I’ve been a pretty poor blogger over the course of the last year or two. In fact, if my calendar can be trusted, I haven’t posted anything since February of 2016.
Although you’d wonder if I was still alive and kicking around these parts, truth is I’ve been quite active on social media. Particularly one platform — where I’ve been giving out writing advice and helping writers on the regular as best as I know how. But that’s not all that’s been new with me lately. In fact, in the last three months there’s been a great deal of uncomfortable change.
There are times in life when you hit milestones, things that happen to most people at some point in time or another. You graduate high school. You get your first apartment or house. You get your first job. You get married. These are the relatable big things. Solidarity comes with relative ease, as you share your big life event with co-workers or friends or family and they lament your woes, celebrate your successes, and encourage you to press on.
But there’s another category of change. The un-relatable big change. The stuff that no one should ever have to deal with. These kind of changes have impressive gravity. They remove all the relatable big life events from view like a solar eclipse. They blot out the sun. Time itself gets marked differently. There’s the time before this big un-relatable change. And there’s the time after it. And despite the two only being a second apart, the collective distance between those two seconds is immeasurable.
Sounds woeful, right? It should be woeful. It should be world-shattering. Earth-breaking. Mind-scathing. What I’ve experienced in the last three months, a combination of one really big relatable life event, and one very abnormal, very horrendously unrelatable big life event has left me feeling far less despair than I ought to feel.
You see, I endorse a particular set of beliefs. Part of those beliefs dictates that we don’t get in life more than we are capable of handling. In fact, this balance is so intricately struck that when we get very big horrible things in our life, we ought to feel lucky for having such trials. Because such trials are not only a nod to our endurance, but we were entrusted with that burden. That’s right. Entrusted. In fact, my set of beliefs states that we should feel blessed for it.
On most days I don’t feel very blessed, or very lucky for my big un-relatable change. But entrusted? I can feel that. Or at least I can learn to feel it. I can try to feel it. Because trusting that you are entrusted with a burden requires you to have confidence in the one who gave it to you. I live better when I trust in that, when I recognize I lack control no matter how much I’d prefer to have control. I live better when I trust because it forces me to recognize that we live our entire lives by grace. We can’t control the air we breathe. We can’t ensure we will see tomorrow. We can’t even be certain that we’ll make it through the next hour. And the more I recognize the grace in my own existence, the more I can live with grace for others.
Because love isn’t performative. And change, it forces us to recognize this. It forces us to see that we aren’t in control. That we control nothing. And in controlling nothing, we live by grace. And in living by grace, we should be thankful for whatever we are given. And in being thankful for whatever we are given, we should treat others with the same grace, the same forgiveness, the same love.
All change is uncomfortable. All change is hard. But there is a sort of beauty in that. And although we often don’t have a choice in the change that comes to us, we do have a choice in the lens through which we see the change.
So today I choose to see this big wonderful life-change and this big horrible life change through the lens of grace and trust and thankfulness. And that’s all we can really do.