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