Be Strong. Take Heart.

That's Life. - by Mary E. Barwick

I read a blog this week that really irked me. I wasn’t sure why and I’m still not completely sure why but I am writing this blog to hopefully figure it out.

First of all, I do have to admit the blog was well-written. It had a solid opening, a good middle and an ending that brought the two together perfectly.

I wanted to vomit though. It made me mad. It ticked me off. Was it too perfect? Or am I just so bitter about turning 39 that I can’t even appreciate good writing when I read it?

I don’t think it was either of those things. I think for me the blog was expected. Yes, there was conflict and struggle, which I appreciate, but there were also answers. Answers to the conflict. Answers to the struggle. And the pain and the wrestling were both resolved in a sentence or two.

Not that I need to tell you this but life doesn’t work that way. At least it doesn’t for me. We rarely solve life’s issues and problems in a sentence or two. Even if the word “God” is a part of those sentences.

But still it shouldn’t have bugged me that much. I mean, who cares if the blogger writes with the triteness of a teenager. Why should that bother me?

Maybe it’s that I’m in the middle of my real life story right now and I can’t yet see the tape, paper and bow being pulled out of the closet to nicely wrap up this chapter of my life.

Maybe my faith in God isn’t simple anymore, or worse, simplistic. Maybe I’m just angry and bitter about nice stories or tragic stories for that matter that have immediate answers because I don’t have them for the struggles in my life.

And what about the whole God thing? Why does the word “God” have to be inserted as part of the answer. Why can’t life and all its mysteries be the answer? Isn’t that God? The wind, the storm, the darkness, the quiet of night? Isn’t that who put all this in motion? Why do we have to say it? Why do we have to label it? Doesn’t that, as a friend once told me, cheapen it? Cheapen the experience, the wonder of life?

Life is suffering. Life is joy. Life is death. Life is a seedling bursting through the soil to breathe its first breath.

This annoyance I feel may even come from me. Because this is how I used to view life. Kind of like a journal entry a kid would make at church camp. A kid who sees the pain and suffering in the world but hasn’t yet made contact with it; however, she miraculously has all the answers and bible verses to make everything better or at least better understood. She even wraps things up nicely with answers she hopes for but hasn’t yet experienced.

It’s not that I don’t believe in hope because I do. I live it. I live for it. But why do we give it away in our stories before it comes to fruition in our lives?

Maybe that’s it. Maybe life is like our most recent Barwick road trip. We’re going strong, traveling down 85. Then something happens. As we prepare to stop, the car does some kind of weird jerking motion. When we get back on the interstate the car is fine, if we keep it at 65mph or more. But then we stop for fuel and the car does that weird jerky, sputtering thing again. This time it’s worse. We think we’ll have to find a hotel and get the car worked on at a nearby garage. At this point the kids are thrilled. They could care less about the broken down car. They just love the thought of swimming in a hotel swimming pool. But with a few good revs and a couple jerks, it makes it back to the interstate and is going strong once again. Then out of the freaking blue our mechanic calls us on Andy’s cell phone. He doesn’t EVER call us. He’s not our friend. He’s just our mechanic. I look at Andy and we both say without using any words, “This is weird. Why is he calling us RIGHT NOW?”

And why was the mechanic calling us right then? Did he sense something was wrong, was he just checking in on us?

He said he was just checking in on us, checking to see if our most recent A/C work was successful and that it was still blowing cold air. Weird, isn’t it?

We told him about the problems we were experiencing. And even though he was 200 miles away and couldn’t do anything for us, we felt oddly secure. Like someone or something was watching over us. And that we would be ok.

For me, right now, that’s life. Not perfect, not trite, not always quick to reveal answers but always mysterious and amazing. Good, bad, exciting, scary, surprising, hopeful and WEIRD all rolled up in one.
Andy BarwickComment