Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Thoughts From My Coffee Cup

As I sit and drink my morning coffee, my second cup, I might add, I am reflecting on all the change that is happening around me, to me, and that will happen to the future me. I think about the unfairness and the loss of comfort.  I think about how happy I was for what seems like a very brief moment.  Apparently I'm selfish that way. I really want ALL the happy.

I’m no stranger to change. I mean, I’m 33 years old. A lot has happened since 1980; Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Bush, Obama. I didn’t even have to Google that. I’m just so tired of the roller coaster. One minute everyone is thriving; you, your family, your friends, perfect strangers and the next you’re dealing with the loss of friends, a cancer diagnosis, a late mortgage, a rotted floor and 2 screaming kids. Not necessarily my life but things that have been happening around me. I reread that and it seems more than pessimistic. I can’t control that sometimes, the part of my brain that wants to be angry at everything and ignore any small glimpse of good.

Am I in a full blown wilderness? To answer that honestly I would have to say no. Logically I know that this is just a pothole on this seemingly insane, ever-changing stretch of highway of life.(My dramatic interpretation of comparing life to a road, but a big road.) Emotionally I’m just drained. I have tried everything to feel better. I’ve eaten things that are bad for me. I’ve prayed. I’ve read scripture. I’ve prayed more. I’ve yelled at God even. I’ve yelled in the car to myself and I've cried. I just feel wretched and like all the times before that I have felt this way there is this nudge that I must endure what I’m feeling. I must be strong. I must handle it in a way that was better than before. I wish I could say experience has helped me do all those things but I have my doubts. I still have anger, a lot of anger. I still have regret. I still soothe my pain with old habits. I still have moments where I am completely clueless as to how to move forward. I really wish life had a refresh button. You push it and everything works the way it’s supposed to again.

With clearly no restart, my options are few. In the words of Anne Lamott, “Faith includes noticing the mess, the emptiness and discomfort, and letting it be there until some light returns.” In faith, in hoping, we are asked to be patient. We are asked to be willing to trust. We are asked to be willing to wait. I read a passage today from my Lenten Devotional about Moses leading the Israelites through the desert. As they journeyed they began to doubt this God they had chosen. They began to doubt Moses. Without water, without shelter, without certainty they had almost given up and they became angry despite what they had already been shown, despite the evidence that they had not been forgotten.

At the end of the day, no matter what change happens, I think all we really need to know is that we have not been forgotten. We need the reminder of goodness and safety even though we have been shown those things over and over again. We need the reminder that even when we ourselves have no instant way to soothe our pain or make sense of it, there is hope in newness, there is hope in our faith, and there is hope in discomfort. There may be loss, there may be pain but "how lucky are we to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard." And how lucky are we that we have the opportunity to welcome the ‘light’ of a dark day.


  1. This is the best thing I've ever seen you write. Wow.

  2. You know you are not alone. So many of us struggle with these things. The circle of life I suppose. More often it is like a rollercoaster. The ups and downs take their toll, but it is the straight drop that has us wondering if we can get back up again. I have been staring at clocks and calendars all day, subconsciously. Then I realized why. Tomorrow my mother would have been 70 years old. I didn't forget, I just didn't want to acknowledge it until tomorrow. I have found a new perspective on the tragedies that have occurred in my life. In order to make something positive out of them I have focused on finding ways that I may be able to help others. That is how I deal with the pain, anger and despair that sometimes comes over me. Sometimes, I try to educate people on the horrors of long term tobacco use. Other times I talk openly about cancer, suicide or drugs. Some days at work I will just pay for someone's food or drink if they don't have enough to pay for it. I am truly amazed about how many of our customers can barely feed their families and have to start taking items back off of their purchase because they don't have enough money to buy it. What is more amazing is the hope it gives me when someone in line says "Don't put that back, I will give you the 5 dollars," or 3 or even sometimes it is only pennies. I am rambling, off topic. There is always hope, there is always peace and happiness to be found. We humans do the best with what we are given and we are never alone.