Last Sunday I drove to the camp in Gibsland. I was playing taxi service for my bride.
One of the pleasures of the camp is the front porch swing. Many of the comments from the community revolve around seeking an invitation to come sit on our swing. I’ll tell folks they are invited to swing away.
My bride and I were gently swinging on Sunday afternoon and the swing was making the swing sound. Since it is basically new, it is usually a quiet swing. Sunday afternoon it was singing like a porch swing will do at times. My bride said, “It was not making this sound yesterday when I was sitting here.” She looked at ME and said, “You are a strain on my chain.” When I stood up, the chain on the swing stopped singing.
Indeed I was the strain on the chain.
Her phrasing was too good to pass up.
What causes the “strain on your chain?”
We handle the big things in life pretty well. When there is sickness, death or life is falling apart people seem to know that and swoop in with care, support and encouragement. In the Methodist ethos if we can’t fix it, we will bring a casserole and at least make it tasty.
I’m talking about those small things that upend your plans for the day or send your good mood into a tailspin. We call them the “straw the broke the camel’s back.” Most are minor annoyances that on most days don’t bother us, but when our plate is full, drive us to the brink.
Headed east at the foot of the church street bridge there is clearly a no-left-turn-sign hanging with the traffic lights. When I’m in a hurry to get home and someone is turning left illegally, that is a “strain on my chain.”
When stranger comes to the office and asks to see a minister for counseling, and they unwind a long story of woe and suffering only to conclude with some half-witted request for ten dollars to purchase gas for the SUV so they can get to Houston to see an imaginary parent, that is a “strain on my chain.”
When folks gossip without bothering to fact check that is a “strain on my chain.”
The Natchitoches Parish Council is a huge strain on my chain.
You get the idea don’t you? You have your own lists of those things that strain your chain.
We all have people and events that drive us to the verge. They are a strain on the chain.
I have found those moments are great moments to say a quick prayer to God for patience and for the ability to love the one straining my chain.
Because Jesus said, “You can’t point out others until you realize that YOU strain someone else’s chain.
Please forgive me if I have been a strain on your chain.