This is the Day

This is the day that you have made
Come be Lord of the day
(You who are my Lord)
This is the day that you have made
Come be Lord of the day

Keep an eye on the heavens and the earth
Orchestrate nature’s dance today
Keep an eye on all the people — and on me
Hold us, and embrace our hearts today

O lifter of my head, raise my eyes to you
Sweep away the clouds that would obscure my sight today
And wash away the dust that clings that would weigh me down today

I offer you my hands, I offer you my feet
My eyes and my ears, I offer you my speech
And even the inner places, where my heart is
I offer you the whole of it, be Lord of me today

This is the day that you have made
Come be Lord of the day
(You who are my Lord)
This is the day that you have made
Come be Lord of me and all the people
Come be Lord of sky and earth
Come be Lord — come, be Lord —
Come be Lord of the day.

© 1994 Marcy Prochaska, all rights reserved.

I’m easily overwhelmed. It’s good to be able to put things back in perspective, to remember who is Lord over all that overwhelms me.

In the summer of 1994 I was in Africa, overwhelmed.

A college student, I was on a short term missions trip with Wycliffe Bible Translators to see if, as I hoped, this might be a good career fit for me. Wycliffe folks work to provide people with the Bible in their own language; it takes years to learn the language, develop a suitable orthography (writing system, like an alphabet for example), teach folks how to read and write, and translate the Scriptures. I was a linguistics major precisely because I thought Wycliffe was a great way to be a missionary — a nice concrete structured task of translation, unlike the more fuzzy work of church planting or evangelism.

Our tour started in Kenya, where the eight of us heard lectures from various Wycliffe members, learned some Swahili, and saw the sights. Then, we split up. Four stayed in Kenya, where they spent a day or two each at a variety of Wycliffe sites. Two guys went to Isiro, Zaire, to spend three weeks with one missionary family, the Sawkas. Jen and I went to Egbita, a few kilometers away, to live with the Nelsons.

Up until this point, I hadn’t felt particularly overwhelmed. It was all very exciting and interesting. I especially loved the flight from Kenya, in a tiny six-seater plane — oh my! you know you’re flying when you’re in a little plane. The same flight discouraged Jen, and she felt more and more overwhelmed as our time went on. She coped by serving. I understood that this was her way of coping, and so I stayed out of the way. Being out of the way, I felt out of the way. Alone, unwanted, and possibly resented for not helping, even though if I had helped I would have gotten in Jen’s way. I had nothing to turn to; Jen also coped by playing guitar and singing, so I stayed away from that. I tried to write letters but could not bring myself to say anything. Likewise reading and journalling were unhelpful. I felt hurt and sad, and guilty for feeling such self-pity, and betrayed and abandoned because I was doing what I felt to be right and yet it hurt and was unacknowledged.

I so looked forward to rejoining our team. Then I would be welcomed again. I wouldn’t feel marginalized anymore. And I wouldn’t need to sacrifice myself to make way for another’s coping mechanism. Ha! Had I forgotten everything about my social skills, or rather, lack thereof? The rest of the team had bonded in their three weeks together. How could there be a place for me? I knew I would be tempted to withdraw defensively, to isolate myself and avoid the risk of new rejections. I fought valiantly against that temptation, I tried so hard to stay involved with the group. That hurt so much.

Towards the end of the trip, during our debriefing time, I went out to pray. I found myself praying the first two lines of this song. I found a melody, and continued the poem, sorting out the things I knew to be true, remembering both that I was just one part of God’s world, and that I was indeed part of God’s world.

During the debriefing Jen and I were able to talk out what had happened to and between us in Zaire, and we were reconciled.

I still fight the temptation to withdraw from social life because it hurts so much.

I continue to seek perspective, to remember both the bigger picture, and the significant place I have in it because God loves me.

This is the day that you have made
Come be Lord of the day

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