Sometimes the Creator sets us on a perilous journey with no compass, no provisions, and bound for a dark and foreboding place. We are sent with the mandate there will be no turning back nor respite along the way.
Now, if that weren’t enough, we are supposed to say — thank you?
Welcome to the world of Job.
Feeling a little abandoned? Feeling a little frightened? I’m just saying at times life can get pretty damn rough!
Marsha shared in our holiday letter a little of the path we were on last year:
“On September 5, twin granddaughters, Margo and Annalee, were born. They are rare, identical, “mono-mono” twins who shared an amniotic sac and placenta. This created risks during Kelly’s pregnancy that required her to live in the hospital from July 15 until their birth, two months premature.”
“At the other end of the life cycle, Marsha’s father, Charles, is transitioning into a memory care residence, and her mother, Doris, will soon move to an adjacent senior community. We feel sadness, and also embrace this new phase in their journeys with love and gratitude for them. They will be married 65 years next August.”
These two events share simple truths:
- The path of life is hard.
- Birthing is hard.
- Dying is hard.
And, for everyone…
- Living is hard.
And for many, excruciatingly so.
During Kelly’s pregnancy we never knew if the twins would survive the day, and carried with us the knowledge that they could become hopelessly entangled in each other’s umbilical chords and die.
My father-in-law is slowly slipping into a world known only to him and God. Each time we see him or speak with him, we wonder if this will be the day he no longer recognizes us.
And yet, our friends reminded us we were far from alone in our walk with uncertainty, that indeed it was something we shared in common.
I remember the year I stopped drinking (1985) I was addled with uncertainty when a friend of mine suggested a book, The Road Less Traveled, by M. Scott Peck. The book opens with this priceless sentence:
“Life is difficult. [emphasis mine] This is a great truth, one of the greatest truths. It is a great truth because once we truly see this truth, we transcend it. Once we truly know that life is difficult — once we truly understand and accept it — then life is no longer difficult. Because once it is accepted, the fact that life is difficult no longer matters.”
The thought burst into my brain with a thunderclap! You mean my experience is the norm, not the exception? I’ve not been singled out for special punishment?
Peck went on to observe:
“The truth is that our finest moments are most likely to occur when we are feeling deeply uncomfortable, unhappy, or unfulfilled. For it is only in such moments, propelled by our discomfort, that we are likely to step out of our ruts and start searching for different ways or truer answers.”
True enough, the seeds planted during a difficult year always have rendered a bountiful harvest. So it is now.
Truly — in embarking on a long farewell to our beloved patriarch, grieving his irreversible demise, we say in the fullness of time: Goodbye — Blessed be the Lord. Amen.
Truly — in receiving Annalee and Margo into a much broken world, we say in the fullness of time: Welcome — Blessed be the Lord. Amen.
Just a thought…
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