Why am I struggling when my suffering seems small?
So I've been walking. Walking and walking. I've walked on my own. Walked with a friend. Walked in the morning. Walked with my older daughter. Walked with my scootering younger ones. Walked in the dark. Why? Because if I get up and do this I feel like I can keep a grip on life. I can keep processing my life in my own head, out loud with my friend. Listen to my children without the distractions and the sometimes heaviness of our home. I can get some endorphins and some fresh air.
The thing I keep thinking is 'But this is nothing'. While what we've been through and are still going through with our daughter is 'something', it feels like 'nothing' in comparison with friends who are dealing with many, many years of their own children's sickness or their own health issues or are dealing with terrifying, life-threatening emergencies or the grief of death or unfulfilled dreams. At one level, those who are suffering much worse situations than me help me keep things in perspective. At another level, I just feel pathetic. Actually I feel disappointed. And so, so weak.
If this is nothing, then why do I feel so weary? Why do I find it hard to get the basics done? Why can't I focus and concentrate for long periods of time? Where has my ability to problem solve gone? Why have I suddenly gone more introverted than ever? Why is thinking more than 24 hours in advance feel like an impossible task? It's frustrating because after all, I tell myself that I'm experiencing nothing. Well, aren't I?
The reality is that we're just finding the uncertainty and the ups and downs of our journey tough. It's hard because (like most people) we like a level of control and predictability. Of course, harder things will most surely happen to us. But for now I'm very slowly learning something pretty important. That life is actually always uncontrollable and unpredictable. And when I'm protected from that reality because life is going smoothly, I actually forget that I'm not all that strong either.
Often people bag out Christians for needing to trust in God because they're too weak to do life on their own. I've been thinking a lot about that recently. Well, here I am weak and disappointed with my own inability to cope with 'nothing'. And I don't feel ashamed to admit that I desperately need help from someone who is stronger and bigger than me. Actually I feel totally relieved that I don't face this time alone, without the hope that there is more beyond this weak and oh so fragile life.
Yesterday a friend who has herself faced many years with a sick child, sent me this Bible verse from Romans 5.
'...but we glory in our sufferings because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us'.
So I will persevere, trusting that God loves me, remaining hopeful. And I'll keep walking. And walking.