Romanian Grace

The dragon sits by the side of the road, watching those who pass. Beware lest he devour you. We go to the Father of Souls, but it is necessary to pass by the dragon. -- St. Cyril of Jerusalem

14 February, 2007


I think in my last blog I promised to follow up with another. I may have even written the word, "tomorrow." Sorry. I know internet never crashes in the US of A, but here it does not always work when I want it to. So it goes.

A friend of mine describes her daughter as a ping pong ball. I would describe myself the last couple of weeks as a dry-rotted basketball. At my house growing up, we never had an inflated basketball. I would toss it up, and it might sit on the rim in a sag or dully thud off the backboard and splat on the asphalt (that claimed pounds of skin off my knees and elbows during the course of my childhood). You get the idea. So I had hit a flat spell and stayed in it for a while. The problem with those is, I know the remedy, but part of the disease is a strong distaste for the remedy. The longer, then, one goes sans cure, the less appealing the cure seems day by day.

Of course, what I am talking about is what I have learned from frequent experience: One day I find myself depressed or of a sudden overtaken by some spiritual malaise (which, fear not, is NOT a sandwich spread), and I know for a fact that God, in Hs word, has something quite good to say to me. Something that will surely cheer me up. And I don't mean in some bubbly Valentine's e-greeting way, either. God gives us real promises in His word; who cannot smile, even in the midst of gloom, when he hears from his Father, "Looking at you right now makes me happy." As near as I can tell, though, that's basically what God thinks about me every day.

I was in a choir when I was a kid, yes, a boys' choir, and we sang this song that has somehow stayed in my head for the last seventeen years or so. It is taken, I think, from an array of similar scriptures:

"And the Father will dance over you in song! He will take delight in whom he loves. Put on the garment of praise as on a festival day and let the Lord God himself rejoice over you in song."

Now, when I'm a dry-rotted slump of faded LA Lakers deflated rubber ball, I would really like to believe that song (and those scriptures). But I don't. I will hear nothing of it. It is a strange phenomenon I can't explain, but perhaps someone can sometime. I just identify its existence. What happens, though, is that one I reject one of God's beautiful promises once, preferring deflation and self-defeat to the beautiful truth of sonhood, I start to feel like a real schmuck, which makes me even less excited about thinking I am worth God's time on the dance floor.

All of this is, of course, just context. What I really want to talk about is yesterday. The day I said I was going to write again. I would like to say that yesterday was good because something miraculous happened (I mean more than my approximately 86,400 does it do that?), but it wasn't. It was just a good day. But the point is that I don't think it would have seemed such a good day, such a gift, if I had not had a fair run of blah-bad days before it. If anything I knew I didn't deserve the good one, but there it was. Without gorging myself and boring my readers with a lot of details, I spoke lots of Romanian, understood more than usual, got into a fairly deep conversation about saving, budgeting, loud music, discotec, and beer with a fifteen year old Romanian kid who keeps showing up at the most inconvenient times; I got to teach irregular past tense verb forms to some fourth graders...and they got it (yeah, yeah, it doesn't sound that big, but hey...we take what we can get); I ran into some kids I know from Paishpe, the very poor block next to mine, and they asked when we are going to go on a hike I think we might be doing that, which I think means those relationships are starting to build; I carried on a conversation with a Romanian woman whose son I teach once a week (one of the irregular verb kids)...stuff like that. You can tell that I get pretty discouraged bout language over here, so it is nice to have a day when I don't feel like I have an IQ of 6.

What I would really like to see happen, the miracle I would like to see, is for it not to take a "good day" to get me out of a funk. What if God's word were enough? And, what if I didn't have to make such a big deal about the "good days" because every day seems good since I have a loving Father who has promised, among many other things, not to leave or forsake me, but to be with me always, even to the end of all my bad days.


At 16/2/07 16:28, Blogger b. smith wallace said...

I like the word malaise. I also really like the word ennui.


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