What’s your favorite coping strategy after a full day? I ran all day yesterday and finally came home about 3 pm from taking my husband to a routine doctor visit and all I wanted to do was have that cup of coffee I had not had time for in the morning, to sit down and unwind. Some days are like that. After the exhaustion of work and the drain of supervising family and the worry of setting up for tomorrow, I am tempted to fall back and relax with a cup of warmth, a TV episode, or a phone call to a friend.
Last week our text told of Jesus speaking in the synagogue on the Sabbath and in the middle of his talk being interrupted with a man with an unclean spirit who challenged his authority. Can you feel the tension of the confrontation? Jesus silences and casts out the spirit and frees the man from the oppression that drives him from within. Can you feel the drain of energy caused by this use of his personal strength? Whew, that was a big day at the synagogue. It was definitely food for thought and debriefing around the lunch table! Jesus heads off to the home of one of his newest disciples, Simon Peter, with Simon’s brother Andrew and their friends James and John. I’m sure the disciples would love to debrief Jesus as they enjoyed a warm drink and a midday meal. I would have had questions!
Instead we find Jesus now confronted with a different kind of debilitating problem, not a evil spirit but Simon’s mother-in-law was sick in bed with a fever. We don’t know where the daughter/wife was, perhaps at the drug store or perhaps caring for the mother. I suspect the drink was not warm, there was tension in the air and the strategy of “isolation” was probably not practiced. How would you respond? Sorry, this is not a good time to visit. Perhaps let’s go somewhere else less contaminated? Sunday we will see how Jesus handles the situation but the point of reflection today might be to ask ourselves how we unwind from a tense event?
Gathering around the “meal” to talk over the sermon or the crisis or the news or to celebrate the event is a common cultural way that we “debrief” and celebrate. For some that may be to turn on the radio and listen to the news commentator’s debate. For others it is a social gathering. It could be picking up the phone and calling a trusted friend. How do you “debrief”?
Spiritual disciplines for debriefing do include fellowship and worship. We can also add the discipline of journaling, prayer, and reading. Artistic outlets like writing, painting and music are ways we debrief and detox our soul. As we go through the events of our lives today, may we take time to process and not just go from one task to the next. Jesus walks with us and is always available for a chat! Blessings.