Say "Uncle"
April 4, 2013

1 Kings 19:4-6

[Elijah] came to a broom bush, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. "I have had enough, Lord," he said. "Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors."  Then he lay down under the bush and fell asleep. All at once an angel touched him and said, "Get up and eat."

Dwight Lee Wolter

As the youngest child in my family, all three of my siblings could easily overpower me. I always put up a good fight, but the outcome was never in question. The struggles usually ended with me being pinned against the floor and my siblings demanding, "Say Uncle!" Only then would they let me go.

Today, many years later, I looked out the window of my soul and softly said, "Uncle." This has been a difficult winter in many parts of the country, with environmental crises such as horrendous hurricanes, blinding blizzards and crippling drought. And there have been many excruciating crises of human origin such as the slaughter of innocent children and adults in Newtown, Connecticut. Enough already! On the count of three let's all say, "Uncle!"

Many are quick to remind me that things could be much worse; that we should hold fast to an attitude of gratitude; and that God never gives you more than you can handle—but sometimes I wonder. While I am pleased and proud of what many have mobilized and accomplished in the aftermath of these and other tragedies, sometimes I allow myself to hunker down under the broom bush in my soul and surrender to the sweet agony of grief.

Eventually, when I have had enough, some angel comes along and tells me it is time to get up and eat. Nourished by bread and grief, I find strength to return to my quest of being a useful advocate once again.

Prayer

God of many names including Mother, Father and Uncle—wherever we are on our spiritual journey, be with us as we avail ourselves of the heights and depths of your creation.

About the Author
Dwight Lee Wolter is the author of Forgiving Our Parents, Freedom Through Forgiving (a workbook), and Forgiving Our Grownup Children. He is pastor of the Congregational Church of Patchogue on Long Island, New York.
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