Who am I, that you are mindful of me? 

Some nights it feels like the world is burning. 

Who am I, that you are mindful of me?

The last four weeks or so have been mind-numbingly hard. For the world, for our country, for our little sacred village, for me. They have been hard in a way that makes me feel infinitesimally small, as if every prayer I breathe just fades away, like a puff of cigarette smoke into the dark night sky.

The son of man, that you care for him?

The world is on fire. 

Our world is on fire. 

Three weeks ago, I wrote in my prayer journal the names of every single person in our Village and asked for God’s blessing. But the last three weeks have been filled with heartbreak, disappointment, loss, disillusionment, fear, confession, admission, shame,  truth-telling, truth-hiding, utter exhaustion, and so much more. 

We’re tired, God. We are tired. 

There’s not really a resolution to this, no thin string to wrap around these brown paper words and send them off to you neatly and compactly. There’s nothing neat or compact about life right now, rather it is strewn all about like the toys that have claimed my living room floor. And the energy it would take to gather them up and put them away, each in their proper place? I certainly don’t have it. 

Instead we sit. We sit in our messy living rooms across this city, country, world. We text each other late into the evening, political memes and inside jokes and distractions and requests for prayer. 

And it is in the sitting, the waiting, the hoping … the crying, the laughing, the distracting and the drinking and all the things we do while our world is burning … that God shows up. 

Who am I, that you are mindful of me?

David wrote this in Psalm 8. He said it in 2 Samuel 7 too. 

Then King David went in and sat before the Lord and said, “Who am I, O Lord God, and what is my house, that you have brought me thus far?” 

Job whispered it to a God he didn’t understand in chapter 7

What is man, that you make so much of him, and that you set your heart on him, visit him every morning and test him every moment?

When David writes in the Psalms, he sings praise and awe. How majestic is your name in all the earth, he cries. 

When David prays in 2 Samuel, it is a prayer of gratitude. God has just made a covenant to him, that David’s house and kingdom would be forever. It is the defining promise of the Old Testament, and God made it to David - a sinner, a son, a king. 

But when Job says it, it’s different. Right before he utters those words, he says - I loathe my life, I would not live forever. Leave me alone, for my days are a breath. 

In the past month, we’ve said good-bye to jobs, to friends, to houses, to babies who won’t walk this side of heaven. We’ve done a lot of leaving, a lot of talking, a lot of praying. I’ve done a lot of whining, a lot of wine-ing, and a lot of complaining and questioning. All of it is natural. It makes sense for us to take Job’s posture, to spend 41 chapters in painful questioning and 1 tiny chapter feeling the soft landing place of restoration.

Job may be wisdom literature, a grand poem. And it does what all great poetry does - it cracks open a piece of your heart and with a certain turn of phrase it tells a new story in your mind. And this is what Job is doing for my head today; it is what David’s poetic Psalm is doing in my heart. 

Who am I, that you are mindful of me?

What is man, that you make so much of him - and that you set your heart on him?

These days it is easy to doubt. It’s far easier to doubt and disconnect than it is to lean in to the mess that is our collective heart. But it is here, in the mess - in the smiles and the silly texts and the tears and the late night ice cream and beer - we find the faithful presence of God made manifest in the faithful presence of our friends. 

It’s how we feel his mindfulness, in the mindfulness of our friends. And for that tonight, and every night for the past few months, I am grateful. He has set his heart on us, and we have set our hearts on each other.

Melanie R.Comment