Monday, November 29, 2010

Growing Up

When I was a kid, I remember thinking that life basically went like this: you went to school and grew up, then you got married and had a family, picked your job, picked a house, and sailed off into the sunset of happily ever after.

Not so much.

I'm not really sure where I got all those ideas from, probably because my parents did a really good job of rolling along with life and dealing with whatever came up or not. We kids just were part of the ride of it all. Plus, when you're a kid and you don't have to be responsible for a lot of what life throws at you, when your biggest problem is that someone took the toy you wanted to play with - well, that's a lot easier.

Teenage years were rough for a variety of reasons, some of them out of my control and some of them in my control. I longed for when I'd check off all the steps mentioned above and things - LIFE, really - would get easier.

Still waiting.

Well, really, what this post is all about is that I think it's just not going to happen. This is disappointing, but it's an unchangeable reality. Life doesn't get LESS crazy, MORE predictable, MORE safe, or LESS complicated. It just keeps rolling along. Like diving into the waves, the point is to figure out how to ride it. Standing on the shore and YELLING at the ocean, DEMANDING it to "STOP with this freaking wave business!!!!" does nothing except make you look like a lunatic. And raise your blood pressure. I mean, it worked for Jesus, but he had a different situation going on. :) And heck, he didn't even have to yell!

Recently, I've asked God a lot of "why"s - the perpetual question that is pointless because it doesn't get answered and doesn't change anything. But it's been a reminder that all the craziness and suffering in this world was not God's idea either. As I've told you before, I remember being in the NICU, holding my almost-lifeless son, and told God how much my heart hurt to see Dean like this. It hurt me to know that things would be really hard for him sometimes. I distinctly remember hearing God say, "it hurts my heart, too."

We have a God who promises not that suffering will stop, but that he will be with us always through it. I am challenged to embrace life for all its twists and turns, never saying that the hard stuff was a good idea or something I'll ever sign off on, but that it comes. And it goes. And it comes. And it goes. I can choose not to embrace it and turn myself into a human time-bomb, exploding from the inside with depression, anger, and bitterness. Or I can figure out how to live in whatever circumstances I find myself. Maybe that's what Paul meant:

"I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength." (Philippians 4:12-13)


molly said...

Man, I really needed to read this today, Ali. I've been asking why way too much lately. It hit the spot. Thanks.

Unknown said...

Beatifully said, and so true.

Kevin said...

Don't give up yet, it can get easier. Put it this way, you discover ways to cope that you wish that you had known about earlier. I agree the why questions do not get answered. If we could understand God, we would be trying to be God, and that is idolatry. With the exception of insurance companies, most things get better the second time around.

Diana said...

Beautifully and honestly said, Ali. It's figuring out the whole "Emmanuel, God with us" thing in everyday life. Love ya! A good thing for me to remember during labor :)

Unknown said...

still waiting over here too. but in the meantime trying to *live* each day & cherish the trials & joys that come with it.

in theory that is. in practice it's definitely tough, isn't it?