“Regardless of your personal situation, regardless of your heartaches and pains, remember that it can always be worse.
We are all blessed. We just don’t always see it. But, if you quiet yourself, if you look around you, if you listen to the whisperings of your heart, you’ll hear it. You’ll hear the sounds of God working in your life. You’ll see Him around you. You’ll see your own blessings.”
Little did I know that these words–my words–would be a challenge once written.
As I clicked “publish” on the above post one week ago today, my phone rang. And within one minute, my world changed. Yet again.
My dad was calling with bad news…my grandmother died very unexpectedly.
So, here’s a quick recap of 2013 so far:
- January–my paternal grandfather died
- February–diagnosed with multiple sclerosis
- March–my maternal grandmother died
I’m not one for superstitions, but I’m starting to think that there may be some truth to the number 13 being unlucky. At this point, if I’m still standing in June, I think we’re doing good, don’t you?
I had just written about finding blessings in a world full of heartache and pain, and now I felt as if I was being challenged to follow my own advice. I sat in silence for a moment, letting this loss sink in. Memories and thoughts of my grandmother flooded my mind and heart, bringing an immense sadness. I waited for anger. There was none. I waited for self-pity–after all, how could this happen to me? I just finished IV treatments! There was no self-pity. I waited for cynicism. There was none. I waited for feelings of “that’s not fair!” That never came either.
All that came was sorrow and loss.
My own feelings puzzled me. It seemed like I should be angry. Why won’t God just give me a break this year?!? Why is it one thing after another? Why can’t I just have one really good day?!? I had just finished IV treatment a few hours earlier; I had just taken out the IV. Why couldn’t I have just enjoyed being MS symptom free for a little while? These are thoughts I would’ve normally had. But instead, I had a calm about a very chaotic situation…and that confused me. I struggled to find the source of the calm. Good Lord, I’ve actually flipped my lid. I’m calm because I’ve actually lost my mind.
And then it hit me. I wasn’t losing my mind. In actuality, it was the exact opposite. I had an unbelievable moment of clarity. It didn’t matter why my grandmother was gone. It didn’t matter that this year has been horrendous. It was completely irrelevant. The fact of the matter is that bad things happen every day.
Maybe I’ve matured. Maybe I’ve hardened. Maybe I’ve gained wisdom. Maybe I’ve just gotten used to crappy things happening.
Or maybe, just maybe, it’s something more. Maybe the change within me is one of faith. I wholeheartedly believe that the trials of this world will serve some greater purpose, whether here or in the afterlife. I have faith that, in the end, all will be well. And, even though I’ve said these things in the past, this was the first time that I completely felt them. I felt a trust in God like never before. There’s no need to worry; there’s no need to question; there’s no need to analyze. If I just rest in Him, lean into Him, trust in Him, then all will be okay.
I have no control over things. None of us do really. We’re disillusioned into thinking that we have our lives “together,” that we can control our lives, molding them into whatever we wish. And, we definitely do have a certain amount of control–responsibility–over our lives. We can control our behaviors, our actions, our thoughts. But, we cannot control what happens around us.
If I’ve learned any lesson this year, it has been that I am not in control of anything. I did not choose to lose 2 grandparents this year. I did not choose to get sick. I did, however, choose to react with positivity, even when it was extremely difficult. I did choose to try to make the best of each situation. I did choose to move forward with life.
I know that bad things are going to continue to happen. I could publish this post and get another bad-news phone call. I could be challenged, once again, to battle an uneasy situation. I could be challenged to follow my own advice. But, I must have faith this world has more to offer than just sorrow, confusion, and anger. I must trust in God that He won’t give me any trials that are too much for me. I must continue to lean into Him, to rest in Him…especially when challenged.
I choose to trust in Him.
And, with that being said, I’m throwing caution to the side and clicking “Publish” in 3…2…1…