>The big stuff: Go figure

>This is a painting Coffeedoc brought back from Haiti. It is a favorite of ours and the photo doesn’t do it justice. But it brings up stuff we’ve been talking alot about lately.

What do you do about the hard stuff? The big stuff? How do you reconcile the whole concept of suffering? How do you endure it and not succumb to it, meaninglessly? How do you not just wither into it and wallow in your pity party (ok, me)? How do you factor it into a life: suffering, joy and all the in-between?

We have had a year of the highest highs and lowest lows: bringing home new child, our toddler, from Ethiopia and losing a beloved Grandma, Coffeedoc’s mom. And all around us too, we find friends and family in different variants of hard and happy….just like the rest of the world. And I think it’s human nature to want to make sense of it all, as best we can.
And we talk around and around this. And pray through it, for it, about it…..it seems that there is not that much we can figure out except this: Suffering comes in many forms and it’s hard. It hurts! It can be pervasive or precise, overwhelming or simply pointedly excruciating. Joy too, comes in many forms, also broad or the perfect pinpoint moment.
But they are connected.
They are utterly connected.
This I know. This we are taught in our faith. It is scriptural.
I forget it, just about every darn day. When I am fearful, I am forgetting. When I am controlling and trying to shape every thing that happens, push, pull, heave, ho, I am forgetting. I tend to want to jump over, and protect my loved ones, from any bit of suffering (unless it’s the dishes…). The idea of their suffering is ever much more awful to me than my own, of course.
And that path, it is all about the fear.
And when I talk about suffering, I am almost always, really, talking about fear. I know, you’re thinking I’ve already hit on this, a few posts back already! I know. Bear with me. Because, I am a slow learner and I learn and process by talking and typing. So here we are. Again.
We are taught, and I need to be reminded, again and again and again, that even through suffering, we are transformed, and with that, we are brought into joy. In fact, I can point to some of the greatest suffering we have experienced, personally and as a family, and I can say, that is where we grew into ourselves, our joy. We are taught that our sufferings, especially when we are trying, giving and pouring ourselves out for something beyond us – stretching, that we will be returned good. Shaken, tamped down and overflowing good abundance. But first we have to walk through the fire of a given or accepted suffering. And, well, that is hard. Often “hard” doesn’t even begin to describe what it is.But in faith, I know, that it is all for a greater good. For MY good, even if it is good for anything beyond me as well. But it is so easy for the fear to stymie that. To stop the whole process or accepted effort in it’s tracks. So, I need to be reminded. Again and again and again.
It’s about the JOY, stupid. That’s for me.
That’s where it is. That’s what I forget. That’s what I need to remember to tell folks, to tell myself, to tattoo on my forehead so I won’t forget.

It’s about the Joy. The real stuff. Go figure.Heb.12:1… let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us,[2] looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

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