Saturday, July 09, 2005

Meeting the Events of Life Graciously

(Can Be Such A Pain in the Butt)

I used to be the sort of perpetually sunny person who always said things could be worse. I’ve been thinking about that, and I am wondering, was I perpetually sunny because I was not an orphan with AIDS in Africa? Was I perpetually sunny because I was not born crippled, or blind, or deaf? Was I, like the Pharisees, saying thank you God that I was not born like one of them, one of those sinners? That’s nothing--to be happy, or sunny, or grateful, simply because of the storms that have not come into your life.

What happens when things do get worse? What happens when a child disappoints you, or the marriage gets a little stale, or you face financial shortcomings, and you lose privileges you always thought of as rights, such as health insurance? I’ll tell you what happens. You keep getting knocked down, and yet you keep insisting things could be worse, and the next thing you know, things have gotten worse, and your sunny disposition has gone to hell in a hand basket. I reacted by feeling sorry for myself, started poking my head out from under the rubble and saying you know, things could be better. I spent several years bemoaning how bad things were—waiting—hoping—praying--for things to just get better.

But I am slowly coming to realize that it really doesn't matter if things are "better" or "worse". I already have, or will be given, what I need to get through the day. And I am grateful, not because of the tragedy that has not touched me, and not because the tragedies that have touched me have been resolved. I am grateful because I have seen that whatever situation I find myself in, I have been provided exactly what I need at exactly the time I have needed it. I am grateful for the faithfulness of the unseen hand that steadies my equilibrium, both in the sunshine, and in the darkness.

There are a couple of other things I have learned (again) that have been helpful in changing my attitude. One is that we all suffer, in one way or the other. Am I so great that I would be exempt from suffering? No. I know this would seem painfully obvious, but in the midst of my pity party, I could see no one's pain but my own.

The other thing is the reminder that no one is expected to man the battle stations 24/7. I can take the time to rest if I need to when the battle get too intense. I can do what is necessary to take care of me.


  1. Annie, I'd say you express it very well, yourself. Glad to make your acquaintance, ma'am. Have done no more yet than read this present post, but you have me "hooked". I will be back. Peace, my friend........

  2. Back again with more time to wander around. I like to keep a book, myself, where I collect quotes and whatever that speak to me. Beyond the Spec-Ed, life has brought me to a monthly worship service at a local Rescue Mission and also one with kids at the Youth Detention Center. Such tidbits help to stir my mind for such events. It isn't all about Bible. The wife and I visited New Orleans once for about three hours and I'd love to return some day. We have friends in Pensacola and usually turn off I65 to head that way, though. Again, good to meet you, Annie........

  3. what wisdom in those words.... and they come at a very high price, eh?

  4. I have a quote I got from somewhere written in one of my journals that says "God works in and through our attempts to help ourselves" I always took that to mean that despite the dumb things I may do, He's busy running interference on my behalf. My friend Mimi from Georgia says it's o.k. to sit on the pity pot once in a while as long as you remember to flush! And one last all comes out in the wash.......and that it does. Your thoughts during the storm were much appreciated.

  5. You express this so well. I firmly believe that God does not promise us prosperity, but the ability and strength to persevere no matter what happens.

    Keep writing!


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