Therefore, that I might not become too elated, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, an angel of Satan, to beat me, to keep me from being too elated. Three times I begged the Lord about this, that it might leave me, but he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.” I will rather boast most gladly of my weaknesses, in order that the power of Christ may dwell with me. Therefore, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and constraints, for the sake of Christ; for when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:7-10
I wrote a song today called THE ONE THING. It’s about the one thing I just can’t work through, get over, embrace, come to grips with, interpret, or otherwise squash or explain away. It’s the one thing at the root of a few of my behaviors that makes me feel, as St. Paul says “weak”. It’s the one thing that haunts me, like the ghost in the hall, that I know I will meet and greet when I return from the Camino.
For me, it’s the feeling that no matter what I do, I’m not doing good enough; for family, for supporters, for friends, for God.
Not to lasso everyone reading this into my world view, but I don’t know a single person who doesn’t have a one thing, one weakness, that is sometimes dormant, and sometimes plagues their day. Call it the human condition, call it a weakness we can choose to curse or be grateful for, or call it a quest for those still slaying their dragon.
But let me take a crack at replacing the word weak with the word available. In my weakness, my vulnerability, I am often so struck by what I lack that I’m stripped (or I strip myself) of pride, glory, and self-righteousness. In that moment, I feel available to the Spirit of Love, the Spirit of what is needful, the Spirit of God. It’s then that good things happen; it’s the state I was in when I wrote Behold, Come To Me, and You Cannot Go Below My Resting Arms, to name a few.
So just as Paul comes to a new knowledge claiming contentment with his weaknesses, I am, today, for a moment, content. Content to let the thorn remain, since it brings me to availability. Content with the word weak, which is to suggest that I wrested with the angel through the night, and the angel was stronger…and I’m just worn out. Content with revealing a secret door into my heart that the very vulnerability of this day has opened. I accept that in weakness and availability, I find strength.