This has been a hard year. The hardest so far of my nearly 28 years.
The last twelve months have seen a number of health issues, which taken on their own would not amount to much. But, coming as they had, consecutively for months, it wore us thin.
Then, your fairly average, run-of-the-mill financial issues you might expect a young family to face. Especially with twins.
Health and finances are common worries, not necessarily things that one can plan perfectly, but to some degree, we know they will happen. But, their weight is amplified when you are living in the fragility of new parenthood.
And then the unexpected. The truly tragic. The loss of a brother. Hard. That is hard.
Four simple letters. A word comprehensible to two-year-olds. No. Hard cannot describe it. No word can. Harsh. Grim. Difficult. Bad. Bleak. Dire. Any other synonym. None of them capture the feeling.
And, as if the grieving weren’t going to be enough. As if I weren’t already going to “deal” with it the “wrong” way, mere days later my husband threw his back out at work. I mean, an ambulance had to pick him up at work and take him to the hospital. I mean, he couldn’t move on his own for days. You bury your grief.
That is enough. That would break a person. Me. It would break me. But it isn’t the end of the hardships.
The notification that our landlord had defaulted on a loan in which our home was collateral. Car troubles. Employment uncertainty.
It’s been a hard year. I feel utterly broken. I feel like I am losing everything. I find myself wondering, what have I done wrong? What is it I am missing? I forget that isn’t how God works.
It is only natural for a human to despair in the face of such hardships.
My husband and I were musing over it all yesterday morning as we shuffled three small children with a five day long bought of the stomach flu off to the doctors office.
It’s been a hard year…
Once it all settles down…
Once we figure it all out…
Once life isn’t so uncertain…
He offered suggestions to comfort me, all things I’d been guilty of thinking myself. Once we have it under control. Once life isn’t so hard. This has just been a tough year.
But, last year felt like a tough year, too. In retrospect, it wasn’t. I mean, even in the thick of it, we were aware of, and thankful for, the blessings generously woven into the hardships.
This year has been hard. But, what makes me think it will ever be any easier? Sure, the pain of losing my brother will soften. But, life will not be without more loss. There will be more struggle. More hardship. Such is the nature of life on this earth.
We have put so much of our happiness into earthly things. Our joy is tied to this world. To our careers– in the simplest sense of providing for our family– but also in ambitions and accomplishments. To our health. To our community. To our home. To our relationships– family and friends.
None of those things are inherently evil, or wrong, to want, or to strive for. To work for. In fact, those are the very basics of human needs. Those are the backbone of life. But none of us are entitled to any of it.
And, that cannot be our joy.
I cannot allow the lack of any comfort of this world, no matter how good, rob me of my joy. Joy that is only found in Jesus. In being a child of God.
Suffering will always be a part of life on earth. Life will always have it’s struggles. It will always be hard. But, I will not let it break me.