It goes something like this: “you can do anything you put your mind to”. There are various corollaries, but that’s the one I’ve heard come out of my own mouth.
Lies. All lies.
The fact is, there are limits to everything – to the mind, to the body, to the endurance even of the soul. If these words were uttered in a complete vacuum, without any possible interference (poverty, physical disability, etc.) they would still be untrue.
Calvin might link this to our general state of depravity. I don’t think he’s far off, at all. Part of what is wrong is our danged human-ness, and that fact that we are not gods. We have limitations.
I’ve met some of mine this past week, enduring week one of my Comprehensive Exams. It wasn’t even a matter of willing my self to work more… I had reached a mental breaking point that I don’t think I’ve ever experienced before. I hit the wall. There was one point where I pulled into Starbucks and sat in the parking lot and wept.
Now, you may nod sagely and remind me that I got through it. *They* didn’t lie, you might say. I had proven their truth. But the fact of the matter is that *I* didn’t get through last week. At least, *I* didn’t get through it alone. I had a whole lot of help.
See, part of the lie embedded in the whole “you can do anything….” thing is that it has an underlying current (see what I did there?) that states that you accomplish anything *alone*. In my experience? That’s a boldfaced lie.
This past week I had help from friends, cohort-mates, colleagues, members of my church, faceless friends of facebook fame, family, my rabbit (hush!), but especially my spouse and the One who spun the stars of the universe and knows the hairs on my head.
Today we remember a march on Washington that emphasized that same fact. We do NOT do this alone… nor can we, nor (as my faith informs me) should we. The song, my friends, is not I shall overcome. No one individual will be able to solve the problem that is Syria, the situation between Israel and Palestine, Climate change, the hunger in our streets or the injustice in our courtrooms. This is on all of us. Who we vote for, what products we buy, what we do within our own space to bring peace and justice… this is about US.
This week is a different week. The Comp exam questions loom before me, as does Sunday morning when I am back to work as usual. The weeks ahead seem overwhelming, and I may falter or fail. However, I know there are so many who are there to pick me up, put me back on my feet and push me back into the right direction.
It’s a helluva lot of work, but I’m grateful.