Monday, November 12, 2012

Ballets and Squirrels: What Happens When Things Don't Make Sense

In a way it seems fitting, the kind of day it is today. Rain, wind, and utter drear. Outside in many ways mirrors what a lot of people are feeling on the inside and have been feeling for the past week or more. There has been national disaster that has affected many, half the nation did not get the president for which they voted, there has been an untimely death of a few young girls in our community, and to top it all off, for some people, the home is not somewhere they can find encouragement or sometimes even love. It all seems so heavy and so difficult to bear. For someone who likes to help, I feel like I am running around with a box of band aides in a field of people who have lost limbs.

When disaster hits it is a bit confusing because there is something that doesn’t quite fit in our picture of how things are supposed to be. We all have a general framework, though faulty at times, of how things should work in our day to day lives and when something disrupts that there are questions. Imagine that you were to go to a ballet or a high end musical where everyone brings out their best dress wear. The venue where the event is being held is top notch; high ceilings, fancy concession, and ushers with white gloves and 3 piece suits. Now imagine that you are walking to get a beverage from the concession before the show begins and when you look over you notice that one usher has one arm with the elbow bent out ready to escort someone to their seat, but the other is straight down with the hand bent out at a 90 degree angle next to the waist as a perch. On the perch hand there is a squirrel sitting there. This would raise all kinds of questions and would probably stop you in your tracks because it just doesn’t fit in the framework of what is supposed to happen at an event of such class.

The same is true of life. The reason that a squirrel at a ballet would raise questions for you is not because you don’t know what a squirrel is, you just don’t understand what it is doing at a ballet, because it doesn’t fit in the context of what is supposed to be at a ballet. The same is true with tragedy; no one has asked me what a hurricane is and no one has asked me what death is, but there have been lots of questions that surround these topics.

Through all of this I have been reminded of two things that were big encouragements to me when I have dealt with loss:

• “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also 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.”

Most of the time we want hope and we want to know that everything is going to be alright, but we discount this process that has been laid out for us of perseverance, character and hope. The way we get to a deeper sense of hope is if we persevere through our sufferings and allow that to build character within us. So you have to stand and be willing to persevere. Don’t look for the easy out.

• The other thing is quite simple and it comes out of the book of Ecclesiastes and it says:
“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.”

I hope this is helpful to someone. And I ask that you will join me in prayer for those who have had their world rocked recently and for those who are still dealing with the ramifications of something that happened years ago. Pray that we all can know and live as if there really is a hope that all things will be made new, because it is real and it is true.