"But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted,but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed." ~2 Corinthians 4:7-9
I love this passage. Lately I've been struggling with, as Roger Arnett would say, the "great burden of grief that rests upon this world". Coming right out of Benjamin's recovery and my mission trip to Argentina, I've had this 'great burden' on the forefront of my mind and heart.
This world is a broken, bleeding mess. It's painful to be here, and everyone who resides on planet earth feels that pain at some point or other in their lives.
I wish that weren't true, but it is. And so what can we do? There's no solution to the problem of pain. No matter how hard we work someone will always be crying, somewhere in the world.
There is something we can do, though.
We can love each other through the struggles. We can walk with one another through the hard times. There's nothing better to do, in my opinion.
This surgery and recovery season there have been many dear ones who have supported us. Sent messages of encouragement during the six months of stress and fear prior to Benjamin's surgery...ate our dozens of cookies that spelled out 'joy' in our effort to keep our joy...brought meals...and called. Called. I have to say, out of everything people did this season, the one that made the biggest impact to me was the calls. Those friends who called during Benjamin's recovery and hospitalization were such gifts. One friend in particular called the day he came home from the hospital. This is one of the hardest days for me, personally, because although I'm over the moon thrilled that we are all together again, it's usually one of the most painful days for Benjamin/Mason. And that's hard. Really hard.
So my friend called. And she got it. She knows what surgeries and recoveries are like, and so we were able to just talk about things I wouldn't be able to talk to any other friend about, and we laughed. And I walked in from that call feeling so refreshed. After just a phone call. It was a blessing. So thank you to those friends who called.
(So if ever you have a friend who has surgery, or whose sibling has surgery, remember to reach out and make a phone call! )
But I'm kind of getting off track here...I was thinking about how we don't always support one another when we should. I wanted to tell that story to show you an example of someone trying to make the burden (going back to the great burden of grief here! ;)) lighter to carry. I think it is truly a beautiful thing when we consider the trials others could be going through, and so decide to lift them up instead of tearing them down. I think that is part of what makes the difference between us being perplexed, but not in despair... persecuted but not abandoned...struck down but not destroyed.
It takes effort to do that, though. You have to make an effort to be conscientious to the people around you. I went on my mission trip to Argentina pretty raw, I know. Most of the trip was wonderful and refreshing, truly it was. But there were moments that were tough. I knew going into it that leaving the country with a group of high schoolers right after Benjamin's surgery might make for some difficult moments because, well, I'm really really really sensitive after surgeries. And so some sarcastic quips had me in tears. Seriously. Jokes, teasing remarks that were funny to everyone else, made me cry. I know no one meant to be malicious. They couldn't have known that I was emotionally exhausted from six months of worry. But it did hurt. I'm sure that I, too, have been guilty of not paying attention to the emotions of others before. I think we all need to start making a big effort to do so. It would change the world.
What else makes a difference, gives us hope to keep going despite the trials?
" Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal." ~2 Corinthians 4:16-18
That's what gives us hope. What we see here--the pain, tears, sadness--this is temporary. So let's not lose heart. And let's try to encourage others to not lose heart, as well.