Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Life isn't fair/ Cars and destinations

Okay, I know this sounds like a downer post.... but I promise it's going somewhere happy :)

Life isn't fair.

We start life by jumping in a car with great anticipation for our final destination. As we drive along in life, we make sure we keep our car in the best condition we can by having frequent maintenance so that we can reach our destination smoothly, without any unexpected bumps, turns, or delays. We have the oil changed, we wash the outside and vacuum the interior, we rotate the tires, and we keep our fluids topped off. All effort to keep this car moving is expended during our long drive.

Of course, even when we do all we can to keep our car running smoothly, that pesky "check engine" light still comes on from time to time. Sometimes it comes on every couple of years but we can usually manage. The fixes can often be minor, and if they are major, we think that every couple of years having to fix something on our car isn't too bad. A short delay in our trip can usually be managed without too much difficulty, and we get back on the road.

But when that light seems to come on over and over again in a short time frame, it's hard not to get frustrated or even angry. If we've been keeping up on our maintenance and fixing small problems from time to time, why isn't it working properly? Why does our car AGAIN have to be delayed and put on another course than our original route? It really just isn't fair.

Back when Tony and I had just both finished school and Landon, Emma, and Lily were little ones, we had a car that just seemed to enjoy watching us pour money into it. We kept up on the maintenance and always fixed issues as soon as we noticed them, yet all our hard work (and the money we really didn't have at the time!) seemed to be thrown down the garbage disposal. It finally hit a point that there was no longer anything more we could do and we had to find a new car.

Buying a new car was really difficult at the time. Our budget was tight as the economic recession really put a damper on the job market and Tony could only find work continuing at his job as a student (still with student-level pay). Looking for a car within our budget was difficult, and even the thought of having a higher car payment stressed me out. But we knew our car could no longer get us to our destinations: either we would need to sit and no longer continue forward or we had to take a leap of faith (with some hard work as well) and go ahead and change our car and route.

Spoiler: it all worked out! Tony shortly after got hired as a full-time teacher and we were able to make our payments with no stress. And a new car was needed for more than one reason; other than the fact that our old car no longer worked, I became pregnant with Sophie during this process and we needed a larger car. While changing cars I learned that even when we are doing everything we are asked, life will still through curve balls at us that have nothing to do with our "life performance." But I also saw for myself that finding a new solution and taking that leap of faith brought blessings.

Whether you have a spouse that has died like me, or whether you are dealing with job loss, infertilty, depresssion, marital stress/ divorce, poor health, loneliness, strained family relationships, lack of true friends, etc., no one is exempt from suffering. We will all suffer, and sometimes, in our darkest moments when we're our most broken, we cry out that life isn't fair. If we are trying our best each day to work towards our goals and still feel a looming cloud overhead and a down-pour of continual rain, it isn't because we aren't doing "good enough."

You are doing good enough. And you are being blessed, it just may take awhile to see the beauty that comes in our brokenness. Down in our low points but with faces glancing upward, we will see that life isn't fair. It isn't fair because even though we are imperfect, God loves us and has provided a Savior to save us from our weaknesses and to always be warm and welcoming arms around our sobbing shoulders. All we have to do is trust Him and continue to try. The trade-off hardly seems "fair" to God, as our contribution is minuscule compared to Christ's. The life God has provided us isn't fair, it is beautiful because God loves us so much that all will be made right again. Fairness seems insignificant to the beauty that He offers and gives freely.

Whatever difficulties you had, have, or will experience will not be fair. But they can be beautiful in a different way if we allow ourselves to keep our eyes toward our destination. Keep moving forward and changing cars and routes, and embrace the delays as they come. Eventually we will all get to our destinations, but if we can trust God and follow Him whichever way He leads, we will find the beauty in life.