I'm a very visual person. I have to see it in my mind to fully comprehend something. An idea, directions, whatever. This is probably why I hate books on tape, I don't want to be read to, I need to hold the book and see the words myself. I also fare much better trying to find someplace with a map than oral directions. But I digress.
I was thinking in my very visual way about difficulties and trials we have to wade through sometimes. About how some strong and beautiful women in my life who have had to endure and struggle through so many things, whereas I have been spared any catastrophic losses. Why is this?
I hate the saying "God doesn't GIVE us more than we can handle." Bull. Look at all the broken people in the world. Look at those who have been beaten down and never come back. Plus, God doesn't GIVE us any of that pain and heartache. He isn't up there going "ok, well, she can lose her son, her husband, her twin brother, and oh yea, I can crush her leg and make her fight her way back from the edge of death while I'm at it. But she can handle it." Misery and pain aren't FROM God, they are from evil, not love.
He doesn't then look down at me and say "we can't let her lose anyone because she is too weak and she can't handle it." So I wonder why the sweetest, kindest woman I have been honored to know in my life was stricken with so many losses and tragedies while I have been spared most of life's harshest pitfalls thus far.
Then my visual part of my brain started seeing pain and struggle as a raging river we have to wade through. We are on this side of the water, dry and standing safely on the shore. Everything is good. Then suddenly we are shoved into the roiling, angry morass of waves and a violent current pulling at our every limb - whether it be a loss of someone we love, or maybe a terrible illness. Whatever our struggle, we are dumped into it unawares and just trying to get our head above water to breathe at first.
The shock of the cold water, the power of the violent waves, the chaos of being shoved off the safe shore into this unknown environment fraught with unseen terrors. Its all we can do just to survive at first. Struggling against the waves and the water, sometimes flailing all alone feeling like you aren't going to make it.
Then, there are others in the water with you, holding you up, helping you stay afloat. Perhaps taking over for a wee bit so you can rest your cramping muscles. Maybe you even hit an island where you can rest, recoup, and dry off for a few moments, fortifying yourself for the rest of your journey. You might encounter a few floating logs you can cling to as well, until you are sucked back into the frothy waves, and fighting to get across this huge dark expanse of water....or pain. So when we see others flailing in the water, that's when God can use us to wade in and hold her up for a bit, give her a towel, hold her head above the waves so she can catch her breath.
I hope I can be that person...perhaps I have been so abundantly blessed and spared such huge losses of my own so I may be an island for those in the water. Perhaps I do make a better log in the water for others than being the one in the water. Perhaps I need to work harder at making my log big enough for someone to hold onto, my island dry enough and well stocked enough to help her to fortify herself for the rest of the journey....since I have been so incredibly blessed with my beloved family in tact, my beautiful friends and my strong and dear husband. I am called to use my blessings for those who need a dry place to rest.
Perhaps when she finally reaches the other side of her pain, the other bank of the river, I can be there to help her step onto dry land. I can wrap her in a towel and help her find some new, dry clothes. She is the same women who was shoved into the river on the other side, yet she is different, she has been changed during her journey. I remember who she was from the other side and I can help her remember that person as well as discover and redress the new lady that has emerged on the other side.
As I think of the dear lady who has struggled through that river so many times, I can hold her hand as we continue to walk down the road...away from that river. We shall encounter more rivers in our journey, but I pray that we can help each other to reach the other side. I think some of our biggest blessings God bestows upon us are those that hold our hand during the walk down the road of life, and jump into that river with us during the struggles across the river. I have been so incredibly blessed with hands to hold...and I hold on tight. For them I am so thankful this year and every year.