the straw and the camels back…

I am sure that everyone has heard the phrase “the straw that broke the camel’s back”.  It is a common idiom that is used frequently in conversation.  That was also my exact thought when I started reading today’s Gospel reading!  Today’s Gospel is from John 11: 45-56.   It starts out…

Many of the Jews who had come to Mary and seen what Jesus had done began to believe in him.  But some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done.   So the chief priests and the Pharisees convened the Sanhedrin and said, “What are we going to do?

What they saw that seemed to distress them so much was the raising of Lazarus.  This wasn’t the first person that Jesus brought back from the dead and certainly wasn’t the only miracle that he ever performed.  Rather, it was the straw that broke the camel’s back.  It was when this happened, that the high priest, Caiaphas, prophesied that one man should die to save the whole nation and set the ball in motion for the crucifixion of Jesus.

What in our lives has become that proverbial straw?  I know I experienced one just a little while ago.  I am preparing to go on this diet program that my doctor wants me to do.  It will not be easy as it is a very strict program.  I have talked to my hubby and kids about it and they all have said that they will support me.  Tonight, while we were eating dinner (brats from the grill — I’m not on the diet yet!), someone commented about how I won’t be able to eat brats while I’m on this program.  I agreed and talk continued discussing a Cosby show where Claire is trying to lose weight and Clif is trying to sabotage her.  Then, everyone started talking about all the foods that they were planning to eat while I am on the program that would be off-limits to me.  All of this was done in a teasing mode and I just went along with it.  But, then the conversation took another turn and my hubby started quizzing me on some of the components of the program and whether I had done them today or not.  I explained that I wasn’t on the program yet, that it wouldn’t start until next Saturday after I finished the detox program that the Dr. wanted me to do first.  But, then it was one thing after another, how much water had I drank, had I walked that day, closing up and removing the dip from the table so that I couldn’t eat the dip, and on and on.  At this point, I was very perturbed.  The conversation had gone from being supportive, to teasing, to nagging.  And I decided that enough was enough.  The straw broke the camel’s back.

This isn’t the first time this has happened in our house.  It often happens with the kids who can be playing and laughing one minute while wrestling and then BOOM!  One of them has had enough and it turns into a free for all fight with someone crying (Yes. I have girls.  It ALWAYS ends up with someone crying.)  But, the trick is to keep this from happening, we need to know when the situation turns from being ok and fun, to being a problem.  And that is the tricky part.  As Christian spouses, we need to know when to stop.

That point of when to stop is not the same for every person or for every situation.  But, there are usually some clues.  Jesus saw the clues and as Scripture says, he went off into the region near the desert with his disciples and stayed out of the public eye for a bit.  I also saw the clues (rather felt them with the increased breathing, the higher blood pressure and the louder tone {yes, the kids would call it yelling} of voice that I was using) and decided to go off into the desert for a bit (which means I went for a walk for a bit by myself and then came and cornered myself in my office working on accounts payable and reading the Scriptures until my vitals returned to a somewhat more normal rate).

But, just as the Jews looked for Jesus as they prepared for the Passover, my kids are now looking for me for the nightly rituals.  So, back into the public I go, albeit hopefully with a lot less straw on my back.  Hopefully, my time with Jesus walking, reading, and working has lightened my straw load so that one piece won’t break me again.  So, I’m off to sing, “I’ll love you forever….”

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