Now, everyone has a journey, and everyone’s journey will – at some point in life – deliver pain. While each story varies, and some suffer much more than others, we never quite know how or when we will be thrown into our great struggle.
I had been living my life as if I had already survived all my tests. Confident that the worst was behind me and that now all would be safe, secure.
I admit, I never saw it coming.
Blindsided by my own instinct to trust whole-heartedly and always see the good in everyone, I set myself up for tremendous injury. It’s not the first time, and it’s a lesson I still haven’t learned. Why? Because I don’t want to be jaded, hardened, cold. I don’t want to move through the world with a chip on my shoulder, convinced that everyone is out to get me and that no one can be trusted. I want to love, freely and completely, with my heart wide open and ready for whatever this mad world wants to throw my way. Bring it on! I’m ready. I can outlove the worst of what you deal me.
Ok, that’s how I like to think of myself. But the truth is, I’m not always so strong. Nor am I always confident I can survive this test. Not this one.
So how will I survive with my soul intact? Where do I find God in all of the pain?
I find Him in the still, quiet moments, when my head stops spinning and my heart stops splitting just long enough for my soul to remind me that I am here for a reason, that I have worth (even if others do not see it), and that my journey is not yet done.
I find God in the tears, both the slow-trickle silenced drops and the heart-wrenching, can’t breathe, curled in a ball, fall to my knees as I sob kind of meltdowns.
I find Him in the first sliver of sunlight that squeezes its way through my bedroom blinds to say, “You are here. Breathe and celebrate this life. Give thanks. Always. Give thanks.”
I find Him in the laughter of my children, wild and limitless and full of joy. Each moment a miracle. A gift.
I find Him in the calls of the farm, roosters crowing, hens cackling, ducks dragging their songs across these hills. In the low grunt boastings of the ram in rut and the gentle pants of my dog on her back, her belly scratched, her tail wagging, her contentment contagious.
I find Him in the sound of gravel, of coming home. Of textbooks and backpacks being plopped, dead weight, onto the floors the tables, clunks and sighs of dropping that load, setting our spines and our minds free from the constraints of the classroom. Of the demands and the pressures to do well, to please, to give endlessly all day, every day, and still have more to give one another when we drop those loads.
I find Him in the smell of morning coffee, of another day dawning. And the sounds of music, trombone, piano, guitar, plucked strings and bended wind sharing yet another story, another emotion, another reminder: “Life is good. Wake up. Be aware. Notice these blessings. Every minute. Every day.”
I find God in the snuggles and family hugs. And he’s there between held hands at the supper table, while the smoke curls up from simmering soup bowls as if to say, “Take your time. Keep those heads bowed one second more. Give thanks.”
Where is God in all of this? In the madness, the betrayal, the suffering, the pain? He is here, always, among the broken shards of this world, ready, waiting to remind us, if we listen, that the best is yet to come.
No, not that. That’s not it at all. I see now, among these fragments and scars, the best is already here. Right now. All around us. We only have to take our time. Let it in. Be aware. Give thanks. And find God, everywhere, at all times.
And there, where God waits, we will find love.