Reflection April 4
I waited patiently for the Lord;
he turned to me and heard my cry.
He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock
and gave me a firm place to stand.
He put a new song in my mouth,
a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear the Lord
and put their trust in him. Blessed is the one
who trusts in the Lord,
who does not look to the proud,
to those who turn aside to false gods.
Many, Lord my God,
are the wonders you have done,
the things you planned for us.
None can compare with you;
were I to speak and tell of your deeds,
they would be too many to declare.
I have a really boring job.
My main daily task right now is listing factory return merchandise on eBay. Recently the title of manager has fallen on me, but all that really means is I tell other people to list stuff too.
So I have a boring job. But that entails the responsibility to keep myself entertained, lest I run out on to Highway 65 just to make something interesting happen.
My most tried and true method of avoiding that is listening to music and podcasts. The music can range from 1930s recordings of bluegrass, to 90s post-rock, to modern Japanese dream pop. The podcasts range from high-minded philosophy lectures, to celebrity scandal updates, to two British guys speculating about absurd movie plots Hollywood would never make. Basically I listen to whatever my media outlets promote to me and piques my interest at the time.
But all that media consumption, plus movies and TV shows in my free time, I think has an effect on my memory. I get so lost in others people's lives, music, stories, perspectives, values, and opinions, that I kind of forget my own, and maybe myself in general. That is, until I read something like Psalm 40, and my memory returns to me, like when you open the photo album your mother kept of your childhood, and you're confronted again with the image of what used to be you, a tiny, naked, screaming baby on a hospital scale.
This passage reminds me who I was at one point: a helpless, frequently depressed young man very much in "the slimy pit," "the mud and mire." I was so despondent at times I wouldn’t even have the interest in consuming any media at all.
But I remember Psalm 40 being quoted in a book on depression and the Christian life that in part helped me find my mental health, finding hope and meaning in the image of Jesus taking up his cross. This passage, an ethereal photo album, perhaps a kind of spiritual media, imbues upon consumption a centering, life-giving knowledge. It's a reminder of the wonders God has done, a picture of Him lifting me out of the pit and giving me a firm place to stand among the people of the light, the Body of Christ.
So as we wait patiently for you Lord, give us this day our daily bread for the Body's healthful consuming, and lead us not, in our boring jobs, into temptation to forget where we came from.