Sometimes the hard things in life bring nothing but ruin. Sometimes burnout leads to depression. Sometimes injustice leads to violence. Sometimes brokenness leads to self-hatred. Sometimes doubt leads to a loss of faith. Sometimes death removes all hope. There are hard things and there are harder things.
The good news (although it may not sound that way) is that every once in a while we get a little space, a little quiet, a little distance from the suffering. Sometimes a friend comes by the house. Sometimes Jesus writes in the sand and distracts us from the shame. Sometimes the hermit thrush sings outside our window and we sense a moment. A moment when we are no longer enmeshed in what ails us. A moment of freedom. A moment when we get to choose. Even when we are cornered by terrible pain, still, sometimes freedom rises up in us and we get to choose. We get to choose whether our helplessness draws us toward or away from prayer. We get to choose whether our grief deepens our empathy or sours us into resentment. We get to choose whether to allow the difficulties we have suffered to break or expand us.
And if we are able to listen for life, if we are able to tilt our ear toward the frozen ground, if we are willing to be honest about the pain, sometimes there is a gift in what we have been given. Sometimes the veil of tears lifts. Sometimes, our suffering can be redeemed and made useful, our torn heart suddenly opened into a passageway for receiving and returning love. –Mark Yaconelli, The Gift of Hard Things, pp. 147-148
Beautiful truth. Not my wisdom but something I read and re-read to myself time and time again.
So sometimes I get to giggle with the grandkids. Sometimes the Minnesota Twins win a baseball game (actually lately this is quite often!). We had two grand football parties opening NFL weekend with friends from all circles of our lives. Recently (and finally says my soul) John and I were able to get a few days at a beach, just the two of us, and I read two books, one being straight useless-reading fiction, there in the sun and sand with our dog Louie. Thanks to technology I was able to watch a Minnesota Twins game on my device while sitting on the beach!
These are the good things in my good life. I don’t speak of them often enough. Yes my life has harder things in it. Mostly because I live into the vulnerable brave decisions before me with this calloused broken heart. So when I read this,
Sometimes, our suffering can be redeemed and made useful, our torn heart suddenly opened into a passageway for receiving and returning love.
I say…this is a good life.