When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had been there a long time, he said to him, ‘Do you want to be made well?’ The sick man answered him, ‘Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; and while I am making my way, someone else steps down ahead of me.’ John 5:6-7
Whiners really tend to get under my skin. I can’t say for sure, but it seems fairly evident from the sick man’s answer that whining is a way of life for him and if Jesus heals him he is either going to have to stop whining or he is going to have to find something new to whine about. Jesus must have known this because despite the man’s evasive answer he healed him anyway. There! Now go and whine about this!
How often do I whine in response to an offer of help? When someone offers to help me do I say “yeah, sure that would be great,” and then get on with it? Or do I feel the need to whine a bit about my situation first? Is whining a way of covering up my embarrassment over the situation? Is it a way of avoiding personal responsibility? I don’t know, but for some reason the man’s answer resonates with me and that makes me uncomfortable. It might be a small thing compared to some of the other things I do that keep me from being fully myself, but it’s the little things we are not even aware of that erode us the most.
I think that this is what Lent is about – discovering those small, barely noticeable things that erode us. I notice when someone else whines, but when I do it I am pretty clueless. As I practice paying attention to these tiny details, it is my prayer that I learn to stop whining and start owning who I am.