but it's all our hearts can take

I’ve had some good conversations recently.  We all know that the majority of my time in Seminary I’ve been struggling through this notion of grief and suffering in the Church and how we deal with it.  I’ve written papers, given presentations, walked alongside others, shared my own experiences…overall I’ve tried to enter into this story that we so often shy away from as a church community.
Today I found myself pondering it once again.  I know some people in the middle of a struggle that is hard.  It’s not fair and it’s heartbreaking.  And the worse part of it all is when I feel like I have nothing left to say and my encouragements of “this too shall pass” sound empty and a lot like platitudes.  I have so much faith that God will redeem these hard situations and that his hand is at work even though it feels like He’s not.
And I know this because I’ve been there.  I remember being in the middle of the struggle just praying for a bone to be thrown.  Praying that the hardship will pass and the waters would calm.  And they did.  I’ve lived through them and can honestly say that the waters subside and new life begins.  And my story is richer because of this.
But I also understand that in the midst, it’s hard to see past the waters crashing over your head.  And even as I walk beside these friends and try to hold their hands-I find myself thinking, “I know that this is going to make a great story but right here right now – It hurts.”  And I know that if I find myself thinking that, how much more do the others feel it?
As I processed this all with some friends this morning, I was realizing that my heart is much more attached than I thought it was.  I have grown attached to these friends, I love them and want their pain to stop defining their lives.  I am so angry that they have been dealt this hand and that their lives are forever changed by it.
And then I read this post on The Deeper Family.  In this post the author talks about tipping the scale.  His wife, the mother of his three children, died suddenly.  Life dealt them a short hand, tipping the scale to one side.  In this post the author boldly searches to accept this loss and live in spite of it, to choose to tip the scale back to find its balance.
I’ve never thought about accepting that tragedy does define us.  We have to stop pretending it doesn’t.  It does define our lives, we live in a new reality.  But that doesn’t mean we have to let tragedy diminish our lives.  We can choose to live into the faith that God will redeem the short hand dealt to us by life.
Once we accept that the scale has been tipped, we can tip it back into balance with the way we live our lives in spite of tragedy.
Beautiful concept, and totally liveable.

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