Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Trust in the middle of pain

Pain, some say, makes us stronger. Pain is a universal experience. So instead of spending energy and time trying to figure out why some days I feel I am getting a bigger share of pain than the average, I am learning to experience the pain, keep my larger context present and find the small rays of light left in my days, so then, I can be thankful. I know it sounds counter intuitive, but it works.
At one level thankfulness is the expression of trust, and trust is the expression of love. I cannot love if I don't trust, and I cannot say I am trusting if I am not thankful.
The American Dollar says "in God we trust", well, not really. The founding fathers believed that, but the majority today don't even recognize God. If they trusted God, they would be a loving and a thankful nation, because the good book says that God is love. However, all the evidence points to a greedy, self-serving nation, always looking for a spin on what they do.
So, when I say I trust God, I mean that in the middle of my pain, God's love shows up as a soothing energy that fills my psyche with comforting peace and thankfulness. He shows that he loves me by reminding me of his commitment to walk with me to the end and his promise of not paying me as I deserve, but rather being merciful to me. In spite of the pain, I can be thankful, because he is around.
I suffer when I see Jan in pain. This is because I love her. He reminds me that he understands pain because he also suffered for this pain in Jesus. He reminds me that the pain does not come from God, it comes rather from the broken arrangements in our broken world that have affected everything, including our health. I remember that he made a good world, then my ancestors came and messed it up. He doesn't like the mess we made, but He does not leave us alone.
Pain seems to be the opportunity to really understand thankfulness, trust and love. Love does not run when the going gets though. Trust does not melt in the middle of the battle. His presence is not diminished even if in the middle of the pain my trust wears thin. Why? because this is a two way relationship in which one side never changes his promise. I may run out of strength and trust, I may find myself at the end of my rope, I may feel like I have no love left in me to go on, yet, right there, I know God is near giving me extra love, trusting I will choose to rely on his strength rather on mine, and freeing enough space in my heart to be thankful (opposite to entitled).
If I printed my own money, it would be too presumptuous to write as a motto "In God I trust", because, in the darkest hours of Jan's illness, I feel I have lost my trust. Yet, deep inside of me I can repeat Wumbrandt's words: "if I am unfaithful, I am unfaithfully yours"

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Spring Time!

It's Spring time!
I was waiting for this milestone in the annual calendar with great trepidation. The impact of a long winter on my psyche is more than the SAD syndrome, or having had enough of "cabin fever" because of the the cold. I tried spending as much time as possible outdoors. I tried being active. I tried being social. None of that seems to convince these old bones that some cold is OK; that people seem to be more productive in the cold weather; that cold days make good occasions for great family time. Nonetheless, I felt cold, too cold.
I will chalk it to my Mexican origins. I lack the genes of those born here.
Jan continues her progress in small steps. Now and then, there is a major setback, mainly when she has a seizure.
In our marriage she is the faith backbone. Despite the pain and impediments she continues trusting God, while I continue to question the dark night of the soul we are going through.
The main struggle is with a sense that we have been thrown out of our purpose. What was that purpose I thought we had and now we have lost? That is a big question for the next blog.