Why Bother?

Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. – Luke 18:1 (NIV)

One of my students in a chaplaincy course this spring was a 70-year-old psychoanalyst considering transitioning to a chaplaincy role. She said to the class at the height of the Covid-19 crisis, “I woke up this morning and said to myself, ‘Why bother to get out of bed?’”

She did get out of bed, showed up to tele-meet her first patient, and took a kind of counselor’s risk: “I took my first patient and she said to me, ‘How are you doing?’ And I told her I woke up this morning wondering why bother? Then of course I turned the question on her. ‘Why did you wake up this morning?’”

“She said, ‘So I could talk to you.’” That response kept my mature student going.

Sometimes we give up prematurely. Sometimes we hang on too long. Sometimes we over function. Sometimes it is just hard to function.

Sometimes we do too much. Sometimes we do too little. When Covid-19 is all gone and but a faint memory, I wonder what story we will tell about ourselves.

O God, help us be the subject of the story we tell about ourselves and not its object. And let us surely receive the gifts others make to our stories. And never to be afraid of our weakness. And never to stop bothering. Amen.

Small Group Discussion

Donna SchaperAbout the Author
Donna Schaper is Senior Minister at Judson Memorial Church in New York City. Her most recent book is I Heart Frances: Letters to the Pope from an Unlikely Admirer.