“I thought that for me he would surely come out, and stand and call on the name of the Lord his God, and would wave his hand over the spot, and cure the leprosy.”. 2 Kings 5:11 (NSRV)

 

These words were spoken by Naaman, the foreign general in need of the services of Elisha, the Hebrew prophet, to heal his disease. Knowing Elisha’s reputation, Naaman had expected a different kind of cure. Elisha had asked him to go and dip seven times in the muddy Jordan River. Just as Elisha instructed Naaman, the Lord, too, has asked me, as it were, to dip myself in the muddy Jordan not just seven times, but seven days a week.

 

In order to function, I am required to follow a daily ritual of checking off on sheets of paper all of my regular and special routines and chores. On some days, like today, I look for a quick fix, a wave of God’s hand over me, to make everything flow naturally and spontaneously. But that is not the case. Due to the severe nature of my chemical imbalance, I need a great deal of what my psychiatrist calls “structure” in my life.

 

Every day I clean up the kitchen and scour the sink. That is on the list along with brushing my teeth and using my dental floss. I started out with a short list of chores that needed to be repeated every day. Eventually I put the list in my computer where I am able to make changes such as switching my shower from night time to in the morning.

 

I have mixed feelings about my lists. Most days I do not feel like doing everything on them, but my goal is to complete each one. If I let down on one item, then another chore is soon to go too. I long to want to do all of these things for the sheer joy of them, but that is not to be. I never wake up in the morning ready to take on life spontaneously. Most days I have to force myself to go ahead even when I do not feel like it. And do I feel satisfied at the end of the day? Do I sleep better for having gotten everything checked off on the list? Sometimes, but not often. I carry on because Christ has asked me to take up my cross daily and follow him. A cross means it’s not easy.

 

Prayer: “Dear God, help me not to complain about the drudgery in my life. I know that it is my mania that wants everything to be excited and glorious. On the other hand, when I do fail to take up my load on a particular day. Help me to get back into my routine easily later that same day or the next. Amen.

 

-John Lashbrook