It's a Wonderful Life but it's a Lot.

I struggle with people’s occasional (?) weirdness. Weirdness defined as not thinking the way I think, which is of course the right and only way.  I feel hurt, confused and “What?” “Oh,” “Okay,” and “WhatEVER” about it. Makes me not want  to be vulnerable and offer my something to be rejected. Makes me want to sit in my house in a butt-pocketed, well-worn La-Z-Boy with the same exact routine which does not involve getting involved. Makes me not want to give back, give out, give away. Makes me want to give up.

I’m reminded of a profound recovery truth, “They’re not doing it to me, they’re just doing it”. Sometimes folks are just acting out their illnesses, baggage, woundedness or frustration that is not mine to know. As my prof says, “It affects me, but it’s not about me.” Maybe it is about me, and thus I might need to take a look at myself. Do I have a part?

Involvement with humans is like one of those mud runs. It’s exhausting, messy, sometimes great fun, and always an adventure.  You meet fantastic people and annoying people. Some push you down and some push you on. In the middle of it we cry out loud, “And I volunteered for this — why?” At the end you lick your wounds, hose yourself down, high five a new friend and say, “We made it.”  You forget the pain, acknowledge the miracle of tenacity and sign up again. Eh — what’s life in an easy chair without people? Boring and fruitless (but a little bit appealing – I know, right?)

When we love someone who is self-destructing, we live in the blue diamond mud run for which we never signed up. It seems a labyrinth with no goal except the elusive finish and we know the finish line might not be something to celebrate. Still, what’s the alternative, so we just keep going. This act of plodding is where the magic happens. At least that’s the view from where God is. Pushing through the mud is how we grow.

We are so results driven, so into return-on-investment and outcomes, that we might not see that God is into our perseverance maybe even more than the end game. In the just keep going are rewards and the most enthusiastic two thumbs up from God that I might ever know. He’s waiting at the finish line, and also running alongside with a water bottle, blister tape and a hand up in the sinking and stuck.

God gets it because He’s been there. Imagine being a contributing community member for 30 years, then announcing super good news to all people which then leads to your false conviction, torture and death.  First they’re excited and then they want to kill you. One could watch and conclude, “What was the point of that? Shoulda kept Your head down.”  There turned out to be a huge point.

I used to say that (sometimes quite loudly) in those super hard years of parenting. “What is the point of all this, God?” There was, turns out, a pretty big point and there continues to be a point.

“And not only this, but we also exult in out tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” *

There is a point. You may not see it or believe it, but there definitely is a point.

“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened; vision cleared; ambition inspired, and success achieved.” Helen Keller


*Romans 5