Life. It’s like this blank page staring back at us. Taunting us to write all of our hopes and dreams and desires all over the chapters that we compile into the story of our lives, never knowing if they’ll pan out the way we plan. Some pages in our books are filled with adventure and excitement; others filled with betrayal and brokenness. Most days we tend to write our own stories. We fill our agendas and calendars with dates and meetings, dinners or extracurriculars. And sometimes, life throws in something that we never had planned. A great, big wrench in our daybooks. Something that -no matter how hard we might want- we cannot take back or erase from memory.
I’ll never forget that warm summer evening in June. Life was grand. We had just collected the keys to our new home and were preparing for the big move… when the unthinkable happened. I heard the crash. I felt the shock reverberating in my ears as my stomach dropped. Tires screeched to a halt. In a split second, I felt my world shift. Silently, I prayed that it was the dog. But deep inside? I knew. That was the night my Father was hit by a car… in my very own front yard. An unfortunate circumstance. A negligent choice by a distracted driver that ought to have been avoided, but alas- was not.
The trauma, the pain, the anger, all of the raging emotions that each family member had to work through post-accident… those details are engrained in who we are now. Individually and as a family, we worked through the stress. Together. My father, (thank the good Lord for his tough German roots and thick skull), survived with ‘only’ a few hundred stitches, a handful of surgeries, metal rods and wired mouth. But still, resilience is nevertheless something that dwells within. And certainly not something for the faint of heart.
It took years of heartache, of working through the pain of that one instant for the healing that would come both physically, spiritually and mentally for each of us many years later. But that’s life. Unfair. Enjoying the sunshine one minute and fighting for your life in a hospital bed the next. There was no rhyme or reason for that heartache…for the years of reliving that grief and seeing it play over in our minds and emotions. For a father who loves his children with all of his being, who is the most self-sacrificial person I’ve ever known, who provides and loves and guides his family with knowledge and wisdom, how senseless and unthinkable for his life to be nearly snuffed out as my mother- his high school sweetheart- held his fleeting breath.
This world is wrong. It’s upside down. It’s shaken, inside out and unfair. And from the very moment that Eve took hold of that forbidden fruit and chose to defy all that was good and pure and holy? Nothing would ever be ‘fair’ again. I sure hope, at the very least, that fruit tasted good, Eve. When the world feels too big for us to understand, when life throws the wrench in our plans and it all seems like it’s just too much weight to carry? Remember that not once are you expected to carry the weight of this world on your own. Where there is a will, there is a way. There are people to walk into the dark scary places holding our hands, and the best part of all? Is that we have direct access and ultimate friendship in our Creator who will walk right into the unknown with us and calm these raging seas…all we have to do is ask.
Take your burden, your unexpected set-backs, your all-too-much-to handle heart issues, and lay them down in prayer. Ask for help. Our burdens are so heavy. But friend? You aren’t expected to carry them all on your own. Together is better.
“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matthew 28:11-30