You may have heard the phrase “The straw that broke the Camel’s back” before. While that seems like a ridiculous notion, that something as light as a piece of straw could break anything, there is a breaking point for everything. Camels are known for being able to travel long distances in the harsh desert, and even carry burdens as large as 1000 pounds on its back. A wise owner of any creature is careful to keep it from being overburdened or overworked, but a foolish or unknowledgeable owner might overestimate the Camel’s physical capabilities.
I have read the “The Parable of the Prodigal Son” a thousand times. I have heard pastors draw out from the older son’s conversation at the end of this parable.
Here is that conversation.
28 “The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. 29 But he answered his father, ‘Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. 30 But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!’
I find myself frustrated in my current season, fighting feelings of inadequacy as I am struggling to move forward into the state of being I want to thrive in. Sometimes, honestly, a lot of times, this season feels as though I am climbing a sand dune. But the sand is loose and the dune angled steeply. I stay in the same place or slide backwards losing visual progress despite my effort. I get frustrated and I blame myself because I see it as failure. I laugh because I get nowhere and am enjoying the exhaustion of effort and ridiculousness of it all.
“Just keep looking at the green dot. Focus on it. You need to look at the green dot.” It was a Saturday afternoon, and I was lying in bed thinking these thoughts over and over as I put all my energy into focusing on a particular lime green polka dot on my sheets. I spent hours staring at that dot on that day, paralyzed with fear that if I didn’t concentrate on it fully I would just disappear and cease to exist.