This weekend, my infant daughter hit her head incredibly hard. It was a fall, and she was unresponsive for twenty minutes or so afterwards. By the grace of the Beloved, she is now recovered from that unholy terror.
We all went to the emergency room, where my young son picked up a virus that causes diarrhea and vomiting. The bug spread to the rest of us. The stomach virus, cramps and all, is a perfect representation of the virus of inadequacy.
As I learned with my son when he had a seizure, we are utterly inadequate as parents. You and I will never be able to completely defend against violence and trauma. We simply cannot defend our children to the full; we must rely on the Beloved. It is His wisdom and grace, not ours, that is our foundation and bedrock.
We are also utterly inadequate in whatever other ideals we may set up for ourselves. We are completely insufficient workers, contractors, and business people. We cannot help but fail at times as husbands and wives, as men and women, as citizens of our countries and the world. These forms of mind and body we inhabit are simply and completely not up to snuff.
These ideals, the inadequacy, and the fear of inadequacy that so easily reduces us to immobility are all a contagion. Look at your neighbor, your friend, and your spouse – see how, when they are filled with contempt for themselves, they are filled with contempt and bitterness for everyone else. You and I are no different. Self-contempt is communicable, we plant it in one another through outward contempt.
The darkness is not conquered by acquiring, becoming, and reinforcing. Positive thoughts are not enough, a dedicated work ethic is not enough, and no role-based action we take is enough to cure the virus of inadequacy. The virus feeds on false ideals – the perfect husband and wife, the perfect father and mother, the perfect provider and protector. So long as we keep the false ideals on our inner altars, the virus of inadequacy will churn our stomachs.
So, gently lay down your false ideals. Do not let the sarcasm or rejection of others feed the illness. Out of any injury, you can acquire a lingering sickness. But you do not need to. You can simply let the Beloved be your physician, because your truth is that of the Witness and Child of God. In that illuminated view, questions of adequacy do not bear. You were created and are loved, and you cannot fail to be that which was eternally created. The only ideal you need is that of someone always doing his or her best. Everything else is just the angry whispering of the infected.
Reaching across the aisle, you cannot grasp the hand of the Beloved by yourself. But He reaches, always, inevitably, beautifully across and grasps your hand, meeting you just where you fell short. Perhaps our families, relationships, bodies, homes, and businesses will not live up to the worldly ideals, but the fear of that is just the virus of inadequacy. Letting the Holy Physician stand by us by remaining in constancy and faith, we are cured. We are freed, amazingly.
Glory be to the Beloved who makes all things possible.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.