Saturday, March 22, 2014

Once this problem is solved then.......

I have spent a lot of my life waiting, not always a good wait though. It has been with the thought once this problem (whatever it may be) changes than I will do this (something positive, change etc.).
This mentality has been paralyzing at times, yet hopeful that once situations gets proverbially better than my life will be better.
There have been many worries especially when I was younger- once I get the perfect job, or once I get more money, or any other number of scenarios play out than it will be great.
Age catches up and the realization that this life now is reality, reality is no matter what situation I am in, I am the same person bringing the same issues, fears, weaknesses, and baggage into each situation with me.
Kyle has brought many of these thoughts to the forefront. Life won't physically get better, it may be a long time before Jill or I get a full night sleep. The almost impossibility of flying with Kyle makes traveling limited. Due to all his needs Jill and I going away alone for any amount of time is remote. None of those things are going to change. So how does this affect, impact, and even drive our thinking?
In spending many hours with men who look at life in prison I find hope and wisdom from them. I always ask the question how do you get through it, men who have served 20 plus years incarcerated tend to tell the same story. I fought it for the first five or so years. I did the same the things I did on the street, then eventually I realized that wasn't going to help. Usually they turned to faith, but in the end they had a peace even within their surroundings. Circumstances didn't change, their desire to be out with loved ones didn't change. Their character changed. From one of holding onto ideals of what life should be to making the most out of reality.

I remember the first questions I asked after Kyle was diagnosed with MD. I asked the doctor if his children would automatically have MD? I look back and think what a dumb question in the scheme of his life. The things I worried about, and the trivial things that worried me are so minor now compared to the struggles he deals with on a daily basis.

The ideals of life cloud our thinking many times about God, purpose, faith, and living. Last week Jill and I had the unfortunate experience of having our water heater go out for a couple of hours. The frustration of not taking a warm shower was great (in a warped sense). After kicking the heater a few times, and praying God please fix this thing. It ended up working a few hours later. As I was thinking through the process of why it worked. I was convinced it was the kick that worked. But I thought about faith, prayer, and interaction with God. Could God fix it? Sure. But the question is why would He fix it? Or better yet why are most of the prayers I pray about my own comfort and wants? Is anything going to happen (better or worse) if I don't have hot water? No. I will still be clean, and there are tons of people in the world (past and present) who didn't/don't have hot water, so why do I feel like it is my right to have hot water?

In my conversations with men serving life, I have heard it said many times. "People on the outside don't appreciate their simple freedom." I agree with that statement on many levels. In general we don't treat many aspects of life as gifts rather we treat them as rights. Things we deserve for whatever reason. Sure there are those that work hard and there are those who have reaped what they have sown. But this trickles down into attitudes, and daily actions.

What if life never changes? What if the problems never go away? Does this mean I am cursed,or God doesn't love me? I had my hopes that I would have won the billion dollars on the ncaa bracket and life would have been perfect, but I like everyone else didn't. As someone posted on facebook now onto to the next get rich quick scheme. That is our mentality, security comes from knowing I will be taken care of. Whether God likes me or not I can control my destiny by taking care of myself.

I have found that trusting God is difficult, because it doesn't lead to the same place I want to go. It leads to development in character more than comfort. It leads to having issues that don't go away fast, and growing in them. If the fruit of the spirit is one of the natural results of following Jesus: (having love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, and self control) winning a billion dollars will not accomplish that in my life. It may in others but I am  not going to exhibit those qualities in winning.

In the end I am beginning to learn (not fully) that life isn't so much of quickly getting through struggles so normal life can go on. Rather that struggles are a part to grow through and in the end the appreciation for life, God's grace and gifts become so much more evident on a daily basis.

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