Everyone has a story. We can't see their story just by looking at their cover, although sometimes body language shows us more than we realize...if we take the time to notice.
My story? More chapters than I can even read to you. But if I allow myself to get really honest with you, which I always strive for (shallow relationships feel like a waste of time to me), I'd tell you that I feel like crap. I have so much going on with my body right now (thyroid, hormones, gallbladder, etc.), and yes, I am planning to go to the doctor.
Yesterday was the one-year anniversary of Dad's death, and it was harder than I had thought. I've been dealing with a lot of anger and feeling unknown and isolated from people. I've been wrestling through deep sadness and it frustrates me. I know I'm made for more than where I am. I know He is going to take me from this valley. (Blessed by this verse this week: Isaiah 41:18)
“I will open rivers on the bare heights
And springs in the midst of the valleys;
I will make the wilderness a pool of water
And the dry land fountains of water.
At church yesterday, people would say hi and ask me how I was doing. Truly, they didn't want to know. The question served more as a wimpy salutation than an honest desire to hear out someone. I thought, "You have no idea the pain I'm dealing with today, and what's more sad is you don't care to."
And just when I felt tempted to give up on the human race and this whole idea of community, God reminded me, "You do have people in your life who really, truly care--who ask and want to know. You have people in your life who do the 'messy' with you and love you unconditionally. And there is only One who will love and nurture you as you need. That is Me, my child. Come to me."
Gently, God reminded me of my own hypocrisy--of all the times this year I've asked people, "How are you?" And really? I just wanted them to smile and keep going so I could keep going. Do I always stop to listen? Choose compassion? Sadly, no.
How many times this year have I thought, "Wow, I'm so sorry. I had no idea."
The human condition dictates we all suffer: no one avoids the decayed state of our world. And so, we know loss (miscarriages, death of a parent, a husband leaving, a friend's move, and the list goes on).
"We can't always count on sympathy from others when we're suddenly shattered. Our heartbreaks aren't anyone else's full responsibility. They are Christ's." ~Beth Moore
Yes, we are called to be the Body, a community to one another. But we aren't called to be God to one another, and we can't. Only He can satisfy and hold me forever.
“The Christian, however, must bear the burden of a brother. He must suffer and endure the brother. It is only when he is a burden that another person is really a brother and not merely an object to be manipulated. The burden of men was so heavy for God Himself that He had to endure the Cross. God verily bore the burden of men in the body of Jesus Christ. But He bore them as a mother carries her child, as a shepherd enfolds the lost lamb that has been found. God took men upon Himself and they weighted Him to the ground, but God remained with them and they with God. In bearing with men God maintained fellowship with them. It was the law of Christ that was fulfilled in the Cross. And Christians must share in this law.”
― Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together: The Classic Exploration of Faith in Community
Giving them a garland instead of ashes,
The oil of gladness instead of mourning,
The mantle of praise instead of a spirit of fainting.
So they will be called [a]oaks of righteousness,
The planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified. Isaiah 61:3