“Everybody gets to feel some pain, everyone got to get to caught out in the rain. Everybody got some days that they can’t explain.” ~James Taylor
I have to believe that last line is true. Today was a day I am not sure I can explain. Nothing particularly bad or extraordinary or unusual happened today, yet I find myself unable to explain the weirdness of the day. It got me thinking as I ponder this whole Lent thing and think about Jesus and how things might have been for him when he walked the earth. As I ponder some of my very real human struggles, I find myself thinking, “Did Jesus go through this?”
Lately I’ve spent some time wondering what my life purpose is. Now it might seem a bit strange that someone who is on the far side of 50 wouldn’t necessarily spend a lot of time thinking on their life purpose, particularly now that their life is more than half way over (I’m an optimist, but even I don’t expect to live to 120…) I have done a lot of things in my life, helped a lot of people, did a lot of good. But at the end of the day I wonder, “Am I serving the purpose for which I was put on this planet. The short answer is, “I don’t know,” or its near relative, “I guess so.” Not very definitive, it is. Every time I get comfortable that I am doing exactly what I’m supposed to be doing where I’m supposed to be doing it, something happens that shakes that fragile confidence. That was how today was, a day that I can’t explain.
So I got to wondering if in the three short years of his relatively short life Jesus ever wondered just what he was doing. I mean he had the whole, “I’m doing the will of the Father” thing, but (a) did he always know what the will of the father was, and (b) did he ever stray away from doing it? Given that Jesus was the son of man as well as the son of God, it seems that there might have been times that he wasn’t 100 percent sure of his mission or if he was ready to carry it out. Nowhere is this more evident than during the last hours of his life when he sat in the garden praying, asking God if there was some way out of the suffering that he was going to face a few hours later. So maybe Jesus did have some days that he couldn’t explain. I find that oddly comforting.
If in fact Jesus was partly human and he experienced some of the same issues and challenges any human faces, then it stands to reason that he would have had some days when he really didn’t want to do what was set before him to do. Maybe he got weary of the occasional bungling of his “team,” who periodically did things that he had to go undo. There were days when Jesus retreated away from the crowds and the attention and the drama and found some quiet place to get away from the pressures and stresses of the day. He left everyone, including his disciples at times, behind to rejuvenate and consider what was what. So if I have moments of confusion about whether or not I’m living out my life purpose, I am in good company. Maybe he had some days that he could’t explain.
So as I ponder where I am and think more intentionally about the life (and death) of Jesus, during Lent he becomes much more real to me. During these forty days I get to reflect on my life in relation to his, see where there may be parallels and where our paths would appear to diverge. This is all part of what it means to be human, and it is his humanity with which I am in touch, even as I remain aware of his divinity.
Today was one of those days I could not explain. The good news is that it is essentially over and I have the opportunity–gods willing–to start where I am again tomorrow. And for that I am exceedingly grateful.