*A portion of the following post was written a year and a half ago. For the last couple of weeks it’s been on my heart so I went back to it and reread it just now. I updated the “list” as life’s circumstances have changed, but the truth remains: on any given day, somewhere in the world, really hard things happen, and we need to be gentle with one another…and even with ourselves.
Circumstances change constantly, so there will NEVER be a time or season when every. single. thing. in. life. is. smooth. So, then what? My Mom told me before she died that some days she was waiting for the cancer to be gone before she did such and such. Thing is, the cancer never disappeared…
“We’re not keeping quiet, not on your life! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace. There’s far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can’t see now will last forever.” – Scripture remix, The Message, 2Cor4
On any given day, what matters is that I grew up loved and by growing up in a loving home, I, in turn, learned how to love, or at least was shown love and grace is what matters. Sure, there have been times when remodeling the kitchen sounded like a good idea, but then, well, then I prayed for perspective. Life does that to you when something real happens. When something happens over which you have no control…when you did everything you knew to do, yet the outcome wasn’t what you wanted or dreamed of.
On any given day, 25,000 children under the age of 5 pass away. On any given day, somewhere in the world, a husband or a wife live out the words, “Til death do us part.” Accidents, natural disasters, sickness, and natural aging all lead to death, on any given day. And the tragic thing is, as humans we contribute to this heartache by creating scenarios where more sadness is fostered, through wars and abuse and murder and hatred, offenses kept, comparison, bullying, whatever…because there isn’t enough devastation in the world?! Because when did hitting back ever solve what was at the core in the first place?
Over the course of the last few months, on any given day, these are just a few of the things about which I talk to God, not understanding, not being able to control or manipulate it, but just going before Him, trusting He sees “The Other 90%” and that He is good and has a plan, despite my limited perspective: (*updated list as of 12/15/14)
- A friend whose husband just
went into hospice care last weekdied the day before yesterday
- Friends who are single moms, working so hard to support herself and her kid(s)
- A friend whose husband is in a medically induced coma because he was injured so severely in an accident last week
- A friend whose 6 year old daughter’s heart finally stopped beating after a sweet, brave, beautiful, little life, last week
- A friend of a friend whose Dad was just a victim of a homicide
- A friend whose husband has been ill and out of work for a year and a half without a diagnosis
- A friend who is an only child whose Dad is aged and frail and nearing his last days on this earth, longing to be with his bride
- A friend whose husband just learned the cancer has returned
- A friend whose loved one is trapped in the cycle of addiction
- A friend whose son has been sick and out of school for months
- A friend with a child who has a terminal illness
- A friend who is navigating life and the holidays as a single woman after a recent divorce
- Friends who have kids with special needs
- Friends trying not to grieve while their sick baby is still with them
- Friends who have lost children
- Friends whose marriage is rocky but holding
- Friends (*and myself) who are trying to make sense and peace with the political, racial, and religious brokenness in our country
- Friends, Sisters, and Families grieving the holiday season because someone they loved dearly died and won’t be around to celebrate
And these are just a few. Add to it all the things on your heart and the people in your life and then add to that things that take place in our communities, our countries, and all around the world, and I’d say there is a lot of stuff with which we could feel overwhelmed.
I’m grateful I can take actions to encourage others, though I know I can’t fix any of them. At the same time, I’m also very grateful I don’t run the Universe, but I trust in the One who does, and even though I hate pain and suffering, on any given day He promises to be near to those whose hearts are wrecked…and from experience, I know He’s not a liar.
*Waiting for our circumstances to change in order to do such and such is one thing, but right now in the midst of our ever-changing circumstances where life is really hard is exactly the right time to be gentle with one another, and ourselves, and to extend grace. It may just be the very best gift under your tree this year…