I had to text Patrick earlier this week and apologize for my attitude lately. I've been a bear. I think the glossy happiness of Kachi's arrival had worn off sometime between weeks 5 and 6, and the excitement had turned into plain old hard work and sleep deprivation. I expected it, the hard work, but somewhere along the way it's all I started to see. And that's the thing about my heart - I find it much easier to see the gloomy things than the good things, even when they're both present. Someone must have been praying for me this week, though, because God knocked on my heart and reminded me to keep my eyes open ... there is so much good. At the risk of sounding like a Christmas cliché, love actually is all around.
The thing is, I need to set my eyes on seeing it, instead of seeing the misery.
This blog post rolled around my facebook newsfeed a while ago. I skipped over it until it was probably the last thing left to read.
Maybe I had a hunch it would be as convicting as it was.
The author states that the most overlooked characteristic in seeking a spouse is whether or not they suffer well. I knew before I'd half finished that I have a lot to work on.
I think I'm actually pretty good in a crisis. When something goes wrong that's dramatic and sudden, I'm your woman. Need to rig up an emergency survival kit with a used kleenex, bent nail, and soggy receipts? I can do that. (Okay, not that exactly, but I'm fairly resourceful.) Need to feed an unexpected crowd with scant groceries? No problem. Even in the pinchiest pinch, I can manage well. But suffer well?
I stink at it.
I chafe in long term endurance. It takes me a realllllllly long time to accept suffering as being out of my control. I'm not good at holding my peace, resting, trusting in the midst of suffering. I stew about it. I brood. I think about the way I wish things were, I think about ways to end it all, I desperately scrounge for any other way but the suffering way.
And I'm miserable in it. I'm not like one of those people in a movie montage, striving against suffering with their chin up and eyes fixed on some mystic horizon. I'm just a grouch. And oh, if anyone on this earth deserves more in their spouse, it's Patrick. He suffers well. He endures with hope. (Ha! He gets lots of practice, enduring me ;) )
I think that my response would have been less like Mary's, and more like Zachariah's. When hearing that God had chosen me to bear the Son, to bear the disbelief, to bear the shame - I would have been scrambling for a way to make it work on my own terms. To rig up some sort of in-a-pinch fix to hide the pregnancy until marriage. Begging God for proof against gossip and criticism, some heavenly sign that I hadn't done anything wrong to show the world.
But Mary? She didn't trust in her own contrivance, but believed God. I am the servant of the Lord, she said, Let it be to me according to your word. That was her hope - His Word.
As I count down these days to Christmas, waiting, like Mary, and walking in hope, I want to cling to her example. To believe God that His Word is enough. To say - I am your servant. Let it be.
And suffer well, with my eyes on all the good that surrounds me, til the delivery of joy.