Life is not so much of what we make of it, but what it makes of us and what we allow ourselves to be made into. A great fallacy common to man is that life is for the taking - and it must be taken - and only the strong survive. We grow to work long, sweat plenty and push hard to be all that we dream we can be. That is what we are told - work hard and your hard work will pay off. We, with poor identified hands, long to be more, always. Instilled within us is the idea that we can be self-sustaining, if only, we put in the hours and make the grade. These are the success stories that are brandished bold and held high - an ill-descript tale waiting for every man. This just isn’t so.
Not all will live the same story. In fact, there are many who live through days unbearable, and worse even, unexplainable. Life does not always bend to our liking. Circumstance wiggles and writhes into days without announcement like darkened clouds covering the sun. Then, gone are the glimmer of promises and whispers of life secure as you know it. You feel unprotected, uncovered and uncared for fully, as if you were dropped in the middle of a desert without rations or way out.
We are products of our belonging, grown into that which has us. Whether we pledge ourselves to the work of our hands, the promise of our dreams, others’ expectations or best, something better than ourselves, we will fall close to that tree. So then, it is absolutely important that we remember now, in a moment maybe absent of failing, that we will never achieve lasting self-sustaining. All changes and fades, but One.
This is a truth my heart was planted into as I learned to live in the wake of grief. My life was no longer conducive to happiness and promise as I watched my daughters sink in tears and absence of their mother. Death left me a stranger to all certainty, even God. But HE being bigger than life and circumstance stooped low to lift me out. It was in darkness that I discovered true light.
Here’s an excerpt from my upcoming book, Earth & Sky:
I SAW A MAN ALONE, subdued by pain, frightened by all that might someday be. A man stumbling, drunk on why things turned out the way they did, mumbling angrily to himself—a man clinging to fading memories like a thief clutching a leaking bag. I quietly asked not to become that man. I couldn’t. I wouldn’t be him. I refused to be afraid of shadows and terrified of the future.
My daughters will never know that man. They might see me wince and wrestle with life’s haunting questions, but they will never know that man who has a hollowed heart and is comfortable only in isolation. I may not have much more to offer than my courage, but my healing will be an echo that resounds like bells of freedom in their hearts.
And their little hearts will be warm. I couldn’t leave us stranded on the roadside and stuck forever in hurt, loss, and sorrow. I couldn’t let pain unravel the strongest of loves, ours, sewn together by life’s untroubled waters and God’s goodness.
The future man I saw was one clung to life as he could make it. I will never know that man, for we are not the same.