Tuesday, April 16

I've Never

Hello, it’s Lisa this time.  Ben’s encouraged me to post about how I’m really doing (as it seems to be a frequently asked question) but that's to be slightly complicated and I’m not sure it myself.  The short answer is I’m doing okay.

So I’ll get back to that (maybe in a few days?) but for now I wanted to address something else that is said to me a lot: something along the lines of “I can’t imagine going through that,” or “I couldn’t do what you are doing”.  Okay, yes, absolutely.  Ten years ago, I would have said the same thing looking at my situation.  Ten years ago, I also never thought that God would enable me to move far away from my hometown or climb one of the Colorado 14ers or make it through the rigors of Architecture school, but those are also things I’ve done.

So I want to encourage you, because I’m almost sure that you have done something very difficult that I could not imagine handling or going through.  And if I said to you “I couldn’t cope with what you have,” then you might say “Yes, but if you did have to face it than with God’s help you would get through it.”

Below is a list of things that seem unimaginably difficult to me.  Please know how blessed and protected I am, how God is getting you through your trials as he is me with mine, and most of all how my strength is not my own.  I won’t seem as brave after you read my list.

I’ve never been divorced, or had a divorce in my immediate family (parents, siblings, or grandparents) and neither has Ben.  We take for granted the blessings of circumstance, tenacious spirits and shared value of the sacredness of marriage that gives us loyal and loving families.

I’ve never had to commute more than 30 minutes each way for work or school.  When I drove Ben to the hospital during our first year and a half in Houston, we went 45 minutes to 2 hours each way depending on traffic.  It was soul-grinding and when I hear about friends driving that amount every day, I just don’t know how they can keep it up.

I’ve never been sexually abused or assaulted.  I can’t imagine having something so demeaning and frightening in my memory or consciousness.

I’ve never had to be apart from my spouse for more than two weeks.  When I hear about friends being separated from their spouses for months on end for service in the armed forces (or other reasons), to me it seems like a temporary death.

I’ve never moved to another country.  This is perhaps within my imagination and even in some ways appealing, but still seems extremely difficult.

I’ve never fought in a war.  I can look to great works of fiction and memoirs to see a shadow of the experience, but in reality can’t begin to comprehend the physical and spiritual strain and struggle.

I’ve never been in danger of starvation.  While in a rare circumstance I’ve been forced to “miss a meal,” there has been abundant food in my life.  I, who literally cannot sleep on an empty stomach, don’t think I could function without the constant protein and nutrients my life affords.  

I’ve never had a high-stakes or intensely stressful job.  While many jobs have been challenging, it’s mostly been in a healthy grow-inducing sort of way.

I’ve never worked in an office full of toxic gossip.  I’ve never been stuck in a job I hated with no end in sight.

I’ve never been persecuted or deprived of basic “rights”.  I’ve never been jailed or beaten.  This almost seems like something that only happened to ancient heroes, though I know it goes on around the world every day.

I’ve never had food allergies.  Perhaps because I find (too much) comfort and pleasure in food, this possibility scares me more than it should.

I’ve never had a parent, sibling, close friend or spouse die.

I’ve never been homeless.

I’ve never given birth or been pregnant.  Sure, these events are often triumphant, but also terrifying.
Therefore, I’ve never had a child die.  I’ve also never stayed up night after night with a screaming infant, fought with a child or made parenting mistakes to regret or watched them get hurt or make terrible life decisions.  Such common experiences seem no less unimaginably heart-wrenching to me.

I’ve never had to be a Caregiver to a spouse while ALSO being a mother.  Working and caregiving can be so all-consuming that adding motherhood to the mix seems beyond manageable.

I’ve never been overwhelmed by debt.

I’ve never experienced great physical pain or chronic untreatable health conditions.  Some people say that I must have a more difficult time than Ben does, but I don’t agree.  If he goes to be with Jesus before me than at that point I will be having a more difficult time than him.  For now, I’m frightened enough of physical suffering that I think he has the harder part.


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