Life on Life’s Terms

Just as my friend, Alison, received news that her mother died unexpectantly, her daughter was admitted for major surgery to remove a benign tumor lodged in close to her spine.

Deb’s father had what appeared to be a stroke on Black Friday, and after two tense days in the hospital, Deb’s mother had an emotional breakdown.

The Kid is way behind in his Spanish class and will probably not catch up before the end of the semester.

The Kid lacks the maturity to realize that he is responsible for his failure in the class by his obstinate refusal to do the work. It’s easy to see where The Kid is manufacturing his own misery, soliciting his own suffering. But what about Alison and Deb? What did they do to deserve these hardships? They didn’t invite trouble to their doorstep, and yet it came. It’s the age-old question, why do bad things happen to good people? The honest answer is that I don’t know. A different question is how to do we cope when life tosses a balloon full of oil-based paint into the cogs of our daily groove.

Resist the urge to think that we are alone in our mess. Everyone gets a chance at the crappy season. It’s an all skate. Just like the first time you had a broken heart, you were sure that no one else ever felt as bad as you, and yet there are thousands of broken heart songs in which to take solace. All of us have seasons where it sucks, where the hits keep on coming, where we feel like Job and wonder if we pissed off the gods.

Realize that we will get through this rough patch and that nothing lasts forever. The phrase, “This too shall pass” comes to mind. We will recover. The Kid will reach the end of the semester. Alison and her daughter spent a celebratory weekend in New Orleans last week. Deb’s mom and dad will recuperate together and over time they will be ok.

Remember the times that we have recovered in the past. Faith is hope with a track record. When we look in the rear view mirror of our experiences we can see that we made it through tough times before. Sometimes we can can even see a reason or a benefit from that horrible time. We may not be able to see where the path is leading right now, but we HOPE that it leads to something different, better, that relief from this phase of our lives will come. After going through some of the trials and tribulations, heartbreaks, and strife, we will remember that we can, and we will get through the current situation.

When we can resist, realize, and remember, then we can move through these phases of our spiritual and emotional development with grace and without creating more misery. Suffering happens, misery is optional.

Just for today
I’m going to resist the victim or martyr mentality, and I’ll realize that I’m not alone, and I’ll remember that this too shall pass.

God, you didn’t bring me this far to drop me on my head today. Even if at the moment it feels like you’re leaving me alone and causing all this crazy stuff in my life, help me cling to the promise that you are NOT causing my strife and that you are here to stand with me in the storm.

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