“He won’t let us approach suffering with our own agenda.” Joni Erikson Tada
Because you are the maker of the universe and everything in it, I know that what I am about to share with you, well you probably already know what I am going to say. Even before I say it, right? You know that I don’t always understand your ways, like the amazing, mind boggling gazillion miles of stars and light around this little planet called Earth. I think prior to understanding the staggering magnitude of your creation, I thought earth was pretty much it for created beings that could capture your attention. I heard about UFO’S, heck my family swears we all saw one on a dirt road in New Mexico, but part of me just shook it off and continued to hold my elitist attitude of believing that there aren’t any other life forms. But now that I am older in years, I recognize truly how small we are and how, I don’t know, replaceable. I have been thinking so much about how fragile life is, really fragile, yet so resilient and tenacious in it’s ability to “carry on.” Heck Lord, I am that way, fragile in body and tenacious in spirit. Rowdy like a bull when provoked and tender as a new love for those less able. I think you made me that way, I think you had a plan for me that needed me to be different. I simply desired to be “normal” for so long. Normal as in taller with long thick hair and big eyes, who would be a mom with two kids and go on vacations with her family and eat sea food and drink something fruity with an umbrella in it, painted fingernails and toes and a big wide smile. “Normal” as in one cold a year would be the worst thing I would have to suffer in my body, or maybe have a few sleepless nights. I know that sounds crazy God, that being normal could hold such an allure for me, after all the incredible moments of time and space with you, the GOD of the universe. I guess the suffering that I have been entrusted to endure is the reason I could never be normal, not ever. To be normal is not really what I want, I guess what I want is to not suffer every single day of my adult life, with pain so humbling at times, I beg to draw my last breath and see you unveiled. The truth is I don’t really want to die, nor do I want to second guess the reasons why I am not normal. I just want to recognize that even though I suffer, even though I am skinny and growing older, and can’t go anywhere without being made sick by the chemicals that other’s wear to smell and look “pretty”and the smoke and the herbicides and the cleaning fumes, that the world has gone mad with chemicals and I am not normal. I live with numbness and pins and needles and tingling body parts, and a stomach that burns and churns and eyes that burn and are red all the time and a body that hurts to move and to sit and yes even to lay down. There is not a moment without the awareness that I am not normal. Yet I can stand in my room and feel your presence as strongly as the wind and I can weep for joy at your touch and know your voice and ask you every morning for Manna to get through another day. I don’t take anything for granted, not really, I am not normal enough to do that. When you watch your loved ones take their last breath, over and over again, you know how fragile life’s chord can be. So God, I want this suffering to matter you know? I need for it to matter, to underscore what a good God you really are and not some mean ol God who let’s his people suffer without cause. I don’t really believe that about you, well maybe still I wonder how all this suffering can be love, but that thought doesn’t last very long and I always come back to the truth of me and you. You have ruined me for anything or anyone else. Ruined me with your presence that is unlike anything on this earth, ruined me for normal. I don’t want normal, I want you. I want to feel you in my room and your breath on my cheek and your voice in my ear. I want to continue to be that person who people come to when they want to know you better, or they want someone to hear their cries and their pain. I want to have you be my first thought and my last thought and to be in every thought in between. I’m not there yet of course, I am still too selfish in my pain to be with you in every thought, but I want it to be wild with your presence and caressed with your grace. I thank you God that the suffering has brought me to see those who suffer too and try to do something about it. That’s a gift, to care about others most of the time above yourself. The more I think about myself the more miserable I am. The more I see someone else’s pain and work to help lift it, the better I feel. Suffering did that for me.
Okay, I guess I will end this letter by saying “I wouldn’t change a thing if it meant I wouldn’t be this close to you. I can’t suffer on my terms. I must lean in and lean on you to get through my days and nights and that’s okay. Heck God it’s better than that, tonight the suffering is for you. Because I am yours and you are the creator of the universe and I am small and here for a blink and you are forever. Like your universe, gazillion stars and who knows what else.”