Picture a math problem. It asks for a summation of many numbers. At the bottom is a blank cell for the answer and scattered across the paper are various numbers. Some numbers are very faint and small, others flash in and out, others are very large, and still others have not yet appeared. The student can't possibly calculate such a problem, and so she hesitates and leaves the answer cell blank.
"Ok," I answer.
Is this a typical experience for folks?
Like the math problem, when I'm asked to state how I'm doing, I find myself launching into a summation exercise. There are feelings (kind of stressed, happy about a cupcake, worried about the evening chores), activities (meal planning, meetings), thoughts (I read a new Psalm today that talked about God's beauty, I learned that narwhals are related to beluga whales, I wonder when that package will come?), etc. While the person waits for my response, I try to fish out all of these current circumstances and choices in order to find my answer. After a moment, if nothing huge jumps out from among the mental fray, I usually just end up stating that everything is fine. This may be accurate or it may be missing some key patterns such as wonderful opportunities or overarching gloomy moods. But I just can't seem to gather all these things into my mind at once to say for sure how I am doing.
I've been thinking about it this morning because I read in Psalm 55, "Cast your burden on the LORD." I find it easy to do that when there's something pressing (such as healing from an illness or safety in travel) but at other times, like today, I find myself speechless.
mental overload; mental confusion; mental blank
I looked at some of David's examples for inspiration:
"I am restless in my complaint and moan noisily because of the voice of the enemy..." Psalm 55:2-3
"Be merciful to me, O God, for man would swallow me up; fighting all day he oppresses me..." Psalm 56:1
What should I ask for? What do I need?
What is hard for me today? How am I doing today?
What shall I tell Adonai?
Maybe this is why I was so excited to learn the ancient Jewish prayers - they've already found the words I can't find.