Lesley and I were recently given a copy of Richard Coles’ book, Fathomless Riches, and in reading it I came across the following, recounting his experience of confession:
I told him about what had been going on, … and let rip about the foolishness and unkindness of some of the people I had to live with … “Go on” he said, I paused and thought and said: “I am not as kind as I thought I was, I’m not as brave as I thought I was, I’m not as clever as I thought I was, I’m not as honest as I thought I was”. There was a pause and he said: “Oh, that’s good”.
It reminded me of all the times that I forget to let God take the strain; the times that I think I can do it in my own strength; that without me it would all fall to pieces. And, of course, those are the very times that I find myself exhausted, and stressed, and when it feels as though the whole world is on my shoulders (which of course it is, because I have put it there).
Of course we all have our gifts, and should use them in God’s service, but it is when we forget God that things become overwhelming.
I was told a story by a wise old priest, which I still struggle to follow:
When monks are hoeing the cabbages, and there is one cabbage left, and the bell for chapel rings, should they put down the hoe and go to chapel, or hoe the last cabbage and rush to chapel?