In late 2011 we were slogging through some tough times. The journal entry below, from October 23, shows how precariously near I was getting to burn-out:
I really, really want to run away right now. I’m not naturally a fighter; I’m more of a flee-er. I’m scared that God wants me to stay here. That scares the hell out of me because most of the relationships I have – not all – just suck. I’m so tired of being begged for everything under the sun. I’m so tired of kids yelling at us all day long. I’m tired of them abusing the fact that we can’t hold them accountable for their behavior toward us. I’m tired of trying to figure out what to do and what not to do, how to do it, when to do it, why to do it and with whom. I’m tired of not being able to communicate and being mocked, laughed at, or misheard when I try. I’m tired of being stared at, yelled at, called for. I’m tired of being tired of being tired…
But, as so often happens in our moments of greatest need, an unforeseen grace befell me in the form of The Lord of the Rings as I watched it on Halloween night:
Watching the Lord of the Rings last night gave me courage. I’m viewing our lives in the Ik project in light of Frodo’s quest to take the ring to the fires of Mt. Doom in Mordor. At the beginning, Frodo was young and naive and willing to undertake something exciting and important. The task chose him, and he was ready. At the beginning there was a sense of adventure, anticipation, and significance. The fellowship of the ring was born, gifts were given for the journey, and the travelers were blessed, commissioned, and set out.
At the end of Frodo’s quest there is a sense of relief, victory, and fulfillment.
Between the joy of the beginning and the joy of the end, Frodo goes through LONG periods of adversity, discouragement, despair, loneliness, hunger, pain, fear, sickness, anguish, and so on. During those times there is no joy, no peace, no comfort. Perhaps, at best, he can recall why he was sent; he can remember a vague sense of what it was he committed himself to. But at any time he would have gladly given the ring to someone else. He would have gladly gone back to the Shire for some bread and ale and a stroll on the grass.
No one else could carry the ring. If he didn’t succeed, no one would.
In my case, the time between when this job chose me and when we’ll finish the job, there are long stretches of slogging through stinking marshes and labyrinths of sharp rocks, times when we’d like nothing more than to give up and go home. But if we would do that, who would replace us?
Do we want to be the next missions casualty of Karamoja?