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Yep, That Stinks

June 4, 2014

I’ve gotten good at activating my verbal filter when people complain about their infirmities.

Just because I had cancer doesn’t mean that your cold is not completely miserable. I’m sorry. I really am.

The normal ravages of aging appear to be difficult for you to handle. I’m sorry.

How’s this for some context.

Holy Mackerel, you have had a debilitating headache for the better part of a decade and you have managed to achieve all kinds of awesome things in that time? Hats off. And oh, your medical problem? I shudder at the thought. Yeah, this is one person in particular, and you are the inspiration for this post.

Your kid died and you haven’t gone insane? You inspire me to be a better, kinder, wiser person every minute of every day and don’t think you are ever far from my heart and prayers. All of you. Even if you don’t know that I know about your child.

You struggle with depression? I’m sorry. No, really, I am. I don’t even know what to say except hang in there.

Your autoimmune disease? I can’t even imagine it. And I love you.

Syria. Sudan. Guns, so many of them, going off accidentally or worse, on purpose, and blowing apart the bodies of our children.

It’s easy to compare ailments and see where we stand on the spectrum that goes from bad to worse. It’s even easier to tell people that their attitude makes a difference, and the fact that there is a sliver of a hair of truth in that last statement makes it all the crueler.

I don’t even know what the truth is, but what I believe is that life is both hard and beautiful, and there’s no explaining the measure with which it is poured out for each one of us.

For so many of us, faith in God is the anchor that tethers us to our better selves during times of crisis. Does God send us challenges to test and teach us? I don’t think so. I think it’s just life and that any attempt to draw meaning from it all is a lie.

What, then, is the truth? I don’t know.


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