I inherited my pressure cooker from my mother-in-law. It is at least 40 years old, we have replaced the seal but otherwise it is in its original state and continues to produce soups and stews with speed and efficiency. Sometimes I overheat it. At this point a tiny valve in the lid lifts so that the excess steam built up inside can vent.
In the weeks since my mother died, I had to deal with registering her death, winding up her bank accounts, settling the fees at her nursing home, and many other tasks, whilst organising her funeral and responding to condolences. My own life went on the back burner and I sealed down my grief to deal with later. The inevitable happened! The valve blew and I erupted into hissing anger with my family over nothing!
This week I have taken things more slowly, returned to favourite pastimes, been out with friends, and sometimes just sat and cried. It has made me think of the pressure Jesus was under during his trial – false accusations, a hostile colonial power, betrayal, and denial. How did he stay so calm? The answer to my mind is that he knew how to retreat in prayer, he took life’s troubles one person at a time. My Bible reading notes this week have pointed out that Jesus was sometimes shameless, in human eyes, in the way he prioritised the weak and the lost, whether it was Pilate, whose respect he gained, or the thief who was promised a place with him in paradise.
It is OK to weep, to withdraw when we need to, to let others wait, as Jairus and the sisters of Lazarus did. In faith, all that is needful is accomplished in God’s time. It is good to hang on to that truth and not turn the heat up too high!
As I finished writing this post the news was announced of the death of the Duke of Edinburgh, a man who embraced the pressure of being part of the royal family and dedicated himself to the country and the crown for over 70 years. My thoughts and prayers are with the Queen and the royal family in their great loss, and ours.