So Damn Tired

I’ve had a tough day. It started with my church continuing to make (what I think are) poor choices regarding the pandemic.

But really it started before today: with the knowledge of not being able to see my son over Christmas and not being able to share Christmas with my parents in person for the first time in my life. This is a culmination of a lot of people making poor choices.

It was also a culmination of feelings of hopelessness brought about from people sharing stupid ideas on social media.

It concluded with news that Jade, a young woman I know, has experienced two strokes in rapid succession and is not expected to survive. She leaves three young children. She is the daughter of a Pastor of small church with which I used to be heavily involved.

I had another post nearing completion. It will wait for another day.

Right now I just need to put my head down and hope for a better day tomorrow.

60 thoughts on “So Damn Tired

  1. Also… my part of PA is being hit very hard by COVIS.

    The local funeral directors are overwhelmed. Multiple daily burials, etc. Most, though by no means all, of those who have died were elderly. But some weren’t – the people who seem like they’re too young to suffer more than flu-like symptoms. People with full, active lives.

    And before it gets better, it will get a whole lot worse, i fear.

    Lord, have mercy.
    Christ , have mercy
    Lord, have mercy

    Help, save, pity and defend us [I’ve forgotten the end of the line here].


  2. Thank you, Robert.

    Dementia took my mother long before she got COVID. It’s a relief to know that it isn’t anything she or i (with her) have to deal with anymore.

    Since i do believe that she made a transdimensional shift, into the World to Come, i also believe that she, herself, has never been better, and that she’s reunited with so many people that she’d lost and so deeply longed to be with again. My dad, my lovely grandparents, my late brother… and so many more. She outived her own generation, and would have turned 97 this coming year.

    Of course i miss her, but I’ve been missing her for a long time now.

    My hope is that we will be together again one day – not that i wish to hasten it. But, like her, my list of those who have left the planet gets longer all the time.

    So… please continue to pray for me. There are affairs to be settled, some soon, some further down the road. It’ll keep me busy, which is no bad thing, although I’m glad to be free of them ATM. She went ahead and made all of the plans for her burial not long after my dad died, so that we wouldn’t have to be burdened with that. And it’s all prepaid.


  3. Daniel – thanks so much for asking.

    About how you’d expect, i guess. Imwish my family members weren’t scattered all over the country, and I’m kind of marooned in this specific locale, for a while at least.

    But there are a few family friends around, and several who will probably be coming to the brief graveside service for my mom.

    In some ways, I’m relieved. COVID was what caused her death, but dementia is what really took my mom’s life. And that was so, so hard – it always isl

    So is dying. So is sitting with the dying.

    I’m much better than i was on Sunday, in the immediate aftermath. Exhausted, but i realize that’s normal. I’ll be relieved to end quarantine (whenever) and just get things finished on my mom’s behalf. That’s the only thing I can still do for her.

    Then i have to figure out a bunch of things about my own life, but not right away. I know it’s recommended to avoid making drastic changes soon after such a death, and I’m stunned as far as even understanding what it means to no longer have some responsibilities on my mom’s behalf – also, much harder, that for the rest of my earthly life, i am no longer anyone’s daughter.

    Prayers deeply appreciated, as always.


  4. My condolences to you, numo. May your mother RIP. I will continue to pray for you in your grief, and also that you would undergo the quarantine period safely.


  5. Oh , Dana, I’m so sorry to hear your news.

    Am not much of a pray-er these days, but consider it done, on your behalf and that of others.


  6. Life is relentless.

    My elderly mom tested positive for COVID on Thanksgiving.

    She died late Saturday evening.

    Given circumstances and the disease itself, she didn’t suffer the horrendous respiratory symptoms so many people have, and i got to spend t8me at her bedside 9n Saturday afternoon, for which I’m very grateful.

    Still, my mom just died. I’m having to quarantine, so there will be a delay per the graveside service and burial.

    Life is relentless, especially for all who are grieving. That’s a whole massive lot of people right now, and by 2 weeks from now, it will be far too many more.

    Life is relentless.


  7. Sorry to take so long to get back to you folks.

    First, thanks to all for praying for both my mom and i.

    She died late Saturday evening. I was able to spend time with her at her bedside earlier in the day, in full PPE. I am so grateful to have been able to do what far too many people have not. Though it was obvious that she was very cl9se to death, i believe she knew i was there, on some level.

    It’s hwrd – very hard -; to see people we love in such a condition. I’d have been very freaked out if I’d never been around people at that stage of dying. But I have… and in my mom’s case, there wasn’t any apparent suffering. She died soon after it was confirmed that she had it, without the terrible respiratory symptoms so many have experienced.

    I’m quarantining now, so burial will have to wait a bit. While imreally don’t like that, i don’t think there’s any way around it.

    I’m doing OK, considering, but am really tired, as you can imagine. So a lull isn’t a bad thing right now.


  8. And you’d be in excellent company. Job, many of the prophets and at least half the psalmists did the same.


  9. I like what I’ve heard of him. He’s definitely not a name to conjure with in orthodox Reformed circles, though.


  10. From Jade’s parents via Facebook 7 hours ago:

    Today, At 9:15 a.m., Julius confirmed his lovely wife, and our precious daughter, Jade, was called home to be with her Saviour, whom she loved with all her heart. Now, she is with Him forever. Like David said when he lost his baby son, ‘Can I bring him back again? I will go to him, but he will not return to me.’ We say, too, ‘Can I bring Jade back again? We will go to her, but she will not return to us. Take care of her Father. Hug her for us, Jesus.’

    Jade, your Mom and I love you beyond comprehension, as do your sisters, your brother, your brothers-in-law, nieces and nephews, aunties, uncles and Papa; God called you to Tanzania, you finished what He asked you to do, and now He has called you home to His side in heaven. We ache inside. We cry outside. We are heartbroken for Julius, Ezra, Gabriel and Josiah. We promise to take care of them, to love them, and to tell them all about you—and look forward to the day when we can all be together with you and Jesus, in heaven. I am sure your Nana D. is surprised to see you so soon. Tell her we’ll all be home soon…


  11. Barth fixed what was wrong in Calvinism and Reformed theology and tradition, in some places rejecting the conclusions of Calvin and Augustine, among others. Check him out.


  12. Right now, I’m of the mood of demanding an answer from God anyways. Not gonna happen, I know, but I have no intention of not making my gripes clear to Him.


  13. I’ve often thought that I’d gladly trade in my free will if I would become more obedient to God. If I’m going to abuse it, it’s more of a curse than a blessing.


  14. That’s a great insight into what it takes to get through this thing, no matter who wrote it. Those are words born out of the fire.


  15. Well, I certainly enjoy MY free will, as opposed to if I didn’t have any, so I guess that’s part of the answer: free will is/was intended for our benefit.


  16. Every couple of days I feel coronavirus circling closer and closer to our life and household. Learned yesterday that a young woman and her husband who are members of our church, and who have two adorable small children, both tested positive. The mom and daughter had been the cantors at our socially distanced, masked, 50 max attendance in-person service two weeks ago, right before our hybrid in-person/online annual meeting. The kids seem to be doing fine, and the parents have not suffered severe illness at this point; we are hoping the worst is over. This bird of prey is circling. I hope that the church council suspends in person services until at least mid-January; they’ll make a decision Wednesday night.


  17. Nobody has an adequate answer, no matter what theology or philosophy they cling to. There is just the living of it, and the dying; and hoping that we are not ultimately alone in either one.


  18. I SIT and look out upon all the sorrows of the world, and upon all oppression and shame;
    I hear secret convulsive sobs from young men, at anguish with themselves, remorseful after deeds done;
    I see, in low life, the mother misused by her children, dying, neglected, gaunt, desperate;
    I see the wife misused by her husband—I see the treacherous seducer of young women;
    I mark the ranklings of jealousy and unrequited love, attempted to be hid—I see these sights on the earth;
    I see the workings of battle, pestilence, tyranny—I see martyrs and prisoners;
    I observe a famine at sea—I observe the sailors casting lots who shall be kill’d, to preserve the lives of the rest;
    I observe the slights and degradations cast by arrogant persons upon laborers, the poor, and upon negroes, and the like;
    All these—All the meanness and agony without end, I sitting, look out upon,
    See, hear, and am silent.

    “I Sit and Look Out,” Leaves of Grass — Walt Whitman


  19. I find the diversity of topics and the genuine empathy for the writers and the commentators a refreshing change from the average comments on social media.
    The announcement that per January 1st, 2021 the blog will stop was a bit of a shock.
    But there is plenty of archive to dip in.


  20. Sorry, it was early in the morning when I wrote. In any case, the comment remains the same, Mike Bell, though the name has been changed.


  21. Still doesn’t answer the problem. Why does our free will make all the sin, pain, and destruction worth it? *Why*?


  22. –> “Christ is with you, Mike, and with all of us, even when it doesn’t feel like it – maybe most especially then.”

    Psalm 22!


  23. Agreed. Pets returning home is a cool thing. We once had two dogs escape from our backyard, both “housedogs.” We spent hours looking for them, figured they were too “housebound” to ever figure out how to get home from wherever they’d gone. Then, about five hours later, there they were, walking around a corner coming home. It was awesome that they’d stuck together, also awesome that apparently one of them knew the way back!

    But the oddest story I have is my sister’s missing pet story. Ages ago, she moved from San Francisco to Boston with her elderly cat. Within a week of being in this “strange, new city,” her cat disappeared. She was heartbroken, posted “Missing cat” signs everywhere, but nothing ever came of it.

    Then, about six weeks later, her cat showed up out of the blue, all covered in oil. Took awhile to get her cleaned up, but my sister had a few more good years with that “miracle” cat.


  24. Christ is with you, Mike, and with all of us, even when it doesn’t feel like it – maybe most especially then.

    Do remember Susan in prayer today; it’s already Tuesday in Oz, and she’s having her procedure.

    From my side, this past week I learned:

    -there’s a procedure for my circulation problem, which should make my legs a lot better. However,

    -my son and daughter-in-law will not be coming from the Midwest to spend Christmas with us because of the stupid virus and stupid people. They’re not sick, but they also don’t want the risk of being in an airport, and that’s wise. They hope to make the trip in the early summer, but it’s already been 2 years since we last saw them;

    -my daughter, the one who had the motorcycle accident, and her husband have separated. She doesn’t have any hope that they’ll be getting back together;

    -a woman who was my best friend for 15 years until she moved away to get distance between herself and an abusive mentally ill boyfriend, who herself has a mental illness diagnosis, who has lived in or at the edge of poverty pretty much all her adult life, and is completely brilliant (very long story for all of these), has breast cancer. She had the tumor removed and is taking chemotherapy, but because of her economic status and the upheaval in her life wasn’t able to get to the doctor as soon as she needed to. I am not optimistic about the long-term outcome.

    Christ our God was a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. This is the world into which he was born.



  25. Every Night & every Morn
    Some to Misery are Born
    Every Morn and every Night
    Some are Born to sweet delight
    Some are Born to sweet delight
    Some are Born to Endless Night
    “Auguries of Innocence”

    When the stars threw down their spears
    And water’d heaven with their tears:
    Did he smile his work to see?
    Did he who made the Lamb make thee?
    “The Tyger”

    -William Blake


  26. Glad for you, Mule. You’ve had a rough time too, earlier on. Especially that your dog came home – I know very well how it is to be anxious about that!



  27. It could also be that Calvin is rolling over in his grave over what Calvinists have turned Calvinism into.



  28. I was born and raised a Calvinist and I am having increasing difficulties with that mindset. Since I refuse to believe God is a monster, I have no alternative but to believe that Calvin got it wrong somewhere.


  29. these days, praying for ALL the ‘Mikes’ also works 🙂

    good days ahead – the vaccine is coming

    I have a son at Eastern Christian Children’s Retreat in Wyckoff NJ, and am faxing the permission form I received Saturday for him to get the vaccine –

    so it’s beginning to happen

    soon things will be better, God willing

    Mike Bell, you hang on – Chaplain Mike you help him and all of us – a while longer – thanks and be well


  30. This is why I’ll never understand the Calvinist mindset, because if what we are living through really IS what God has intended from Day One, and if people act they way they do because that’s the way God wants them to act, then…. Good grief.


  31. I want to add Jeff Dunn to your list as well. Been praying off and on for him and his family for several months now.


  32. I would have left your comment up if you had just made that point. Your link was really insensitive. I wasn’t in the mood to just edit it.


  33. Sorry to be the Happiness Stan amidst so much doom and gloom, but our family actually had a pleasant Thanksgiving with my daughter taking over the cooking duties for the first time. The spread was delicious.

    My parish, having been strict and prescriptive from the start and all through the freewheeling reopening summer, has not had to restrict anything for the upsurge. St. Andrew’s services today not present, but the upgraded streaming camera is flawless.

    We are enjoying the unprecedented attention from the rest of the country. It’s shining light into some unexpectedly dark corners (on both sides) and we will be the better for it.

    Even our pitbull/Lab mix who had been missing for a couple of days came back on his own this morning.

    Much to be thankful for. Thank you, Lord

    Still, sorry to hear that Mike, Jade’s family, Suzanne, Christiane, RobertF have such a rough row to hoe. my prayers are always with you.


  34. Mike Bell,
    My thoughts and prayers are with you my friend. Life can be difficult but especially under the current circumstances. God bless.


  35. It may be the remnant Calvinist in me, but I think God’s “respect for human free will” just isn’t worth the collateral damage. I wish He’d just *make* us all good and obedient, or just wipe the slate and start fresh.


  36. Mike — thanks for the raw and honest post. You reflect many of my feelings today as well. In the bleak mid-winter for sure. God be with you.


  37. For quite a few months I have been reading this blog on a daily basis and now for the first time I’m responding.

    The despair in what you wrote about the though day you are experiencing because there are loved ones you can’t meet in person and loved ones that are in a very dire situation, really hit it with me.

    Love and prayer and a virtual hug, you are not alone.

    Warm regards,


  38. To a better tomorrow. I’ll drink to that. For Mike, for Susan, for Nemo, and all the other iMonkers who are weary and burdened.


  39. Prayers for you, CM. Hang in. This community loves you, and I know you are in all our hearts and minds. Here’s a toast to a better tomorrow.


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