Minimalist Challenge

Matthew 6:19

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth,

where moths, and vermin, [and dust] destroy…

Guys, I gotta dust!  It’s bad!  I am here all day every day, I have no excuse.  As I sit at my desk to blog every day, I look straight ahead at the shelves over my desk and I see a thin white layer of dust.  And, it’s on a book shelf that is strewn with photos and knick-knacks, so it’s going to take some time to clear it off.  If I start at the top shelf and work my way down, I will eventually get to my desk, which will then be covered with LOTS of dust. That means, I will actually have to sort through everything on my desk in order to clear off all the dust.

Let’s examine this desk for a moment: It’s got all kinds of unfinished business on it!  Bills, Bible study stuff, reminders to call this person and write that recommendation letter, books to list on Amazon, my Christmas shopping list — to be honest, it’s got a bunch of stuff on it that doesn’t need to be here.

My daughter recently challenged me to do the Minimalist Challenge (http://www.theminimalists.com/game/).  In this challenge you decide to pare down over the period of one month.  On the first day you get rid of one thing, on the second day you get rid of two things, and the third day you get rid of three things, etc.  So, my daughter mentioned this and I said, “Do you realize how much we got rid of before we moved?”  She replied, “You still have a lot of stuff, way more stuff than you need.”  Sigh.  Seriously?

So, I’m sitting here at my dusty desk.  Looking at all the things I probably don’t need.  Do I really want to do this work? In December?  When we have four birthdays, Christmas, and kids coming and going for the holidays?

Maybe we could do it together.  How about this:  how about if we agree for the next thirty days to do the Minimalist Challenge and along with it an Affirmation Challenge.  On day one we give away one thing — and let’s try to give away something that someone else can still use.  You can give it to someone you know, or you can give it to your local Goodwill or Salvation Army.  And, as we give it, we speak words of affirmation to someone we see in our day.  (I may regret this…day 30 could be a real challenge.)

It might look like this: Today I will take the slightly used vinyl covered notebook from the corner of my desk and put it in my Goodwill bag, then when my husband comes home for lunch I will say, “It’s so nice that you come home for lunch every day. I’m glad I get to see you.”

That wasn’t too painful, was it?

Here’s what I will do.  If 40 of you agree to join me, I will do the Minimalist/Affirmation challenge.  Ok, how about just 20.  Alright, if 10 of you will join me, I will do this.  Are you game?

Ephesians 4:29

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouth,

but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs,

that it may benefit those who listen.

journeying

It is day 6 of 7 of my journey on the ‘ultra simple diet’ and I haven’t been miraculously healed.  Sigh.  But it’s not for lack of trying.

I have stuck to this thing — even the 30 minutes of daily morning Pilates, the mid-day walk, the late night restorative yoga, and the nightly epsom salt/baking soda baths. That’s on top of drinking the olive oil/lemon juice combo every morning and eating mostly rice, vegetables, and chicken all week.  It has been a full-time job!

I will admit that I have had the energy to do all of the exercise and the cooking required for this regimen.  So that’s something.  I will also acknowledge that I have fallen into bed each night dead tired.  Zonked.

So what have we learned from this little exercise?  I am not sure yet.  I will go back and see the doctor on Monday.  She should have some lab results by then.  Also, I think I will learn more as I attempt to add foods back.  I am not the typical ‘customer’. I had already eliminated gluten, dairy, and soy from my diet for most of two years. This week took out nuts, beef, pork, most of my fruit, any starch other than rice, most of my caffeine, all alcohol, all sugar, …

So what am I going to add back first?  The doctor said to be gentle with myself over the weekend until she sees me, but I am going to have to have some popcorn.  And some raisins/dates.  And probably a glass or two of wine.   I won’t have a cheeseburger or a steak, but I might have a baked potato.  I won’t eat pizza, but I may have some scrambled eggs. I eyed the clementines sitting in a bowl on my countertop today and thought to myself, “Two more days.”

I’ve been on a strict diet for a week.  I’ve been dealing with chronic pain, fatigue, and a variety of other annoying symptoms for two years.  It sucks. (Sorry, Mom.) But this morning a friend from the past sent me a photo of the car she was in during a crash in 2008.  She then described the journey to relief/healing she has been on for six years — back surgeries, physical therapy, steroid injections, etc.  That sucks, too. (Sorry, Mom.)

We all have our stuff, don’t we?  We have physical issues, emotional issues, family issues, work issues.  Yours don’t diminish mine.  Mine don’t diminish yours.  We are all on a journey of trial and error.  We’re trying to figure out life — how to hurt less, how to live more.

And we are not alone.  We have each other to lean on, to share with, to encourage. And we have the Creator of us all, who knows each and every hurt intimately.  He is aware of when we are having good days and bad days. He knows the stuff that we won’t say out loud to anyone.  He hears our cries — the loud ones and the silent ones. He wipes every tear from our eyes. And sometimes He uses us to wipe those tears.

Today is a good day. My pain and fatigue are about a 2 on a scale of 1 to 10.  But I know people who are closer to an 8 or a 9.  Perhaps today I will be their tissue; perhaps tomorrow they will be mine.

Isaiah 25:8

The Sovereign Lord will wipe away the tears from all faces;

He will remove His people’s disgrace from the earth.

The Lord has spoken.

Blessed at the DMV, a re-visit

On Monday I wrote about privilege; this post from December 2014 — way back near the start of this chapter — talks about privilege, too. Throughout my life I have considered myself to be blessed — to have abundance because of the generosity of God. I will render to God the praise that is God’s, but I will also acknowledge that I have privilege because I am white and Christian in a country that has historically benefitted white Christian people at the expense of others.

I am writing late today, and as I sit at my desk, the sun is setting over the river. I can see it right out my window.  It. is. gorgeous.

Today was a pretty bleak day weather-wise — cold and gray –and the task on the to-do list was also pretty bleak: a trip to the Secretary of State’s office — the DMV.

If you ever want to feel like you don’t live in a free, democratic society, go to the DMV. It’s one of the few places where I feel like I am a pawn. I stood in line to get a number to mark my place in line — no kidding. Then, I sat with that number for over an hour. Of course I made it out with what I came for. I didn’t have to bribe an employee or bring in a chicken or anything like that, but I sure did feel like I was in a prisoner to the system.

I wasn’t alone. Everyone there was complaining — Why does this take so long? I have been here for two hours already! I really had to pay $30 for this piece of paper? 

It’s a glimpse at what people around the world have to go through every single day. A glimpse, not a clear look. Let’s be honest — we’ve got it pretty good. Most Americans have running water, a toilet, a refrigerator, heat, probably air conditioning, and if you are reading this, I will bet that you have access to the Internet. We’ve got so many clothes we can’t decide what to wear to the gym. And, yes, many of us have memberships to gyms. We have dozens, if not hundreds of channels on our televisions. We have the resources to purchase Christmas presents for our families, our coworkers, our friends, and our spouses. We can drive, in our cars, to the nearest pharmacy and pick up a remedy for anything that ails us along with a gallon of milk, a bag of chips, and a pack of cigarettes if we wish.

I really have no right to complain about the DMV. It’s a pain — yes. I’ve been there three times since I moved to Ann Arbor four months ago — I am starting to recognize the employees. I have to dedicate a morning or an afternoon each time I go there, but it’s the only place I go where this is the case. The only place.

Even when I go to the University of Michigan for health care, I am seen in a reasonable amount of time by some of the top physicians in the nation, if not the world. I go to the Post Office and pay a small fee and my package is shipped anywhere I like. I drop by the library and borrow books, DVDs, and CDs, for free! I travel easily by highway or airline. I am free to get an education, to hold a job, and to vote.

Many in the world do not enjoy most of the privileges that we enjoy. We forget that. We forget that 38% of the world does not have access to adequate sanitation, half of the citizens of the world live on $6 a day, 24% of the people in the world have no electricity, 47% of the people in the world do not have a reliable or adequate food supply (If the World Were a Village, 2011).

I have much to be thankful for — I ate plenty all day long, I drove my car to Bible study where I was free to practice my religion, I came home to a warm house, I went out to the DMV, then came back home to sit at my computer, write whatever I feel like writing, and look out my window at the sun setting over the river. I am blessed — and privileged.

Freely you have received; freely give.

Matthew 10:8

Cry out!

 When the righteous cry for help,

the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles.

Psalm 34:17

That’s it?  We just call out for help and we’re delivered? Seriously? I think so.  I’ve been running a little experiment.  I spent a significant time on this earth trying to figure out my own problems — my own troubles.  Ummm….after analyzing the data it appears that my attempts to ‘figure out my own problems’ have resulted in actually making the problems — the troubles — grow in significance. Yeah.

So, you want a concrete example, huh?  Well, let me see what I’ve got.

My freshman year of college, I felt life spiraling out of control — I had broken up with a long-term boyfriend, I was putting on weight, and, most importantly,  I didn’t know who I was in the sea of faces who looked like they had it all together, knew exactly who they were, and knew exactly where they were going.  So, I cried out for help, right? Nope. I took matters into my own hands.  I embarked on a strict regimen of diet and exercise that would get my life “back under control” and “solve all my problems”.  It worked, right? Nope. Oh yeah, I lost weight.  A lot of weight.  I got all kinds of accolades for being “so skinny”.  But that didn’t make me feel better, it just put me under more pressure to maintain my skeletal self.  I hadn’t solved my problems, I had buried my ‘self’ even deeper under more issues.

In fact, it wasn’t until the weight of all that pressure and confusion almost crushed me that I cried out, “Help!” As God would have it, I cried out in the presence of a nurse on my college’s campus and “just like that” I was being delivered.  Her phone call, a friend’s transport to an appointment, a season of therapy and re-learning, and I was on the path to discovering who I am and what God has for me.  It might have been easier if I would have cried out to God a little earlier.  But here’s the thing, God uses “all things”.

Since that time in the mid 1980s I have shared my story so often that I feel like the whole world must know it by now.  Certainly many of you who are reading this right now are saying, “Yeah, yeah, the anorexia bit…blah, blah, blah.”  But I won’t ever stop telling this story. Ever.  Because every time I tell it, someone comes to me later and says, “Really, you had an eating disorder? Can I talk to you?”  “How did you recover?”  “What is life like now?”  “Would you mind reaching out to my daughter/sister/friend/cousin?”  God uses “all things”.

Just today I woke up to find a message from a former student.  She had interviewed me during her senior year for a film project on eating disorders.  She’s been struggling through her freshman year of college — trying to figure out who she is.  She remembered my story and wanted to let me know.  She said, “sharing your story with me has inspired me and has let me know that everything will be all right.” Yup, it will, my dear.  But, don’t do what I did, cry out for help, now!   You will be delivered.

I am a slow learner; you’ve figured that out by now.  That lesson was in the 1980s and I am learning it again now — in 2014.  When life started spiraling out of control several years ago, when I was in a new situation with tons of stressors and very few outlets, I was overwhelmed!  So, I cried out to God, right? Nope.  I soldiered up and worked harder, faster, longer, trying to work everything out on my own.

I’m beginning to realize that my strategy made my problems bigger — marital stress, family dysfunction, and guys, two medical professionals have hinted that my health issues may be the result of prolonged stress. There, I said it.

Why do I have to get to this point before I call out for help? He says, when we cry for help He delivers us.  Well, kids, I’m crying out for help — for my health, for my family, for our future.  And, I am confident of this He will deliver me.

Psalm 27:13

I remain confident in this: I will see the goodness of the Lord…

Princess Pearl

On December 8, 1995, a little girl was born to us.  We loved her instantly, dressed her in snuggly soft clothing, and gave her a name that means Princess Pearl.

Let’s talk about pearls.   They are gems, but unlike other gems that need to be cut and polished to be beautiful, pearls are ‘born’ with, according to American Pearl, “a shimmering iridescence,  lustre, and soft inner glow unlike any other gem on earth.” That’s our pearl, she stands out — she is unlike anyone else I have ever met.  She is strong; she is beautiful; she is treasured.

Her strength is seen in her passionate devotion to justice.  This girl can cut to the truth and articulate it so quickly that she leaves the opposition standing with mouth gaping.  She stands up to inequity and prejudice with indignation; she calls it out.  I remember when she was in the fourth grade she went to the principal and advocated for change in the holiday program that seemed a bit biased toward the Jewish population of the school while minimizing the voice of the Christian population of the school.  Yes, our little girl marched into the principal’s office and articulated her complaint. Guys, she got the change she advocated for.  In the fourth grade.

Her beauty is not only physical, though she is breathtakingly stunning, but it is also in her love, especially for her friends.  In the presence of ‘her people’ this girl radiates.  She beams onto her friends like a spotlight.  She pulls them into conversation, she encourages them, she infuses life into them.  Wherever she goes folks run to greet her, to hug her, to laugh with her, and to have some crazy personalized exchange that no one else seems to understand. She knows her people deeply.

This girl is treasured — by us, yes, but by so many others!  She has her family, yes, but she has grafted so many others into her family tree!  The branches spread from Los Angeles to Portland to Boston to St. Louis to Chicago to who knows where else!

She’s a pearl — a strong, beautiful, treasured jewel.

Is she a princess?  Princesses, by definition, are daughters or granddaughters of kings.  It’s their identity.  They are born into the family and its position. It’s not a reflection of character, but a statement of belonging. Our girl is a child of the King.  And as His princess, has unlimited access to the King, and his Kingdom.  She can go directly to Him and ask for anything she wants. She can’t ‘un-princess’ herself. She is a daughter of the King — forever.  Many princesses choose to use this position as a free ticket to a life of privilege and power, sitting in the castle eating bonbons. Not our pearl.  She eschews her privilege to journey out into the villages, befriending the people, spotting injustice, and using her voice to call attention to it — to change it.

She’s my kind of princess, my kind of pearl– His strong, beautiful, one-of-a-kind, treasured jewel — forever.

Show me your ways, O Lord

Years ago I learned that if I am in regular daily Bible study God will speak through His Word directly into my life.  It’s such a powerful experience.  I can’t imagine why I would stray from this discipline knowing that this is how He reaches me.  But over and over in my life I have decided that other things were more important — sleep, work, reading novels, time with family, games on my phone.  It’s embarrassing, actually, to admit they I can so easily be distracted.  But I can.

So, after waking this morning, drinking two tablespoons of organic olive oil mixed with the juice of one organic lemon, doing the prescribed twenty minutes of Pilates, drinking the juice of the other half of the lemon mixed with hot water, downing the shake mix stuff blended with water and a banana, taking probiotics, vitamins, and my regular medications, drinking one cup of green tea with 56 grams of caffeine (yay!!), chopping tons of vegetables and making vegetable broth, cooking short grain brown rice according to specifications, washing all the dishes, adding to my compost pile, showering, and dressing, I sat down to do my Bible study.

I read Psalm 25, the reading for the day, To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul. O my God, in you I trust…Make me to know your ways, O Lord; teach me your paths…He leads the humble in what is right, and teaches the humble His way.  All the paths of the Lord are steadfast love and faithfulness…

Then I read the accompanying study in the book I am using at the moment, Whispers of Hope: 10 Weeks of Devotional Prayer.  The whole devotion was meaningful, but the last portion is what got me: “We encounter God’s challenge as He demands: Will you allow Me to dramatically alter your ways to teach you My own?” 

Well, yeah.  I think You stepped right in and altered them without waiting for me to hem and haw and reply.  You moved me to a different state, took me out of my job, and gave me a much smaller, more manageable home. You provided a new, slower lifestyle, opportunity to evaluate and reflect, and new friends to join me on my journey.  You hit the reset button on my life!  And now, this week, You are challenging me to look at my health in a different way, to take some chances, to be obedient to a regimen. It’s a little uncomfortable, a little scary.   It’s a dramatic alteration, after many other dramatic alterations.

So I am going to allow You?  We’ve been over this: You are God, I am not.  Show me your ways, O Lord, teach me your paths.

“for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long.”

Psalm 25: 5

Here’s to our health

I’m sitting here in the middle of the afternoon nursing my last cup of black tea for the next seven days.  I’m pathetic, right?

Why are breaks in routine so hard?  Why do I like things to be ‘just so’? Why am I such a creature of routine?  Why is it so hard to go with the flow?

Am I alone here?

I mean routines are good, right?  ‘The experts’ advise us to get up and go to bed at the same time every day, to eat our meals at regular intervals, to take our medications on a schedule.

But we also get advice from other ‘experts’ to vary our routine — don’t take the same route to work every day, choose from a variety of fruits and vegetables, and mix-up our exercise routine.

You could say I listen to both schools of thought– I always drink caffeine; I mix it up by choosing from either coffee or tea.

But this week, starting tomorrow, is going to be a bigger mix up than I have had in a while.  Not only am I putting all black drinks to the side, I am choosing, of my own free will, to drink things like extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice with hot water, and green tea.

In preparation for this experiment I purchased two kinds of green tea.  I have tried one, and I can honestly say I kind of like it.  It’s Yogi Green Tea with Goji Berry and my internet sources tell me that it has 52 mg of caffeine per serving!  So, guys, I won’t be caffeine-free after all!  You can send the troops home! The ‘ultra simple diet’ allows for me to have up to two cups of green tea per day.  Problem solved!!

So, see, going out of our comfort zone, varying from our routine, doesn’t have to be scary!  We can, like Miss Frizzle said, “Take chances, get messy, make mistakes!” If I weren’t willing to take a chance with this doctor and her ‘ultra simple diet’ for one week, I might not have learned that I like green tea with goji berry.  Who knows what else I will learn this week?

I am going to go out on a limb and say I probably won’t like drinking olive oil, but hey, I’ve been wrong before. After all, it’s only two tablespoons per day and you mix it with the juice of 1/2 of one organic lemon.  (I am really not making this up.)

I’ll try to bring you along on the journey this week, especially if I am thrilled and amazed by the results.  I feel  bit like a guinea pig, but it is encouraging know that I might be learning stuff that benefit more than just myself, that I’m ‘taking one for the team.’

In the mean time, I will continue my daily prayers that God would heal me completely — body, mind, and spirit — through whichever means He chooses.  I pray that for you, too.

3 John 1:2

Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health

and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well.

Children are a heritage of the Lord

Twenty-two years ago today I gave birth for the first time.  She was a healthy baby girl.  I remember gazing at her sleeping in her little bassinet next to my hospital bed.  I was suddenly overwhelmed with the gravity of the situation.  My husband and I had chosen to have a baby.  We had done all the prenatal care, childbirth classes, and reading we were supposed to do, but suddenly it was real.

To be fair, my husband brought a delightful young boy to our marriage.  He had been through this experience before.  It was not new to him.  And, for over two years, I had been sharing the responsibility for our son’s life, but this was different.  This was flesh of my flesh, bone of my bone.

What if I messed up?

Well any parent out there who is alive and breathing knows that in twenty-two years I have indeed ‘messed up’.  Parenting isn’t pretty.  It has beautiful moments, true, but as a whole, it’s a series of decisions, hugs, tears, guesses, steps, missteps, apologies, kisses, and prayers. And somehow, miraculously, we are blessed with human beings that in some ways resemble us, in other ways surpass us.  They make us proud, worried, amazed, confused, and humble.

The one we are celebrating today has a very tender heart.  Her name, which we gave her, means ‘full of grace, mercy, and prayer’.  She has the kind of grace that loves people.  She especially loves those who have been overlooked, especially children who have been overlooked.  She has mercy on them.  She sits down with them, looks them in the eyes, and listens to them.  She prays for them. She prays with them.

She’s not perfect.  She’s kind of loud, she’s pretty goofy, and she’s clumsy. She’s pretty hard on herself.

So today I pray for her that she will see the One who loves her, even when she feels overlooked.  I pray that she will sense Him sitting down with her, looking her in the eyes, and listening to her.  I pray that she will know that I am praying for her and with her.

She’s not perfect, but she’s perfectly His, and amazingly ours.

Psalm 127:3

Children are a heritage of the Lord,

offspring a reward from him.

Tick, Tick, Tick

It’s December 3.  Can you hear that clock ticking?  I’ve been saying all along that I was going back to work on January 5.  That is just over one month away.

And not just any month — December!  December is busy for everyone, but for the Rathjes it might be just a bit crazier than it is for most.  We have four, yes 4, birthdays in our immediate family during December.  Two of our members are on academic calendars which have final exams during December.  And, we are involved in church work which is especially dense with activities during December.

So, after just three days in this month of all months I am sitting here thinking to myself, “am I really going to be ready to go to work on January 5?”

Now, if you’ve been paying attention, you know that I have cheated a little — I just finished editing a novel for a local author, I am coaching a graduate student through his dissertation, I have been blogging, I jumped in with both feet to a project making hygiene kits for women in Kenya, and I have been pretty busy exploring avenues for improving my health. I haven’t really been ‘sitting around eating bonbons’.

Certainly I haven’t been working nearly as hard as I had in years past.  I do take time almost every day to exercise and to rest, but I have been, at least in the last six weeks or so, fairly productive.  Yet I’m not sure I am quite ready to go back to work.

I saw a job posting today at the University of Michigan for an English Language Arts Specialist.  Doesn’t that sound fancy?  It’s a position that supports beginning teachers and the educators of beginning teachers. My wheels started turning and I thought, “Wouldn’t that be exciting to help shape tomorrow’s educators?” And then I remembered that I came home from my Bible study this morning, ate a bowl of soup, then plunked myself on the couch for a couple of hours.  “Come on, Kristin, what about that position working with non-traditional students trying to complete their diplomas, wouldn’t that be great?”  Yes, it would; I would love it, if I could be sure I would be able to get out of bed and to school every morning by 8:00.

Sigh.  I’m tired.

I know the plans I have for you…

I know.

Do not fear, for I have been pleased to give you the kingdom. 

I remember.

Don’t worry about tomorrow…each day has enough trouble of its own.

So true.

Many are the plans in your heart, but My purpose prevails. 

You promise?

I promise. 

Ok. Thanks.

I Peter 5:7

I will cast all my anxiety on You, because You care for me.

(Rathje Revised Version)

Bye, bye, for now, Joe

I just finished half of my caffeine supply for today.  Sigh.  I’m going to try not to dwell on this too much, but guys, it’s a loss. Maybe just a temporary loss, but still a loss.

I used to give up caffeine for Lent.  Sometimes I would give up all caffeine, sometimes just coffee.  Somewhere along the way, I switched from giving things up to adding a lifestyle change during Lent that would last beyond the forty days — daily exercise, prayer, Bible study, healthier eating.  But, as I am sure you can guess, my intentions didn’t always match the outcome.

I vaguely remember giving up all caffeine right before we moved to the Seminary ten years ago.  Not only did I give up my coffee and tea, I also cleaned up my diet, added some exercise, and trimmed down a little.  Granted, it probably was out of anxiety for the move, a way to get some control in a tenuous time, but I think I remember feeling strong and healthy.

Well, a lot of things changed at the Seminary.  For one, there was a fabulous little coffee shop adjacent to the campus. My husband and I began to frequent it.  I also began running again after several years’ hiatus. I went to work full time while continuing to do my best as a mother to three school-aged children.  And the soldiering began.  Soldiers do drink coffee; everyone knows that.

In fact, my students and colleagues were well aware of my love for java.  I wrote sonnets about coffee — it’s true.   My husband would sometimes surprise me with a classroom coffee delivery — forget flowers! My colleagues and I would often escape during our prep period for fifteen minutes to run out for a cup of Starbucks.  In fact, I had one student teacher who regularly volunteered to go pick up our orders for us! My love for caffeine was so well-known that during my last month at Lutheran North, several students brought me Starbucks gift cards tucked inside thank you notes.

Over the last two years, as I have been on and off a variety of medications, my tastes have changed:  I often now prefer a strong cup of English breakfast over coffee;  I used to drink my coffee with cream, now I drink everything black and unsweetened.  But let’s be clear here: I always, I mean always, drink caffeine.  Usually three or more cups of the stuff.  Every day.

So, in anticipation of the ‘ultra simple diet’ experiment, I am tapering off.  I am allowing myself two cups of tea today.  Two tomorrow.  One cup each on Thursday and Friday.  I think I have established Saturday as Day One.  I gotta gear up, especially when the first instruction for each day is to “drink two tablespoons organic extra-virgin olive oil mixed with the juice of half of an organic lemon.”  Who does that?   It’s supposed to “help flush the toxins from your bile and liver into your gut to be excreted.”  Good morning.

It’s weird.  So is washing yourself in the Jordan seven times.  When Elisha sent the messenger to tell Naaman to do this, Naaman was ticked!  “Come on, I could’ve done that at home!”  He stomped off in a rage.  (Sounds like something I would do.)  But his servant ran after him and said something like, “Is it really gonna kill you to give it a try?” (That’s the Rathje Revised Version.) Now, I am not saying my doctor is a prophet.  But she’s not asking me to have surgery, to take daily or weekly injections, or to acknowledge that I am going to be in pain for the rest of my life.  She’s just asking me for seven days.  Is it really gonna kill me to give it a try?

Sigh.  Probably not.

Psalm 6:2

Have mercy on me, Lord, for I am faint;

heal me, Lord, for my bones are in agony.