On my list of top thought provoking subjects there has always been the issue of blessings as many understand it and it’s correlation to one’s status of being blessed, how good or not good God, life or the universe has been. Since my early years I have been encouraged to count my blessings: health, family, protection, food, clothing and life and in the presence of all these I was taught and told that I was “blessed”.
I have spent years thanking God for these. Many of us have and indeed I am grateful. But as of late I can’t help but feel like there has been this blurred line between our thanking God for these blessings and the direct or indirect use of them as tools to say ‘look at me, look at how my life shines’. It’s smeared all over our conversations, our posts and our hash tags and as genuine as some maybe, others not so much; it’s becoming more and more uncomfortable for me. I delight in showing how great God and the universe is through the good times. But what about proving how great He is in the bad?
My discomfort rests in the knowledge that at any point we can lose it all. Be without the things we hold so dear. That the things and situations some hold above the head of their “wrong doers”, “haters” can be lost in the blink of an eye, from things, to people, to status, to experiences. That the covering you boast about today can be removed for any unknown reason tomorrow. Which of us can boast that we understand the acts of God or the universe? I feel compassion. I feel pity, because it seems so many are still unaware. I feel pain, pain for those who are unable to rejoice because their circumstances do not reflect these “blessings”. I wonder how they feel amidst all the noise of thankfulness and declarations of others being blessed.
These thoughts alone have made me second guess the things that I share, the ways that I phrase and manipulate my words. I wonder that if we all had the very same things, same class of families, things, if we all shone the same, would we be so inclined to post the things we do, to have the conversations that we do, the need to say, look at me, look at what I have, look at what I have achieved. I understand that God, the universe has been good but if the whole world was burning and you managed to get just yourself out, do you really believe there would be value in that? This isn’t an expression of judgement, for as much as I try, even I would be found guilty. But I do have an earnest desire to share with those who feel left out, forgotten or not blessed.
Let me tell you. The last few years have been hard for me in more ways than one. But there is a quiet sense of thankfulness, a conviction of being blessed that is gradually climbing its way out of circumstances in which one would otherwise not consider themselves to be blessed or even thankful for. Hard, painful and unpleasant circumstances, situations of uncomfortable change and hard decisions, some the consequences of my own actions, choices or mistakes, some the consequences of the actions, choices or mistakes of others and some just results of life’s special jabs.
In the duration of one of these battles, I was travelling home from work, extremely tired. I really needed to use the bathroom and as I drew near to my stop the rain started to fall, not trickle, I mean pour. I tried to contact someone at home to see if I could get a ride in when I dropped out the maxi, but of course there was no answer. Long story short, I was unable to hold up. With my music in my ears, soaked, I slowly and humbly made my way home, letting everything I had to out. There was all of a sudden no feeling of anything, not anger, not frustration or the previously felt exhaustion. No thought of why me. Instead I smiled and the only thing that came to my mind is, ‘is that all’?
When life literally feels like it is in shambles, when things are changing not for the preferred (since we will never know if or be able to admit it’s for the best), when I am feeling the pain of my current experiences or past choices, when I am not delivered from circumstances, how can I entertain the belief that I am blessed? In a moment of stillness, I am reminded, I AM consecrated, I AM ordained, I AM honoured, I AM sanctified, I AM chosen, I AM favoured. Though less thought of, these words also relate to the word blessed. These are the words I meditate on. They are words that remind me that I am not forgotten, or for impact, thought of. Thought of to enjoy, to save, to bear, to learn, to be humbled, to be prepared, to be the example, to be sacrificed. To be sacrificed.
I don’t know if it is a result of having gotten so much, but we have become so entitled, entitled to joy, entitled to happiness, entitled based on expectations and hope of good, that we have never learned to endure the storms that come our way, to find peace in the middle of them, to truly find God or the universe in the middle of them. We scream and shout and beg to be let out, and find hope and strength in the comfort that maybe it won’t last. But what if the storm lasts?
I’m becoming less and less convinced that life is about any of the comings and goings in our lives. And I mean all of it. I am becoming more convinced that it is about growth and fulfilling purpose, that is to say living purposefully come what may. Those have been the things that I have been able to count as my blessings these last few years. Those are the things that I earnestly and quietly pray for the upcoming years despite other superficial desires.
Life prepares us in similar ways and different ways, sometimes according to our prayers and other times according to what we need (we don’t always pray for what we need), sometimes according to what someone else needs and sometimes according to what God or the universe needs. I’m not giving any ultimate truth on the acts of life. No this is just what I currently believe. I don’t know if I will ever be able to ‘count it all joy’, but I am urged to say a quiet thank you to God and the universe.
I won’t give you encouragement (not this time) by telling you that your troubles or difficult situation won’t last. I don’t know the duration of your trial, test or season, but as for me, I consider myself a warrior. If I remember correctly sometimes a warrior fights and succeeds and other times…. Despite this, a warrior is always ready for battle. He may need to rest sometimes, but he is always willing to fight. I don’t know what the year 2019 will bring, but, have mercy, I pray to God that regardless of what it is we are able to fight, find peace, find Him and always be convicted that we are indeed blessed.