I was struggling deeply with one of my sons. Not with him in the classic sense of, “He’s driving me crazy!” But with insecurity about my ability to be there for him in the way he needed. I shared my struggle with a few close friends and felt much relief simply by opening up.
The next morning I woke up hearing Mumford and Sons voices in my head singing ”Timshel.” The words, “You are not alone in this,” were looping. I hadn’t listened to the song in awhile, so I played it and burst into tears when the lyric said, “You are the mother, the mother of your baby child, the one to whom you gave life.” It was so healing, it gave me the sense that I am the best thing for him as his appointed mother, no matter how the circumstances fall out or how imperfectly I fulfill my role.
I thought of this song again as I considered the holiday season. I looked it up and found out that Timshel is a Hebrew word that translates, “Thou Mayest.” I also read that the actual Hebrew word is “Timshol,” and has several different meanings. I don’t know, but that is why I chose the title of this blog. The Christmas season has so many aspects to it and carries so many emotions for different people. At some point during the holidays, I am always reminded to love. I have a tendency to get terribly caught up in my personal struggles as a general rule. My friend says to me, “Get your head out of your ass,” if you know what I mean. I need the yearly reminder to think of others before myself.
Considering Jesus, what came to me was not the birth story but another piece about Him that I love from Philippians 2:6-8.
“Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross!”
Probably this is usually cited at Easter time, but the change from being part of the Creator of the Universe into a human baby child? The epitome of humility. This humility brings me to my point, and it does not matter what your view of Jesus is historically or religiously. I don’t think so anyway, because even if it’s only a story, it’s one that reminds me, in the human world, here and now, there is always, always, someone, somewhere who can relate to any human emotion you or I may have. I say emotion because our circumstances are unique to the individual but what drives us are the emotions they carry.
A sense of helplessness. A feeling of invisibility. A fear of being worthless. Of not meeting expectations of yourself or others. A fear of being betrayed. Sadness. Anger. Worry. Resentment. Hyper vigilance. Insomnia. Doubt.Anxiety. Insecurity. Reactiveness. Pessimism. Clingyness. Self centeredness. Repression. Jealousy. Addiction. Guilt. Shame. To name a few?
I hear Mumford and Sons and I hear Jesus, “You are not alone in this.”
The song continues:
“And you have your choices
And these are what make man great, His ladder to the stars.
But I can’t move the mountains for you.”
As much as there are others who understand our burdens, there are choices to be made. Do we hide and go it alone? I just mentioned learning the value of simply saying the words out loud to a trusted confidant. “I don’t know if I can do this.”
What if our mountains are not our illnesses or oppressions or circumstances but the ways we choose to deal with them? I don’t know. But I like this time of year, when goodwill is somewhat more readily revealed. We are willing to put aside prejudices and help one another. To admit struggles, to draw close boundaries when necessary, to enjoy good food and unique traditions and at least try to make happy memories.
And I love the baby child, who it’s said was there at Creation yet was willing to let go of the majesty that entails. Willing to be inside the mind and body of a human, willing to experience all that entails, all the way out to death.
I don’t know, but if you are not of good cheer, maybe you can reverse the usual thought process of “you are not alone,” and help someone else remember that they are not alone either.