It is good, sometimes, to spend a nice long afternoon with someone you cannot understand. Maybe they do not speak your language, and you are forced to mostly be quiet together. Maybe you enjoy a cold drink and only a few scattered words and shared smiles. The silent periods seem awkward. This person could also be someone from your own family, but you feel you have never learned how to speak their heart language. To go deep... past small talk into controversial subjects... to hold space for another's opinion... to just sit it out... is good.
It is normal and to be expected that toddlers will decide to get molars the same month you have a family member in the hospital. You are sure to have days when they hang onto you tight like a monkey, are whiney and refuse to play, while also refusing to actually take a nap. And then probably the whole family will also come down with colds. It is inevitable that meals cooked with love will sometimes get cold on the stove while everyone scurries around doing their modern American life business until the moon is high in the sky. Sometimes your family will misunderstand your best intentions and leave you fuming and feeling unappreciated as you pick up everyone's shoes and wash the dishes at 11 PM.
It is quite beneficial for our busy, helter-skelter minds when our phones go dead with no charger around, lay forgotten on the kitchen table, or even breakdown on a Friday afternoon. Our minds seem to drink in random internet information like a sponge, while staying weak in other areas. They lack the power to control dark thoughts or the stamina to persevere through boredom and hard tasks. Sometimes they need forced quietness to settle the clamoring voices and let us find peace.
It is altogether necessary at times to find a quiet sort of courage and faith that keeps going in spite of prayers that are not yet answered. We all have our situations. I've been struggling with the fact that since the Sunday of special prayers for Haiti, all we've heard has been bad news. A family from our congregation of Blanchard lost their down syndrome daughter unexpectedly.
The Dominican Republic has started a crazy political battle and closed off all its borders with Haiti because of a canal being dug from a shared river. Many Haitians that had moved to the DR to try and survive the chaos are walking back into Haiti, carrying backpacks and babies, and where will they all go? And how will the country survive without the supplies they get from DR?Now this morning, we got the worst news of all. A youth girl from Ganthier was kidnapped yesterday evening on her way to buy food for her family. Where do you find hope in the middle of such chaos? And is it the time for the cheerful optimistic type of outlook, or must we finally recognize that some situations are to be quietly endured, and that God is there and the end result is inner fortitude and strength that cannot be snatched away by any old gangster?
He who learns must suffer.
And even in our sleep,
pain that cannot forget
falls drop by drop upon the heart.
And in our own despair,
against our will,
comes wisdom to us
by the awful grace of God.
Tonight, my fellow humans, who were raised with the modern illusion that creating an easy, comfortable life is within your control, I wish you courage for the wisdom that comes by suffering.
We are a generation of very reluctant sufferers. But the pain is sure to come. Drop by drop. And with it will come the wisdom.