Sunday, September 26, 2010

Temporary smells ... lasting smiles

Everything will work out in the end.  If it's not working out, it's not the end." (from Fearless by Max Lucado.)

                                    Fearless by Max Lucado

I recently read Fearless and near the end of the book, as I came across the quote above, I stopped to consider it.  It could be interpreted as a glib dismissal of someone else's troubles.  Or it could be simple optimism.  Lucado states it is a saying one of his friends sometimes uses.  Honestly, at first glance it struck me as just a little bit cheeky.  But then I put it in the context of the statements just preceding it, and you know what, I think Lucado's friend just may have a point.

The statement at issue was preceded by two main points, which the author called "twin realities of current difficulties and ultimate triumph."  This was followed by:

                                      1.  Yes, life stinks.                    
                                      2.  But it won't forever.
How do ya like them apples?

Lucado's premise throughout Fearless is to consider what our lives, our actions, our relationships might look like if we lived life without fear.  Good question.

Certainly, we have all been afraid at one time or another.  I remember being laid off of a job in management at nearly fifty years old and not knowing whether I would be able to find anything even remotely comparable in a new job.  One very young job interviewer said to me, "After all, you are not twenty-five anymore."  (She was about that age.)  Those of you struggling in today's job search environment can likely relate.  Maybe you don't know "what color your parachute" is, and you are wondering whether you have even been issued one.  So right now it stinks.  But it won't forever.

Nevertheless, while I was sometimes discouraged during the months I was looking for my next job, I cannot say I was actually afraid.  In fact, there have been times that I wondered whether that "fear gene" had been left out of my makeup, as I simply could not relate to other people's fearful approach to life's problems. 

On another job, while participating in a management exercise wherein a guy with a PhD in industrial psychology administered a battery of tests with me and the other staff, the consultant called me in for a discussion.  He laid my tests and profile graph out in front of me, and told me that he had rarely seen this particular combination of skills.  He then pointed out that my "fear factor" was almost nil and that with my skill set I could be "running GM".  (Yes, well, we have seen that that isn't necessarily all it is cracked up to be. I seem to recall they went bankrupt last year.)

I share that to simply say, the whole "fearless" premise didn't necessarily resonate for me - until I hit this particular line, and it's accompanying clarification:  "Yes, life stinks.  But it won't forever."
Now that I could relate to.

Perhaps, right now....
  • The job stinks - the boss is an egomaniac, and coworkers shirk their fair share of the load.....but it won't be forever.
  • The house needs work - and literally stinks due to faulty plumbing or mold, or inadequate venting.... but it won't forever.
  • Friends have let us down, or worse, actively turned their back on us when we needed their support the most... but it won't be like that forever.
  • Our health is dicey, pain not an unfamiliar companion these days ....but it won't be forever.
This past April past my mother went to be with the Lord.  She was ready to go, and had been saying for several years that she just did not understand why God had not taken her home.  She was seriously disabled by a stroke the last seventeen years of her life and she sometimes felt like she no longer had any role to fulfill.  For her, it just wasn't "working out."  But if everything works out in the end, and it isn't working out, then it isn't the end.  And for her, this was exactly the case.

She had often been a melancholy person (and with good reason) but she was more cheerful than I can ever recall her being during the last year of her life.  She had always been a deeply introverted individual, but her nickname at the senior living center was "chuckles" and I lost track of the number of people who told me how much they would miss her smiles and laughter.

She had also been a terribly insecure person, hanging on to investments and things with great tenacity, probably because as a child of the depression she had known serious deprivation in her youth.  But in the last months of her life, I saw her turn loose of that need to "have" something tangible, to retain "control" as a means of security.

Lastly, she had often been a very lonely, and solitary, individual.  But she found friends, and fellowship and a caring pastor who was of great comfort to her during her final six months in this life.

Yes, Mom's life had stunk on many occasions and for many reasons, many of them through absolutely no fault of her own.  But it wasn't the end.  And in the end, God made all things beautiful in it's own time.  And that will last forever.          & & &

He has made everything beautiful in its time.  (Eccl. 3:11)
                          ......  to be continued......

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