Tuesday, November 24, 2009

the why vs. the what

church on sundays isn't quite the same. but it's still fulfilling and worthwhile. this past sunday, our pastor (keith battle) talked about how he deals with trials in his life. with the deaths, illness, and other struggles, 2009 has been a tough year for a lot of people (can i get an amen?).

pastor battle talked about how he's learned to avoid doing what most of us do when tragedy and trials happen in our lives. he's learned to resist the urge to ask "why?" it's a natural thing, but the truth is asking "why?" doesn't help us move forward. it also implies a sense of entitlement that none of us has really earned (that's a jessica addition).

instead of asking "why?", pastor battle suggested that we ask "what?" as in, "what am i supposed to learn from this?" now i can honestly say that i often look for lessons in life. and that i believe life is all about learning, growing, and getting better. but i can also honestly say that after Jarronn died, i had no capacity to see a lesson in the situation. in my mind, Jarronn's death wasn't worth some lesson i might learn. it wasn't worth the pain that it caused me, his family, and so many of the lives he touched.

but there are some things i've learned. not sure that they're the ultimate lessons. those might come months or years down the line. but they're good ones, i think. i've learned that we have false perceptions about the amount of control we have over our lives. i've learned that grieving is a process that chooses us and can't be rushed through. i've learned that the human spirit is incredibly strong and has the capacity to overcome anything.

and perhaps pastor battle is right when he says, "pain is the greatest classroom." pain, unlike happiness, gets our attention. i swear i thought i was being attentive enough, but apparently, God had a different opinion. and oh, how i'd hate to go through this class and not learn anything. left to repeat it over and over, until i receive my passing grade...

"When times are good, be happy;
but when times are bad, consider:
God has made the one
as well as the other." - Ecclesiastes 7:14


  1. Wow... I'm speechless... Thanks for sharing.. Such wisdom and insight at a time like this..
    Very profound..

  2. Das-real-good-right-dere-gurl...real-good (said like an old man). Had to slap my knee on that one!
    Thank you for sharing this Jess, I really don't know what else to say but "Wow"


  3. jarronn's death reminded me of how important family is. before he passed, i rarely saw or talked to ali (even though we live in the same city) and i hadn't talked to theo or shawnique in years, and i was having problems with my sisters. jarronn reminded us how much we love and should support eachother.
    i'm working for ali now, and i regularly keep in touch with my sisters, theo, and shawnique now. i think jarronn would be honored to know that he brought us all gack together. looking at facebook alone, i can see how much we all keep in touch now. i hate that jarronn isn't here physically to see how close we all are, but i know he's smiling down and glad that his family is bonding more.

  4. Definitely a word sis...definitely a word. Your piece on the "sense of entitlement"...golden. We definitely believe in the troubling and low times of our lives, God owes us an answer...He doesn't...there's something he owes us, but, that's for another post. If we're blessed to get one, THE JUMPOFF has occurred! If not, we must continue to fulfill our purpose in life and living: to worship Him and learn how to become more like Christ through what we experience.

    Good stuff sis. I bless God that you continue to persevere through it all...

    Love 4 my dove...

  5. Just had to add a couple of things...
    1. That scripture really put some things into perspective for me with respect to some things happening in my life currently.

    2. Being able to ask "what" and not "why"...blessing from God...

  6. Such wisdom for such a young women. No wonder Jarronn loved you so much. I have to ask myself what did I learn from this tragedy. I have learned to walk closure to the father, to learn to love as I have never loved before and not to be so judgemental still working on this one. I learned to reach out to others that are unreachable.

    Momma Etelle

  7. Thanks for sharing your heart, Jess. That message struck me too on Sunday.