Thursday, March 25, 2010

Complicated Journey, Simple Joy

A wedding creates a beautiful day; a divorce rocks a person's entire world. A promotion can enhance the wallet; being down-sized can bring a family to its knees for years. Being told by your doctor you're in good health can make your day; being told you have cancer can change your entire life and future.

It seems it is not the good times that are nearly as formative and life-changing (for good or evil) as it is the tragic, the season of loss. It was a beautiful day when I got married in 1971. When all of that blew to hell several years later, my entire life and even my future took a completely different trajectory. That tragedy catapulted me into choices and a lifestyle I had never imagined. The tragedy changed me--I became someone (something?) monstrous. Fortunately, that same tragedy eventually brought me to my knees as a broken man. I was now pliable; I could now be shaped into a loving man.

A second blessed marriage and four children later, life was relatively smooth. Then a decimating discovery that one of our children was being violated by an adult acquaintance of ours. Unspeakable grief. At times, murderous rage. But that eventually birthed a tender heart, deep compassion for those who have been victimized, and a forever-different but forever-closer relationship with our daughter.

Pain is formative. C.S.Lewis once said that "pain is the megaphone by which God rouses a deaf world." Pain gets our attention and it is often through pain, not pleasure, that God imparts to us and bestows upon us gifts and blessing that come only through the medium of pain. The author, Sheldon Vanaukan, calls it "severe mercy."

This week, my daughter whom I referred to moments ago sent me a poignant blog by a friend of another author, Donald Miller, who wrote A Million Years in a Thousand Years. I encourage you to take the time to read this eloquent slice-of-a-life and to savor the photographs. You will find it at:

Grace and Peace on your journey, my friend.

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