Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Wednesday's Words for September 2, 2009

The cycle of life always seems so vivid to me at this time of year. Summer wanes and autumn waits in the wings. Kids return to school, parents return to their pre-vacation routines. The sun rises, and the sun sets. Over and over and over again.

We think that things have changed, that this world is somehow different than the world of our childhood; and perhaps in some ways it is. Yet in the essence of daily life, for the most of us, has more or less remained the same at least for a generation.

We say things change, but most of us don’t really know anything.

Some individuals, however, go through major upheavals in their lives, changes that are sudden and unforeseen and drastic and for which there is no time to prepare, and no choice as to whether or not to accept them.

Someone I’ve recently met and come to love is going through just such a major upheaval as you read these words. My first reaction when I learned of the situation was to cast an eye heavenward and ask God why it is He has to give so many trials to some people? Can’t He spread things around a bit? Couldn’t He give some of those who seem to skip through life relatively unscathed the chance to suffer and grow, too?

But of course, that’s not how it works. There are some among us who seem to have their lives turned from sweetness to misery on an almost regular basis. People who do everything right, live their lives and raise their children along good moral standards, people who give to charitable causes and do their best to uplift, rather than put down. People who never for one moment would consider harming another individual, ever. People who do their best, always.

These are often the very people who are hit with loss upon loss, setback after setback, and heartbreak after heartbreak.

I have often said that the purpose of life is not to show us a good time, but to test us; to set before us challenges that we must meet and overcome so that, as human beings, we grow, thus realizing our full potential. This is something I firmly believe as truth; but when I see someone like my friend, when I watch them boldly enduring the unendurable, then I realize that I believe something else, as well.

I believe that after we’ve had some challenges, faced some difficulties, and come out triumphant, we ought to be—well, if not rewarded, at least given a pass on more trauma.

I guess I believe in the existence of a basic kind of fairness in the universe. I believe that once you’ve paid your dues, then life should motor along fairly smoothly for you. There might be little bumps along the way, but not the kind of breath-stealing emotion-shattering bombardments of devastating tragedy—that should happen only rarely, by the way, and then never more than one catastrophe per human being, thank you very much!

But of course, that’s not how things really work, either. For reasons I do not in the least understand, good, generous people get crapped on by life time and again, and can’t ever seem to catch one damn break while selfish, ill-humored people get away with not only dancing their way through life, but without ever having to pay the piper even so much as an honorarium.

When I come face to face with the Lord that is going to be the first thing I ask Him about.


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