend sent my husband a message recently with the words, “Jesus, I trust you.” And he and I both are trying to take that to heart. But last night, in my mind and heart’s space, I cried out, “God, I don’t trust you!” This morning, over our coffee-time reflections, I shared that with my husband. I admitted, “I’ve either come to a point where I don’t trust God any more. Or maybe that was my confession that I haven’t been trusting God—but want to.” He said, “I believe it’s the latter.”
So I’m falling back on stuff I learned years ago in divinity school. Spiritual disciplines. We call them disciplines, because we do them, even when we don’t feel them. I’m choosing to pray today. To be intentional about even a few moments of personal quietude and listening to a Spirit greater than I. I will find some words that someone else has written to guide me in prayers. Because I just can’t do it myself today.