“You have had a hard life,” she said. I deflected the comment.
Later, musing in the early morning, I had to agree. I, like most people, have had a hard life. I have made bad choices. I have made choices influenced by a family environment I didn’t understand. I have made choices before I understood my own gifts and personality. And choices I did not make, circumstances beyond my control, have contributed to this “hard life.”
So what is there to say about a hard life? How do any of us reckon the costs or benefits of a life? And once we have put life’s experiences in the cost or benefit column, what do we say about the total we arrive at?
I think the best we can say as we look back (in my case after embodying that life for seven decades) is something like this:
I lived through it. I survived. I turned some costs into benefits and some benefits into costs. Many times I even contributed to the total sum. I spent a lifetime learning who God is and what role such a God plays in my life. I learned to use my passion wisely. I learned to give away what I know when it is appropriate. I learned to use my voice for encouragement; I learned to use my voice for protest.
I learned to find beauty and wonder in small things: long times of uninterrupted silence and the chirping of a small, exuberant bird on my balcony at sunrise; the giggle of a child and the wisdom of an old friend; the warmth of a bright sun and the plopping of raindrops from a gray sky; a clever or beautiful turn of phrase and the greedy luxury of a long book; a bowl of cold green grapes and a many-flavored meal when I am finally hungry; the joy of opening the blinds to a fresh new day and the closing of the blinds to a welcome darkening of the world around me.
I learned that when I need instruction in life, I turn to the life and words of Jesus. When I am battered from all sides by outright lies or the ill-considered use of the word truth, I am learning to trust his Truth. When I mourn over the pain and evil in the world, I am learning to trust his promise of a beautiful new Age.
As the Serenity Prayer counsels, I am continually learning to accept the things I cannot change and to change the things I can. And, most crucially, I am learning to recognize the path of wisdom to choose these processes appropriately.
Sometimes I create ease in my life by denying situations that should be taken seriously. In other times of self-pity, I think that some hard things are just too hard to bear. But I have learned that whether life seems easy or hard, I live in the available and coming Kingdom of God. I rest in the conviction that no matter how easy or hard I take or make life, I am safe in the love and grace of God.
Karen, Thank you for this profound and beautiful post.Your wisdom continues to help make sense of life and gives us hope. Blessings and peace, Carol
On Sun, Mar 5, 2017 at 6:04 PM, Living as Apprentices wrote:
> livingasapprentices posted: “”You have had a hard life,” she said. I > deflected the comment. Later, musing in the early morning, I had to agree. > I, like most people, have had a hard life. I have made bad choices. I have > made choices influenced by a family environment I didn’t unders” >