Yesterday Maria (our second daughter and mother of four) asked for my help and I hesitated. She has been sick with the flu or something. Doris went to help on her usual day and another one this week, and Maria's husband, Matt, took a day off work to help. But she was sort of stuck with today. Doris is with Jacob (our son's, son) all day and thus is not available and so she asked if I could come up and take Rian and Lukas out a bit while Logan sleeps so she could get some rest--and I hesitated.
Actually it was worse. Initially, when Doris asked me, I gave a flat "no." But when Maria asked me directly, I did not say "no" but I did hesitate before saying I would help, and in that hesitation I saw a dark spot in my heart, and I hate myself for it. She heard the hesitation and thus Matt decided to take another day off from work to be at home. No doubt this is a better option anyway in that he will be able to take care of Logan and the others, and will be there all day, which will be better for Maria.
But I still feel bad that I hesitated in the first place. Why? I have been probing my heart as to why ever since. All I can say is that there remains in me a selfish darkness that has yet to be fully redeemed. I had my day planned. I was irritated at some other contributing factors to this situation. I felt it as an intrusion into my life. And in the moment, I hesitated. So what, it was my daughter asking and it was time with some of my grandkids. Dumb. I can be so dumb. Hesitating went against everything I want to be; it violated my heart and left me feeling unclean; it was a sin.
Being on sabbatical made this worse, and it gave me a clearer picture of this selfish place in my heart. If I would have been asked to give up some commitment of time to something else, other than time I had planned for stuff I wanted to do (albeit it "spiritual stuff"), I would not have hesitated. But this was an intrusion into my time; into time given me by the church so that I can work on my issues; and my hesitation showed that life is still too much about me. I hate seeing that and I hate that it is true, but it is.
I have just been reading Fee's exegesis of 1 Corinthians 2:6 through 3:2 wherein he delineates the difference between pneumatikos (spiritual), psuchikos (natural) and sarkinos (fleshly). My response was so very sarkinos, of the flesh, and I so very much want to always be pneunatikos, spiritual. But alas, the psuchikos, the natural man, raises his ugly head and drives me again, back to the grace of God.
So now I have my day back, since Matt is home with the kids, and it just does not feel right. I have made my apologies to Maria and since she knows I love her and the kids, things will be Ok. But there is still this heart thing that I need to contend with, and so in my solitude, I fight my demons. But, not in my own strength.
Henri Nouwen once said ""My whole life I have been complaining that my work was constantly interrupted, until I discovered the interruptions were my work." He is such a wise man.