Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies, those transparent moments of awe that change forever how we experience life and the world. ~ Sara Ban Breathnach

Friday, April 8, 2011

Week IV - Day 2 - The Cup of Suffering - The Evening Review

Saying yes to the consequences of my life-choice and decisions, an old hymn kept coming to mind today.  This evening, I began looking for a rendition that spoke to my heart.  I am not familiar with the Southern Gospel artists and I am assuming that is Wintley Phipps audience.  I will admit, he was the last one I tried...and he surprised me with his story and his voice.  The man spoke to my heart AND he offered me a lesson of not being so quick to label and categorize.

I continue to find it interesting how conversations come up that seem to go a long with my reading and journaling. This afternoon I was talking with one of my daughters.  She told me about a patient, a 50 y.o. man who had a new colostomy and the problems he had experienced following surgery.  He asked her for help, and expressed his embarrassment and frustration.  My daughter listened and then shared something she had overheard another nurse tell a patient...
"I cannot imagine what you are going through right now, yet I do know this bag attached to your side has saved your life and I hope that at some point you are able to look at it as your best friend and say, 'Thank You!'"
I shared with her Joyce's thoughts on suffering.  I told her I didn't think the thought would magically change the man's attitude, yet she had planted a seed.

The story of It is Well with My Soul has continued to stay in my mind today as well. Horatio Spafford (1828-1888) was a wealthy Chicago lawyer with a thriving legal practice, a beautiful home, a wife, four daughters and a son. He was also a devout Christian and faithful student of the Scriptures. His circle of friends included Dwight L. Moody, Ira Sankey and various other well-known Christians of the day.

At the very height of his financial and professional success, Horatio and his wife Anna suffered the tragic loss of their young son. Shortly thereafter on October 8, 1871, the Great Chicago Fire destroyed almost every real estate investment that Spafford had.

In 1873, Spafford scheduled a boat trip to Europe in order to give his wife and daughters a much needed vacation and time to recover from the tragedy. He also went to join Moody and Sankey on an evangelistic campaign in England. Spafford sent his wife and daughters ahead of him while he remained in Chicago to take care of some unexpected last minute business. Several days later he received notice that his family's ship had encountered a collision. All four of his daughters drowned; only his wife had survived.

With a heavy heart, Spafford boarded a boat that would take him to his grieving Anna in England. It was on this trip that he penned those now famous words, When sorrow like sea billows roll; it is well, it is well with my soul.

What kept coming to my mind today was that these terrible misfortunes did not occur because of a mindless decision on Spafford's part.  He lived his life and he knew great tragedy AND in the midst of his terrible loss he wrote this beautiful testimony of his faith.

Wiederkehr said that " and sorrow are sisters; they live in the same house."  What I THINK Joyce is trying to help me appreciate is that I will have pain, I will have suffering AND it is my choice as to how I will deal with these inevitable times. 

          "Love waits to strengthen
Love waits to nourish
Love waits to be received
Love waits to heal"
My crosses can be things like anxiety, struggle, heartache, loneliness, sadness, frustrations....things that take up residence in my heart when I refuse to listen and appreciate and honor...the pain and sorrow that is simply a part of living.  To accept the pain and sorrow that occur as consequences of my choices.

When life hands you lemons...
Difficult lessons, yet life giving lessons.

This is not the same as "When life hands you lemons, make lemonade."   I really dislike this statement... enough said.

Lord, I admit it! I want my life to be all joy, laughter, fun...painless.  But so far that has been far from my reality.  Some of my pain has just simply been "life" and some has been the consequence of my decisions.  Teach me. Help me to lean into you during painful seek your support, your encouragement, your guidance...  I know you will help me carry the crosses I bring to you.  Those I burden myself with, all you can do is wait...  

1. How open or aware was I to the presence of God in my day?  Actually, I was very aware...I found myself pausing to notice.

3. Does anything need to be emptied out in order for me to be at peace tonight? It is the weekend, I can't make any life changing phone calls or emails until Monday morning. May I continue to be open and aware to your presence...may I be open to your guidance.  And, for tonight, may I let go of all that weighs on my heart about these decisions...and give them to you.

Divine Companion, shelter me under your wings of love. Grant me a peaceful night and a restful sleep. AMEN. (Joyce Rupp, The Cup of Life, p 18)

Many Blessings ~ Sandi

1 comment:

  1. Love the Southern Gospel piece. Who would have thought that your blogging would lead you up this path? I am so glad that God lets new things into our hearts, even when we aren't expecting it.