8.29.2010

Come What May.


I saw this quote recently and it's stayed in my mind ever since. I really want to share it; but I do realize this is my second "heavy" post in a row.
I promise the next one will be lighter.

So many times the words of others can convey my own feelings more articulately than I ever could. They are succinct, thought-provoking, quick little snap-shots into life and all that entails. Google any topic, and put behind it "quotes" (i.e., "friendship + quotes," or "Mark Twain + quotes"), and you will literally find a garden of wise sayings.

And-- quotes are always applicable. I love that Emily Dickinson, Oskar Schindler, and St. Augustine thought and said things that I, too, have thought... and felt.

The quote above is one that I am ready to put on my wall somewhere. Yes, Word Art. It's one of those lines that initially seems simplistic, but then becomes uncannily relevant. I've literally thought about the statement so much my head aches with that I thought too hard and now my brain is tired feeling I had at the end the one Western Philosophy class in college.


The man who penned this quote was one of great faith, intellect, and influence through "quiet diplomacy." Dag Hammarskjold was a Swedish-born Secretary General of the United Nations from 10 April 1953 until 18 September 1961, when he met an early death in a plane crash while on a peace mission in the Congo. He was posthumously awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

I am fascinated by this subtle figure of history now, because of the one quote that opened this post. After doing a little research, I am ashamed to admit I have a degree in History yet am unfamiliar with a figure so influential in world politics, with a leadership style extraordinarily balanced between pacifism and grand action.

But it is this one statement from Hammarskjold's personal journals, Markings, published after his death, which grabbed my attention more than his very long and accomplished resume:


For all that has been, thanks. For all that will be, yes.


At 30 years old, I realize that life brings moments of utter elation and crippling despair. No more has this been more evident to me than in the last few years, when literally-- in one day-- my life changed forever. Without going into detail, I'll just say that it lead to the eventual breakup of my nuclear family, just substitute dogs for children. *

But for me, the events of February 2008 hit me with a plank that knocked me off the entire life course I had envisioned. I can only recently say with complete sincerity that I'm starting to get back to "normal" again... slowly climbing out of a period deep confusion and sadness.

Sometimes I come across something that triggers the old feelings-- those slippery stones that will always be in the path because, such is Life. It may just be a tiny pebble of deja vu  (i.e., the time I burned Rice-a-Roni and subsequently saw a future of endless Lean Cuisines Meals for One, because who would want to be with someone who can't cook?), to boulders of tragedy. Like the death of my aunt this summer. I have thrown more pity parties for myself in the last two years than Chuck E Cheese has hosted in the last 10; I've questioned the good Lord's wisdom more often than any human created in His image ever should.

I had so much faith and confidence in what I thought was going to be my life, that to suddenly fish-tail into the unknown was beyond my comprehension at first. I simply thought I wasn't going to make it. I sank into the kind of consuming, selfish depression that manifests into a stomach-churning, sleep-depriving, "nothing matters" way of life. I asked God Why me? and How could I have prevented this? relentlessly. (My mother used to tell me, "Stop taking everything so personally. It's not always about you." Appears not to have really registered.)

All this to say, I was encased in that awful depression every moment of every day. For months. It was my existence that I allowed. I forgot about my Best Friend and Sustenance.
I forgot about Christ.

But He hadn't forgotten about me. Blind as I was to His presence, so consumed in my own thoughts, He found a way to whisper healing into my life. I remember the first time since everything happened that I realized I was laughing out loud -- not a fake laugh, not a "get me through the day" laugh-- but really laughing. It was at a friend's house watching reruns of Friends. I was taken aback when I caught myself-- it was like having a migraine for months, to have it go away for a few precious seconds.


The pain was amplified through the relief.

     Of course the sadness came back, but I craved that relief, I wanted so badly it to come back again. Oh, I begged.... implored.... harassed....  asked God for it incessantly. I am ashamed to admit the thought that I didn't deserve this, so You should make it better right now may have crossed my mind a time or twelve.

    But, as a Wise Father knows, it's not about my very ignorant and faulty plan. It's about His. And the happiness I was so void of for so long started to return... slowly. In subtle phases I didn't even realize were occurring, I was pulled out of the grip of hopelessness. He did it through the elegance that only He can; through His whispers, through unconditional family support; a job that allowed me space to grieve; through people who came into my life at just the right time-- (including someone that has shown me the kind of love described in 1 Corinthians 13:4); through friends I've had for years; and yes, even through the wagging tails of my silly dogs on even the darkest of days.

     I remember being 8 years old, climbing a magnolia tree in my front yard on a whim, and doing it with such vigor that only when I ran out of branches above me and finally looked down did I realize I was way too high-- and had no idea how I was going to get out. Panic. Helplessness. But I got down, and in one piece; because my Dad came out of the house and stood at the bottom of the tree with his arms outstretched, without reproach. He slowly coached me down, branch by branch, all the while assuring me that if I fell, he'd catch me. I remember the utter relief and surprise when my Keds hit the solid ground.

    At 28 years old, the Lord coaxed me out of a tree and I didn't even really know it, much less understand it. He did it with such exquisite subtlety that I didn't even know what He was doing. But in retrospect, so much of it makes sense and seems so obvious. Literally, I could list on paper the good that came directly from the difficult situation. All that questioning, the hurt, brought me to a life I am so grateful for today. I am a changed person, I'd like to believe for the better. Why? Because He was with me every moment, whether I chose to see Him or not, knowing the big picture better than I ever could. Knowing He'd get me out of that scary tree.

And I am so grateful.






*I would be remiss if I didn't mention that much worse has happened to people I know and love. As well, I've watched others go through the exact same thing I did, and handle it with much more strength and grace. My "big" bump in the road is nothing compared to things others have experienced.





And, because He proved so good and faithful (as if He needed to prove anything to my very mortal self), I can honestly say that what's to come is fine with me.
It may be unexpected, it may hurt, but one thing is for sure:

He knows what He is doing.
And He'll be my guide.
And it will all turn out okay.



'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the LORD, 'Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.' Jeremiah 29:11

2 comments:

  1. This has been a favorite quote of my family's for probably 30 years or more. I went looking for an image of it and came across your blog post. As I now go through my own period of where you were so many years ago, this is just what I needed to read. God is so good that way! So I wanted you to read that and to know that words you wrote nearly four years ago were found by someone who needed to hear them. I'll take what you've written now and ponder them, thinking about what God might be saying to me today. And most of all I will put this in my calendar to pop up every morning as a reminder, because this is good stuff! Thank you, Christina. Sincerely, Sarah
    'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the LORD, 'Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.' Jeremiah 29:11

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  2. Sarah,
    Thank you SO very much for this beautiful comment! I cannot tell you how much I appreciate your kind words, and that you took the time to let me know. I am so sorry to hear that you are dealing with difficulties. I wish I had been as self-aware at the time as you seem now, it shows your strength that you are able to recognize the Lord's plan and big picture even in the midst of everything. I will be praying for you, and that you are out of the valley sooner rather than later. I re-read this post after seeing your comment, and with even more years distance from things see even more how yes-- there was a plan and things would not just be okay one day, but wonderful. I pray this for you. If you ever need someone to talk to, please don't hesitate to contact me! Thank you so much again.

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