“Life is difficult”

In the summer of 1978, I spent a couple of months in California with my cousins. We had a blast and made many memories. This past week I had the pleasure of going home to Montana for a family reunion and my cousins from California were there. As you can imagine, there was much reminiscing, catching up and laughing.  And, as you can also imagine, we had all changed quite a bit!

As I was pondering the reunion on the long drive home, I was thinking about my cousins and how much life had passed since we last saw each other. In the past 39 years, we had all experienced joy, but also a lot of sorrow and pain. Divorce, death, lost dreams, lost mobility. And then I was thinking of the little ones at our get-together. They have such “freshness,” with a lifetime of dreams and hopes ahead of them. But they, too, will go through hardships. None of us gets out of life without some kind of brokenness or woundedness.

Leonard Cohen in his song, “Anthem,” says this: “Ring the bells that still can ring; Forget your perfect offering; There is a crack, a crack in everything; That’s how the light gets in.”

Our wounds may be cracks in our armor, but it is through those cracks that God’s light gets in. It is through our wounds that we learn our lessons and where growth happens.  It is through our wounds that we discover the need for God’s grace.

The opening line in M. Scott Peck’s book “The Road Less Traveled,” is “Life is difficult.” He goes on to explain that once we accept that fact, it actually makes life less difficult. We long for happiness and comfort, but suffering is to be expected. Again, none of us gets out of life without it.

Jesus, of course, was not immune to suffering. He gets what it’s like and he walks alongside us during ours. We were never promised a pain-free life if we follow Jesus, but we are promised a new outlook on life. As one of my cousin’s children was explaining a tough situation she was in, she said that she was using this tough time to draw closer to God and to try to be a better person.  Suffering can either make us bitter or better. It’s our choice.

Being Human connection: The artwork on this post is by Kali Parsons. It is entitled: “Light Broke Through at the Edges of her Wounds.” Kali says this about the work: “I’m aware lately that so many that inhabit this beautiful planet of ours are wounded in some way. Our stories share similarities, though no two are alike. I think we all must consider being more tender with others as well as ourselves so we may allow the light to break through at the edges of our wounds.” (Her blog found here)

Isaiah 53:3-5:

He was despised and rejected by mankind,
    a man of suffering, and familiar with pain.
Like one from whom people hide their faces
    he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.
Surely he took up our pain
    and bore our suffering,
yet we considered him punished by God,
    stricken by him, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions,
    he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
    and by his wounds, we are healed.