Yesterday, the lesson came up again. This time it was from Reverend Kathy in a sermon on forgiveness.The lesson is to be grateful for all of our life experiences. Of course, it’s easy to be grateful for the good ones, but to be grateful for an auto accident, for financials struggles, for illness, that is an art. Then, she went there. She even included the loss of a child. On the way home, Tywana and I discussed this. What does this mean? How could we get there? Is it humanly possible? Is it even desirable? We both affirmed we are not there and from where we are, we can’t even see the path to that place. While we are accepting of the fact that this had to happen, gratitude is hardly the word I would use to describe it. We can see the good that has come from it and the opportunities it has given us to to serve, but if we could trade those opportunities in to have Shayna back we’d both do it without a moment’s hesitation. So, no, I can’t claim I have gratitude for this road.
Then, this morning, the lesson Kathy preached was confirmed. I was listening to a Swedenborg broadcast. The subject is “Does your life matter?’ The obvious answer is they were going to try to convince me that it does. Helen Keller, a big fan of Swedenborg said if think you’re not making a difference where you are now, don’t imagine you could make a difference somewhere else. Swedenborg would say it’s meaningless to imagine you could be anywhere else because Divine Providence has placed exactly where you should be for your greatest good, at all times. If this is true, it makes sense to be grateful for all circumstances. No matter how bad things may appear at any point in time, they are the best possible for your greatest good. And, it’s not only for your greatest good, it’s to make you the uniquely qualified person you need to be to play your role in the Kingdom
I struggle with this. If all of this is true, why do I not feel grateful? Why does life seem hard, nigh impossible? Then, I think of Jesus. When Lazarus died, Jesus wept. In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus prayed until blood fell like sweat from His brow. That is some serious praying. Jesus prayed “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me.” I have never prayed anything like that, but I guarantee you that had I known how my life was going to changed on June 24, 2015, I would have stayed up all night praying, just like Jesus, making any bargain, doing anything in my power to let this cup pass from me. Then, on the cross, Jesus cried out “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?”, a prayer I can certainly relate to. Why do I have to go through this? I pray every day, in one form or another, to make it stop.
These sermons on gratitude and Divine Providence are helpful. I meditate on them. And, at times, I get it. However, I don’t beat myself up over not always seeing things that way. I am only human, after all. I am flesh and blood. I miss Shayna even though they’ve told me to detach from the physical addiction. I know I’m not supposed to attach to the things of this world and I think I could live without any of them, other than my family. Losing Shayna is the ultimate test. I want comfort and security of the physical world, knowing my needs will be met. These things are part of being human. I’ll never be like Jesus in most ways. Clearly, I will not have the impact on the world He had, even though I do have my role to play. I’ll never be as spiritually mature as He was in the flesh. I could beat myself up for not reaching that level. However, I’m grateful for the frankness of the gospel writers to include these insights, from the Garden and the Cross, these peeks into the humanity of Jesus to let me know that at least in this one way, I am just like Jesus.