John Pavlovitz writes in an article:
“Everyone around you: the people you see in the grocery store, pass in traffic, sit near at work, encounter on social media, and see across the kitchen table – are all experiencing the collateral damage of living. They are all grieving someone, missing someone, or worried about someone. Many of their marriages are on shaky ground. Some are late on their mortgage payments. Most, if not all, are struggling to find peace and push back some form of fear or anxiety. “
Every human being experiences the collateral damage of living. We lose things – seasons of life, people we love, jobs, good health, and so on. We chase things in hopes of finding security, purpose or pleasure. (We discover that the chasing leaves us less than fulfilled.) We allow things to become monotonous and then wonder about the presence of joy. The struggles of life are omnipresent.
If we randomly polled a million people worldwide, the results would almost certainly tell the same story. An overwhelming majority of the population would report that life is hard … that is not for the faint of heart. In one of the best-selling books ever, “The Road Less Traveled”, Scott Peck begins with this very declaration. He seems to say, “Face reality, not fantasy. Shape your expectations accordingly. Otherwise, all of life is tainted with disappointment and frustration.”
I believe the reality of struggle and collateral damage is one of the most compelling reasons to have a spiritual life. Faith instructs us on how to see with clear and honest eyes. Faith doesn’t ignore or deny any of life’s challenges. It understands that life is short, that accidents happen, that decision-making is imperfect, that consequences are real. It teaches us to let go, to forgive ourselves and others. It invites us to make meaning in the midst of loss and heartache. It NEVER loses sight of love and its promise of new life.
Who wouldn’t want that kind of faith – a faith that meets us where we are?! It is a life-line. It is ground to stand on. It is the meaning-maker. Sometimes, it becomes our joy.
John Pavlovitz concludes his article with these words, “If most of the people you meet are encountering the collateral damage of life, why not go easy?” That too is faith at work.
See you on Sunday.