I was supposed to write and post this this morning. The 14th of each month is my assigned day for the North Star blog. I knew it was coming, but this is tax season and they’re due tomorrow. I work three jobs to make ends meet. My wife also works. We are self-employed. Getting our taxes ready makes for an extremely complicated and painful activity. I was worried we wouldn’t get it done on time and even worse, that we wouldn’t have enough to pay them.
I’ll confess that we’re already struggling to catch up on back taxes and our prospects for ever clearing the whole thing up seem dismally impossible. I saved for six months leading up to tomorrow just to have enough to pay what we would owe and barely made it.
The rules about what you can and can’t deduct are endless. The number of keystrokes on a spreadsheet are innumerable. While you’re doing it, it seems like it will never end. I still had to go to work, go to church, and spend time with the family. My wife and I worked on it together and it was, to use a pun, taxing.
We finished last night and past my usual bedtime. By the time I got into bed, I was so frustrated it took awhile to get to sleep. My wife had a similar experience. She worries about stuff more than I do.
So, knowing that I was supposed to write this morning and get it ready to publish before I went to work, I found myself completely devoid of ideas. Nothing was on my mind besides paying my debt to Uncle Sam.
A friend of mine asked me what I was planning to write about. My answer was, “I’m all dried up. I’ll do it later.”
That is exactly how I felt. My soul felt as arid as my native Arizona. Well, it’s later now, and I could have just skipped it. Maybe I should have skipped it. Others miss their assigned day from time to time.
The feelings of my heart are not exactly positive right now. Yet, I always feel a duty to share something when I’ve made a commitment, so I’m sitting here writing this out, now sure where it’s going. After a day working, I don’t feel any moister than I did this morning.
My lament to my friend this morning reminds me of a scripture I think of often. It is in the 22nd Psalm, 14th verse. It says:
I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint: my heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of my bowels.
This Psalm by David of old is known as a Messianic psalm, a prophesy about the coming Messiah, a lament meant to foretell what the Savior would experience and feel as he accomplished his glorious but exquisitely painful task of paying the price for our sins. I do believe that I am passing through something sacred when my life’s experience reminds me of what the Savior suffered for me. Though my little fight with figures and regulations can’t compare in even the slightest degree to the pains of Gethsemane, I can relate to feeling “poured out like water.”
This brings to mind another Psalm. This was also written by David and was his own pouring out of his heart as he struggled to find forgivenss for his sins.
In the 32nd Psalm, verses 3 and 4, he wrote:
When I kept silence, my bones waxed old through my roaring all the day long.
For day and night thy hand was heavy upon me: my moisture is turned into the drought of summer. Selah.
I have written of these verses before. Before I owned up to my experience with same-sex attraction and began to be open about it, I was in a desert far more barren than today. I was disconnected from my wife and family. I was angry bitter. People wouldn’t really have known how I felt. They would have sensed me as fun-loving, personable, and fun to be around. It was what I presented, but it wasn’t what I felt in my bones.
Let me indulge in another scripture. This one is very important to me. In fact, I named my own personal blog after it. From Isaiah 35:7:
And the parched ground shall become a pool, and the thirsty land springs of water: in the habitation of dragons, where each lay, shall be grass with reeds and rushes.
This prophetic verse is often presented as part of an intepretation of this chapter as being about the establishment of the Church in the Salt Lake Valley. I don’t mean to say it isn’t about that, but it has personal meaning for me too.
For me, writing is a sharing of the things of my soul, even when my soul is dried up as it has been today. For me, the result of sharing is for my own soul to be filled, and I sincerely hope, that others will also find refreshment.
This change in the land from parched to pool follows the commandment, “Say to them that are of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear not: behold, your God will come with vengeance, even God with a recompence; he will come and save you (verse 4).”
And so, that I might fill my own vessel and hope to encourage others, as hard as the last few days have been, by saying these words to you, I also say them to myself. Be strong. Fear not. God will come and save you.
I apologize that I kept silent today until now. Now that I’ve had my say, I feel better. I feel positively soggy, especially my face.