Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Great Comfort

     Yesterday was one of the worst days I have ever had. In my life.

Remember the long and difficult situation I've referred to (sideways, kinda) --and endured for months?

I thought it was resolved. 

Yesterday, it blew up in my face. The firestorm blazed out, only somewhat hosed down by hours of phone calls, responses and reports. Hours I didn't have to give...but had no choice.

The Brick came home for lunch. "I've had one of the worst mornings," I said, almost gaily, to him.

"Me too," said he. 

Turns out he'd been written up at work, for a situation he had no control over, by a boss who was not interested in his explanation.
    This is the first time ever that he has been written up. And for something he didn't even do! He was embarrassed and angry.

We had a friend over for supper, and told him our combined tales of woe. He knows hard times, too. His darling wife has been out of work for weeks, and just got a job -- but it pays less than her previous miniscule salary. And no benefits.

Oh boy. Benefits -- that's right. What if the Brick does decide to retire from this difficult situation? How will we pay for insurance? What will we do? 

I slept well -- until 2 a.m. Woke up to the Brick padding around restlessly. "Guess I'm going to read for a while," he said. He dozed off soon after; I went and worked on e-mail until 5 a.m. I've had so little uninterrupted sleep for weeks now, that it's starting to feel like last summer.

Every morning I pray, "Dear Lord, help me to do the best I can today. Show me what to do, and especially what to say."   Ask for wisdom, James 1:5 says. Ask God, who gives generously...and He will give it to you.

We're not the only ones who have struggled over the years. We know that -- but it's not making life any easier right now. "God? That wisdom You've promised? What's next?" my selfish voice whines. "Why are we going through this?"

It makes me grateful for comforts, large and small:  a warm Charley snuggled up to my leg. The smell of hot coffee, drifting through the house in the morning. The Brick's smile, even though his eyes are tired. An encouraging word. (Friends, you know who you are. Thank you.) A bouquet of Queen Anne's Lace and mint.
     Brin, who blogs at My Messy Thrilling Life , has also been a comfort. Today, she's happily married, gardening, and decorating a new house. But back in 2009, she had been unemployed for four months, lost her beloved Freeman House, had her bakery close (due to someone who went out of their way to write 'KILL' on the front window, burglarized the place, then filed a formal complaint), lost her beloved grandfather, dealt with poor health, uncertainty and depression. Yet she kept on.
    In a January 2009 post, 'Thoughts on My New Year,' she says,

For the first time, I realized that God is not all about our happiness. Our wealth. Our whims. That God is not in the business of making His children successful or rich or happy. Rather, God is the business of fathering His children to maturity. He's more interested in seeing us conform our lives and ourselves into His image. Into the image of His Son. And like any good father who's trying to teach a willful, obstinate child, His lessons sometimes come at the expense of our comfort, our feelings, and our expectations...
     But now I see. Now I see! Now I see that it was during those terrible times He was the closest. Now I realize that during that time I had His hand - even if it was leading me through valleys I'd rather not venture into and waters I'd rather not wade through. But His hand held me. It held mine tightly. And we're emerging now from that awful valley, God still my patient, loving Father, but me a stronger, wiser, less selfish child. And we still have each other's hands.

"God? Are you talking to me again? You, the Master of the Universe, are speaking to this lowly child, who dared to throw an impatient temper tantrum?
     "And you're saying -- 'Be Patient. Count on Me. Trust Me.'"

     You are. You are. 

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