"Our pilgrimage on earth cannot be exempt from trial. We actually progress by means of trial. We do not know ourselves except through trial..." - Augustine of Hippo
Reading my Book of Common Prayer this morning (A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals), I'm struck by how pertinent these words are. I suppose, on any given day, I can see pain and trials on the horizon; not just in my life, but in those of the folks around me. Extended family, friends, acquaintances, church friends, community members - there are trials aplenty.
Sometimes we act like the bad times are the exception. I have come to believe that the opposite is true.
My father once told me, "When you're on the mountain top, ride it for all it's worth. The valley is coming; so enjoy the good times while you can."
That's been true in my life. There's the good, and the joy, and the contented feeling that everything is working just right; and then there's the pain, the sorrow, the disconnected, broken part.
This slight change in my paradigm - to celebrate the good times, while knowing that the challenges are right around the corner - this has been, I think, the most healthy decision I've ever made when it comes to How To Live. It impacts my understanding of God; it undergirds my life as a follower of Christ.
Life is hard. Life's not fair. God is good.
(Thank you, Jamie Rasmussen.)
I know so many who are challenged by their circumstances right now. I pray for them, daily.
And for myself.
Teach us to trust in you, O Lord: and follow your way to the end.