When You Just Need Someone To Know: A Lenten Reflection on Ps. 5:1-2

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Psalm 5 – 3/15/17

This morning I’m finding that a couple verses in particular of this psalm are speaking to me:

“Give ear to my words, O Lord;

give heed to my sighing.

Listen to the sound of my cry,

my King and my God,

for to you I pray.

(Psalm 5:1-2)

And what they are speaking to me about is using God as a witness to our sighing, to our crying, to our pain.

In my ongoing experience with chronic fatigue (“ongoing” = going on 3 ½ years now), there have been plenty of times when I’ve needed to vent about some aspect of it.  Sometimes my husband has been the “lucky one” to whom I’ve vented; sometimes, it’s been a close friend; sometimes, it’s been one of my parents or my sister or brother.  And all of them have been good listeners, acknowledging my frustrations, validating my struggle, and hearing my pain.  This experience would definitely have been much more difficult without these kind and loving people “in my corner,” and I remain deeply grateful for each of them!

As compassionate as they are, though, and as well as they know me, none of them can really know what it’s like to live my life, day in and day out.  As well-intentioned as they are, and as much as they might genuinely try to imagine what it’s like, none of them can really understand my day-to-day, moment-to-moment reality.  And it’s not because they don’t want to, nor because they don’t care enough–they simply can’t, just as I cannot fully know or understand their, or anyone else’s, reality.

In addition, I recognize that repeatedly hearing my complaints and frustrations–which have largely remained the same over the past three and a half years, with some variation in degree and frequency–at best has to be a little bit of a drag, and at worst, may very well cause some feelings of frustration and hopelessness in the listener!  It can be hard to keep hearing about a loved one’s difficulties, especially when there’s nothing you can do to fix the situation; being continually exposed to someone else’s pain, especially when there’s nothing that can be done to change it for the better, can be exhausting.  I don’t want bring my friends and family down.  Not too often, anyway!

So what do I do with the frustration I occasionally feel at needing to take a nap every day?  How do I cope with the tiresomeness of continually not having the energy to make it through a busy few days–without allowing “recovery time” (i.e., time for extra-long naps!) in the days that follow?  With whom can I share the heartache I sometimes feel at simply not having the energy for my husband and kids that I used to have? not having the energy that sometimes they need me to have? not having the energy that I’d like to have?? 

As I said, there are times when I do share that, when I take advantage of a loved one’s listening ear and vent.

But there are other times when I don’t want to be a drag to my friends, when I don’t want to cause my family undue concern or frustration, when I don’t want to be “Debbie Downer” when there are so many other/bigger/worse problems in the world….

And yet sometimes, in those “other times,” I still need someone to know.

Sometimes, I just need someone to know that I’m feeling like, “This really sucks!” or “I’m really getting tired of this…” or “I wish I could just get through the weekend without taking a nap…and without suffering the consequences of not taking a nap!”  

Sometimes, I just need to someone to know how deeply worn out I’m feeling…but without making anyone feel bad, without generating either sympathy or pity–even though I know it’s the nature of caring, compassionate people like my friends and family to feel sympathy for someone who’s hurting and to feel bad when a loved one is somehow struggling.

Sometimes, I just need someone to be a witness….

Here, for me, is where the beauty of Psalm 5:1-2 comes into play….

“Give ear to my words, O Lord;

give heed to my sighing.

Listen to the sound of my cry,

my King and my God,

for to you I pray.

(Psalm 5:1-2)

God can be a witness.

God can be my someone.

God can “give ear to my words” and “heed to my sighing,” and can “listen to the sound of my cry” when I don’t want to burden anyone else with it….

           …because God already knows.

God knows fully what I am going through.

God understands profoundly the reality in which I live, day by day.

And God walks unflinchingly with me through it all–the flashes of frustration, the moments of acceptance, the outbursts of irritation, the expressions of patience, the feelings of heartache, the overflowing of gratitude….

I am eternally grateful to my family and friends, for the support they’ve provided–and continue to provide–in so many ways during this season of my life.

Yet there remain moments, pieces of this experience, in which they cannot, or don’t need to, share.  And yet, sometimes, ironically, I still need to share them!  Sometimes, in those moments, I just need to know I’m not alone, that someone knows what I’m going through.

And so in those moments, I will try to call to mind Psalm 5: 1-2, and I will try to pray, as David did:

“Give ear to my words, O Lord;

give heed to my sighing.

Listen to the sound of my cry,

my King and my God,

for to you I pray.

(Psalm 5:1-2)

…and I will try to remember that I am not alone, that Someone does know, that God is my witness.

Amen.

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