My parents were just here visiting for two weeks from Oregon. Since 3,000 miles separate us, we only see one another about once a year or whenever I have a baby, whichever. And every time we say goodbye, we know that it could be the last time we see each other alive. Morbid thoughts, I suppose, but they do cross my mind. And usually after every visit, there is a letdown. For lack of a better word, a minor depression takes place. I think it is an adjustment period (for me) to recover from being spoiled by their presence. I've gotten so used to having my Mom wash the dishes, or my Dad to keep the coffee pot going, or my Mom to fold the laundry, or Dad to take us out to dinner--that by the end of their visit, I have a lot of re-training to do!
And aren't we all that way, to some degree? We have our habits. Our routines. We like things to be a certain way, done in a certain order. And when things get off-kilter, we sometimes get off-kilter too. But the strange thing is, that my parents' visit mainly had an influence on my personal routines (and theirs), but the rest of the world continued on with business as usual.
I'm reminded of a briefly dark time in my adolescence, when I was about to take an exam for my Calculus class, and exam for which I was not prepared to take. As I sat at my desk, waiting for the bell to ring to mark the beginning of class, I contemplated ending my life. (I had many other burdens to bear besides the test, but I am just remembering that moment in time.) I looked out into the hallway, and saw the face of a friend passing by, smiling and sharing a friendly conversation with another classmate who was out of my view. And in that moment, I realized that while I was having that rock-bottom emotional experience and wishing that I was dead, others were having a happy-go-lucky kind of day, unaffected by the Calculus exam I was about to take. And I knew that even if I died right there at my desk, next week, that same friend would likely be walking the halls at the same time, talking to the same people as she had before. Life goes on.
That idea is often difficult to see when you are in the position I was. And now in my thirty-some years, I have experienced other situations that were, comparatively, much worse than a Calculus exam, believe me! When you are in the midst of it, you wonder how you will ever survive. You believe your life will come to an end, or that it will be disastrous, whatever. I just heard heartbreaking news that a friend of mine was abandoned by her husband at an amusement park. He left her there with their two young kids, packed up the things back home, and later told her that he wanted a divorce. My head and heart are reeling from the news. I don't know what to say or what to do. I don't know how I would handle such deep disappointment and humiliation. It's painful to think about, and yet my friend is living with it as her reality.
So why am I writing all this? Like I implied earlier, this writing is cathartic for me. Whether this post actually gets published or forever stays in the archives, I just felt the need to get it out. Life does go on. And life is worth living. But the only kind of life worth living is the kind of life that has few regrets--the kind of life that desires to align itself with the Word of God to live in such a way that honors the Lord. The only good reason to be made a fool in the world's eyes is when one chooses to follow in obedience to God, regardless of what the world thinks. There is no dishonor in that.
"The LORD is close to the brokenhearted, and saves those who are crushed in spirit" Psalm 34:18