As another Wednesday morning comes up there is a bit of an anxiety within. Do I have anything to share, anything full of purpose, encouragement, helpfulness? Anything new? And then I am reminded of this verse from Ecclesiastes, "What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun. Is there a thing of which it is said, "See, this is new?" It has been already in the ages before us."
The only newness we see on a daily basis are the new morning mercies we are gracefully given and the new ways we are able to comprehend the age old things that have been around for eternity. The additions that are forming and restoring our Inner Dispositions. The struggles that have been here have always been here along with all the joys. Sure, they are relived over and over in cyclical ways with different people, different settings, different results, but the base remains the same. We are all forever learning the same Truths, just in a million different ways.
I have been given a sweet reminder this morning that my job, my purpose, what I am being asked to do, is not to create fantastic new ways to handle life or new thoughts to be remembered and written on reclaimed wood and placed on the wall above a beautiful entryway vignette. My purpose is to remind, just as I am constantly being reminded. It's why we need community, why we were built for it. We learn from one another, feed off one another, take one idea and expand it, one creation and tweak it, become inspired by another so that we can inspire another still. Build skyscrapers together instead of struggling over and over on one level alone.
There was a time, quite recently actually, when I would judge the "goodness" of a day as I was laying in bed at night. Pondering over the days events I would subconsciously add tally marks to the good side and the bad side and then see which side won. One day last week, school had been cancelled yet again due to post Irma-ness and I was determined to get out of the house and do something fun. We had already had a watch the Hurricane through the windows all day day, then a lazy day, then a post Hurricane clean up day, and all parts of us all were needing a get away fun day.
Without giving you a play by play of the mornings events, and a list of all the parenting moments that ensued, just know that for many different reasons, NOTHING went as planned that day. By late afternoon in a moment of desperation--more for my sanity because I could feel negative emotions rising quickly within--I grabbed my phone and ear buds, put on my running shoes, and ran the small length of road in front of our home back and forth, over and over, while my sweet and temperamental boys played football in the yard spanning between our home and our neighbor's. Somewhere in that 30 min jog, and the numerous interruptions of boys needing their mama, I was reminded that life is not an average of bad and good, we don't have to take both numbers, add them up, divide by two. Life is one moment at a time. One good moment at a time. While plenty of yucky and not so fun ones are mixed in, they do not have the right, and should not be given the ability, to minimize the good ones. Learn from them yes, allow them to overtake, no. Nothing is strong enough to overtake the Good we are given. There are better ways to be overwhelmed.
As if I needed to be reminded of this lesson immediately, literally right after I was done running and mentally planning an instagram post about appreciating one good moment at a time complete with a picture of three finally happy boys playing football together, one of them fell and scraped his elbow in a pretty ugly way on the driveway. In the next overly dramatic filled moments of injury fixing and using a ridiculous amount of bandaids because the proper first aid items needed were not on hand I was still holding on to that moment from earlier. Letting the good shadow the bad, instead of the other way around. Maybe that should have been my post.
This was going to be the end of my intended sharing for the day, short and sweet, and a bit of food for thought, but then in the car on the way to my new Happy Wednesday spot, I was brought to tears by the recent earthquake in Mexico and the news reports of children in a school texting from underneath the rubble praying that a rescuer would get to them before it was too late. The suffering of others is all around us.
A line from a recent study by N. T. Wright has been a constant in my mind. When reading through 1 Peter and the amounts of suffering from these Christians Wright challenges with the statement that "those of us who read 1 Peter in comfortable freedom have a deep responsiblity to help our brothers and sisters for whom persecution of which Peter speaks is a daily reality"
At first there was more than a bit of guilt from my first world, love of making all things pretty and clean self, for all the times I complain or struggle. What gives me the right to ever think that what I am going through is hard...just look at what "they" are having to go through, whomever they might be at the time. --For the record, I know this is not true and that struggles we have are very real to each of us and a part of the way God is redeeming us--
While I 100% think that the responsibility he mentioned is true and required, quickly added to it was another thought. This concept needs to also be put into practice right where I am sitting now.
The whole idea of nothing new is under the sun, the whole idea of living in community, takes place under the command of bearing one another's burdens, wherever that person happens to be. Constantly looking to one another and looking out for one another. God will place someone in your life to grab your hand and pull you higher just as you will have another lower than you who needs the same. Down the rope it goes being helpful and being helped. Sometimes simultaneously, sometimes pulling up the dead weight of a severely injured soul, sometimes being the desperate one that just can not help with the way because of the heaviness you are in.
What was really gained that day of running, was another level of perspective.
Gaining perspective can often feel like being scolded, "Come on, get a little perspective, things are not as bad in the grand scheme!"
Maybe that will be the lesson you learn, maybe you are having a pity party for yourself and need something to snap you out of it? But I'm beginning to realize the gentleness of God in this scenarios. As a perfect Father, He rarely uses shock and awe as a discipline tool, scaring us into obedience. He lovingly sent a son who walked on the Earth. A son, because of His perfect communion with His Father, knew all things, was told all things, was given the ability to do all things, and yet gently walked alongside the sinful, the confused, the ignorant, the boisterous, the boastful, the depressed, and saved them, restored them, and gave them a different perspective. How I long to have that same gentle manner.
A shift in thinking is all perspective really is. Taking a step to the left or right to get a different angle, asking for other eyes to join you to give different thoughts, different opinions, different experiences.
But as much as we were created for community, created to have others alongside instead of living a solitary life, the best eyes to ever gain perspective through are the ones of our Creator made available to look through by the Son He sent, the Spirit He left, and the Words that hold true for eternity.
I will be praying that you not only see the good moments and hold on to them, but that through that there will be a heaven-sent perspective that will lead you through each moment you are brought through in your own life and when walking alongside others in theirs. Pray for me.