Monday, March 10, 2014

Never Again the Same

Life is full of trials.  That's a fairly negative statement, but it's truth.  Oh, there are many joys, many times of celebration.  There are many days full of the mundane.  But, there are the trials.  Often, it is the trials that we remember most.  It is the trials that make us.  Or break us.  Or both.

When you think about it, the majority of life is full of the mundane moments.  Rising in the morning. Getting ready for the day.  Eating.  Running errands.  Laundry.  Cooking.  Cleaning.  Working.

The joys of life make the mundane worth doing.  The trials?  They make the mundane almost impossible to do.  The most mundane task of breathing can be an effort in the midst of emotional pain and heartache.

Some of our trials we completely forget.  It isn't until years later when we run into someone from our past and they say, "Remember when such and such happened?"  You suddenly remember that "little" hiccup of life when you thought you really had it bad.  Other trials we always remember, but almost chuckle with embarrassment about how catstrophic we thought it was at the time.  In time, the depth of despair becomes relative.

There are a handfull of trials in everyone's life that change us forever.  Divorce.  Death.  Broken relationships.  Illness.  Accidents.  We enter these trials as one person and exit them almost another.  They change us physically, emotionally and spiritually.

At almost 41 years old, I have had just a few such trials.  Things that I have had no control over.  My parents divorced.  That changed my life.  I had no control over that decision 30 years ago this December.  That decision...that trial...made me who I am today.  In some cases, it maimed me.  In some ways, it has made me stronger.  It was foundational in making me cling to God in the trials followed.

At two months old, our oldest son was diagnosed with a genetic condition that can have a huge impact on his health and well-being in the coming years.  When he was just 10 years old, he had to have 16 of his vertebrae fused together and rods put on either side of his spine.  I had no control.  All control was God's.  Seeing my son's crooked spine in an x-ray and feeling like I was going to throw up in the exam room....seeing my son trying to sleep while encased in plastic and metal in a futile attempt to straighten his increasingly crooked back...seeing my son barely able to walk after surgery....How could I not be forever changed after that?

Yet another life-changing trial comes to mind.  (One that could have happened recently or long ago. It does not matter) Something I had control of and brought upon myself.  I will never be the same.  I am forever changed.  I have regrets and I have sorrow.  Am I being vague?  Yes.  Some trials...we never see people go through them.  They are fought and dealt with in the privacy of their hearts.  Hearts break without anyone knowing.  Tears are shed with no one to see.  Numbness sets in deep while a smile is pasted on the outside.  The outside world never knows the pain someone carries inside.

Through the other life-changing trials I went through, I had learned there was One to Whom I could go.  One who saw my brokenness.  One who saw my tears.  One who understood.  "The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart..." (Ps. 34:18) My heart will never be the same.  My life will never be the same.  I will scar.  Scars are reminders of the hurt.  But, with scarring is evidence of a healing.  Without deep wounds, we have no need for the Balm that soothes.  Without pain, we never know the power of the Physician.  Without ache and loss, we have no desire for the Comforter's arms.  Daily...little by little...the bleeding stops.  The pain subsides.  The wound begins to close.  Some days, it reopens and the process slows for healing to begin again.  But, each day, there is improvement.  Each day, a meeting with the Physician to guide me in my healing.  Soon, a scar will be the only thing that remains and it will remind me of the pain and how to avoid it again;  but, more than anything, it will remind me of the unconditional love and care of the Healer.

Life is full of trials. It is the trials that make us.  Or they may break us.  In truth, we must break before we can be healed.  Then we are made stronger.  Or sweeter.  Or wiser.  Or more compassionate.  We are made - different.  We are changed.  We are never again the same.

will never again be the same.  Sometimes, that makes me cry.  But, more and more...that makes me rejoice.

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