Sunday, March 06, 2011
Sunday Afternoon Tea
While for some people, such a day would be normal and long ago in my own journey it would have been just another day... for me in this body and in this part of the journey... such a day is a rare jewel. Just the evening before my husband had asked if I wanted to run errands together the next morning and I declined as I wasn't feeling well.
I don't talk very much about my illness as that is not the central theme of these writings... and anyone with a chronic illness knows you do your best to retain your own identity and not wear a flashing neon sign which flickers off and on... BROKEN.
Don't get me wrong, there have been hours and days and entire years when I've stomped my feet and cried and pouted and acted like a two year old whose daddy is withholding candy because of circumstances in my life.
I don't know why God allowed chronic illness to attack or any other bad thing to enter the path He has set before me. But I have learned this... when we allow suffering to have its perfect will in our life... when we know the One who was born to suffer for us... we learn that to suffer can bring its' own reward.
No, we don't learn it the first year or the second or even the sixth or seventh... but one comes to realize it is in the suffering that we cling to Him. It is in the brokenness that we are made whole. It is the pain that keeps us on the path toward that Day when we meet Him face to face. If we love Him only if He heals us... we do not truly love Him.
We in the western world do not like to hear such things. Instead we turn to teachers that tell us God makes us healthy and wealthy and if bad things happen to good people it is because they just aren't believing hard enough. Much like the little child who reminds Santa that it has to be the red bike or nothing on Christmas morning, we shake our fist at Him and say pain was not in the original agreement.
But He only has to send us back to the Owner's Manual to read the words not filtered through man's preferred theology. We live out our days on a fallen planet where there are storms and wars and famine and enemies of all kinds. There is illness and unemployment and lack and fear. We only have to look at Libya this week... Australia within the past few months... Haiti not only in the past year but for decades... or to visit the pediatric ward at the local hospital... it isn't Heaven, yet.
I was curled up on my sofa late Friday night waiting for Christopher to return home from a date with Miss M. My husband was already sound asleep. Candles were lit in the living room... one of them perfuming the air around me, lamps on the chandelier had been lowered with the dimmer switch... reflecting just a little light on the china in the corner cabinet.
I found myself overwhelmed with gratitude for my cozy little house, the bookshelves heavy with favorite books, inherited antiques with memories of the homes they originally occupied, favorite artwork, photos of loved ones... and a Maine Coon kitty curled up snoozing nearby. A feeling of amazement at how He has taken that which is broken and made a home and a life. Far from the original plans... but good.
No... this is not our permanent Home. I have always felt when each of us who love Him enter Eternity, we will instantly feel that we've come home... that this is what we were longing for all along. Just as a mother forgets the pain as she holds the newborn child in her arms, I believe we will no longer think of all the pain we felt in this life. Instead... we will know the destination was worth it all.
That is what faith and hope are all about.