Powerless, but not useless

It’s 2:25 AM and I’ve been working on this for an hour. Inspiration often strikes in the middle of the night.  I’ll wake up with a crystal-clear thought or an image that needs to be written down.  So I do.

But tonight is different.

I’m sitting in an uncomfortable molded chair in ER room #1 at our local hospital.  The room is awkward.  It reminds me of myself in fifth grade or so.  It’s got a lot of gadgets and it doesn’t fit in with any other rooms.  As comfortable as they try to make the room for its unfortunate occupants, it will always be stuck on a fence between being a barely comfortable space and something of a multi-purpose laboratory and ambulance.

Tonight I write because there’s nothing else that I can do.  I feel completely powerless.

I can’t help her.  I can’t fix it.  I can’t change anything.  I can’t take away pain.  I can wish, but there’s no pond and I have no pennies.  There isn’t a book to find that will help me solve the problems.  There isn’t a website with all the answers.  (WebMD doesn’t have all the answers… or so I’ve been told.)

I feel completely powerless.

It’s been more than a week of this in some capacity or another.  Routine ran off with Normal to find a commune in the woods and build an onion farm.  The crazy has just kept coming.  At one point in the middle of last week at least half of the electronics in our house simply stopped working correctly for no particular reason.  I have a lot of electronics.  It wasn’t fun.

My faith has been tested.  Commitments have fallen through or evaporated.  Opportunities have been scarce.  Inspiration has taken a back seat.

I’ve been powerless.  But I haven’t been useless.  There’s a big difference.

The emptiness of the cup has been oh-so-evident.  Not for lack of effort, but because I’ve gone through it so much more often and so much faster.   I’ve hit my knees and the tears have flowed more this week than in a very long time.  I’ve spent more time praying, probably as a sort of coping strategy or at the very least a temporary escape from the madness.

None of those prayers were empty.  None of them were forced.  Not a single one of them was the beginning of anything.  Prayer is a continued dialogue with the Father.  Each sentence is another breath in an eternal conversation that never gets old.

And for each prayer I managed to utter, an answer has come.  Each time I went back to square one, something happened.  Life is a trust fall and answers to prayers are the hands that always catch you.

So I find myself sitting here in an uncomfortable molded chair in ER room #1 and the same answer keeps coming back to me.  I’m falling backwards and being caught, over and over and over by the same answer.

It’s ok to be powerless.  In fact, I’ve always been powerless.  But powerless and useless are not the same.




  • LOL love your observation:
    “I’m sitting in an uncomfortable molded chair in ER room #1 at our local hospital. The room is awkward. It reminds me of myself in fifth grade or so. It’s got a lot of gadgets and it doesn’t fit in with any other rooms.”
    my mind wondered even in just those few lines of how everything, every one can serve a purpose. Thank you for the freshness of your thoughts! Brother I hope we can meet some how some day and in The Salvation Army that just may be possible.

    • Perhaps someday we will meet, Tom. Thanks for the replies. I’ve enjoyed reading them. I hope you continue to enjoy the blog.


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