Jacob was left alone; and a man wrestled with him until daybreak.
When the man saw that he did not prevail against Jacob, he struck him on the hip socket; and Jacob’s hip was put out of joint as he wrestled with him.
Then he said, “Let me go, for the day is breaking.” But Jacob said, “I will not let you go, unless you bless me.”
So he said to him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Jacob.”
Then the man said, “You shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with God and with humans, and have prevailed.”
(Genesis 32:24-28, part of a reading for Pentecost 21C)
It must have been quite a night. Jacob sent his family across the river ahead of him: his wives, his children, his servants, his livestock, all his property as a highly mobile desert patriarch. Was he looking for peace and quiet, or did he anticipate a struggle, or an opportunity?
In the middle of the night, at mid-life or really past it as I edge toward 50, I am struggling with God in the night and trying to call it an opportunity. How am I a different person than I was ten years ago? Or than I was at 24, the age of my oldest child, the age I became his mother? (A terrifying thought! Who ever rated me ready to care for an infant when I was so young myself?)
We’re shifting at home, readjusting our view of what life had been, trying to see what the future will be and bring. I have a new call, and a very sick dog, and my marriage is over.
I am striving with God and humans.
I wake in the night, and I wonder what’s next? And I look back at this year and I think I can never call it the worst year ever, no matter what, because my second son flew out of a car and lived, because all three of my children are wonderful, because I found out who really cares about me, and because two people who cannot live together anymore are doing their best to be merciful about it while caring for a beloved pet who is likely nearing his end.
But like Jacob, I am out of joint, and I may walk with a limp. So call me Israel.