Spiritual Choices a Henri Nouwen devotional.
Choices make the difference. Two people are in the same accident and severely wounded. They did not choose to be in the accident. It happened to them. But one of them chooses to live the experience in bitterness, the other in gratitude. These choices radically influenced their lives and the lives of their families and friends. We have very little control over what happens in our lives, but we have a lot of control over how we integrate and remember what happens. It is precisely these spiritual choices that determine whether we live our lives with dignity.
I have been on this journey for over two years—from the most traumatic and painful to a newfound contentment and even joy. Along the road I have met many different travelers. It always amazes me at the lengths folks go to avoid feeling (or dealing with) pain. One person in my life even accused me of being a “downer” because whenever she experiences pain she simply “thinks happy thoughts”---geezzz—lucky her. Apparently she still sleeps with a husband who breathes in and out---ok---I digress…. What concerns me is this superficial “choice”— this choice to evade seems to imply the avoidance of working through the pain. I wonder if this strategy will end up backfiring in the future and the pain becoming overwhelming.
The pain of loss never entirely goes away; however, it is vital to make a conscious decision to work through it. Avoiding the lure of bitterness becomes another balancing act. The very thought of “choosing” to live in gratitude seems absurd at best. How can you be grateful while enduring such heartache? The answer is that WE can’t, but by living within our faith it becomes possible. When Don died, I wanted, more than anything, to make sure I appeared strong for my kids. What I found instead was the ability to recognize the “blessing in the thorn” The fact is that it is impossible to experience real joy without knowing the heartache of real pain.
This I know for sure…
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