I’ve been avoiding you.
I’m tired of the emotional roller coaster life has been. I prefer a mellow drama to a melodrama.
It is Easter Sunday. It's an important day in my religious calendar, one which always gives me much to reflect on, consider, contemplate.
The struggles which face my family are still here, still urgent, though Brenda has had a couple of good days here and there, testimony to the power of prayer.
Life is messy. Sometimes it is beyond messy, it is dirty, filthy, hurtful.
It isn’t supposed to be like this. It’s a beautiful world. We were created to be caretakers of it. We were to live peaceful lives among the wonders of creation, communing each evening with The Lord. But we mucked that up, that relationship. We mucked up the rest of it as well.
It seems to me I am wading calf deep in the messiness of life... skin problems, marital problems, legal challenges to my children. Challenges large, and irritations small. And just like when I wade too quickly in physical muck, these recent challenges threaten to trip me up.
But I remain steady. I just keep at what I know is true, my Lord, my shepherd.
In Oregon we have a lot of rivers. I am deeply involved in a project studying one of our local rivers, the Molalla. When crossing a river it is easy to get tripped up when the water reaches one’s thigh. The currents tug and push and swirl unexpectedly. When I cross such rivers I have found it easier to avoid stumbling by watching something steady on the bank ahead of me. I feel my way forward with my feet, and move slowly, methodically, toward a tree or a large rock. But if I let my eyes focus on the swirling waters tugging at my legs, then I can lose my sense of balance, I slip, fall.
It’s the same with life. If I focus too closely on the currents pushing against me I know I can slip.
I think that is what Brenda does. She becomes so focused on our challenges her faith waivers. I understand that.
Life is messy. And human beings have dirtied the waters of our lives just as much as we have dirtied the waters of the Willamette, the Mississippi, the Hudson.
I started studying the book of Job when our first child died. I thought it might give me insight into suffering. It did. Not so much about why we suffer, or how we might avoid it, but rather on how the faithful are to handle the difficulties of life.
The answer is: stay true.
I know God is good, I have faith, and I will hold to that.
I despise what humans have done to this world, the nasty chemicals in our rivers, the pavement covering living soil, the melting glaciers. I despise the causes behind the drowning polar bears and the invasive species which choke the life along the banks of our lovely local river.
But it isn’t much different than all the nastiness which cover our lives, the suffering that comes from having freewill and the opportunities which spring from being free to take more than one’s share, to take control over that which should be free.
I am probably a much greater lover of science than most Christ followers, but the love of learning how the universe works does not blind me to the greatest truth of all. There is a creator who loves me. He took part in His creation by becoming a man and lived a life not so unlike my own. I know Him to be real because He lives within me.
So... I wade on, through the churning muck. Brenda’s emotions swing this way and that. I do not try to control where she goes, what she feels. I will continue to be supportive of her, love her. While I keep my eyes on the steady sight of my Lord on the far shore.
We have walked together for a long time. Or nearly together. We have traveled in the same direction, though perhaps it has been too often parallel paths. Perhaps we have even gotten out of sight of each other. I hope to keep our paths together, but I can not make her choices. We shall see.