Thursday, March 19, 2015

The Beautiful, Marvelous, and Miserable

I was talking to one of my kids the other day as I drove them all home in the van. We were talking about life (obviously) and in an effort to be positive I exclaimed that life was "beautiful and marvelous!" I asked one of the kids if he agreed.

"Yea," he replied, "beautiful, marvelous and miserable."

I laughed because I thought that sentiment was so perfect. Beautiful, marvelous, and miserable. That's life, isn't it?

The beautiful are the quiet moments that make life so good. They are the everyday blessings that we almost forget to notice. It is the perfect cup of coffee, the breeze and the sunshine, the friendships that make you laugh until your stomach hurts. It sounds cheesy but it's true. Life is full of beautiful moments if we look for them. For me the beautiful is having an apartment all my own, getting unexpected packages from faraway friends, and getting to love on the best kids in the world. Each day we can find the beauty if we pay attention.

The marvelous are easy to notice. These are the wonderful moments that make everything seem brilliant and all the hard stuff fade away for a time. The marvelous are the babies being born and the people falling in love or moving to a new country or a new adventure. The marvelous moments are getting to rejoice with others when life-changing things happen. The marvelous is that moment when we realize how God has been working all this time and we finally see that it really is going to work out. Marvelous moments are always moments of God's greatest blessings.

And then, as my student so astutely pointed out, there are quite a few miserable moments as well. Unfortunately, these moments are inevitable and many times they cloud over the beautiful and the marvelous. The dark clouds cover the brightness of the sun and we remember that this world is imperfect and nothing will ever be quite right until Jesus makes it right. These moments kind of suck, let's be honest.

But you know what? I don't think life would be complete if we didn't have a little bit of each. We need the miserable to make us appreciate the beautiful. We need the marvelous to give us momentum to keep going no matter what each day brings. We need all of life's ups and downs to remind us of God's unchanging, steadfast love and attention through whatever the day brings. It doesn't matter how we feel or what goes on, the most brilliant of it all is that God is constant and He is always always faithful. 

Brennan Manning seems to know me when he writes:

"I believe in God with all my heart. And in a given day [when bad things happen]. . . I wonder if God even exists. As I've said before, I address Him and I get discouraged. I love and I hate. I feel better about feeling good. I feel guilty if I don't feel guilty. I'm wide open, I'm locked in. I'm trusting and suspicious. I'm honest and I still play games. Aristotle said I'm a rational animal. But I'm not." 

That is my life- a series of paradoxes and ups and downs and who knows what each day will bring. But my goodness our God is constant, and isn't that something to rejoice about?

Beautiful, marvelous, and miserable. I'll take a little bit of each please. 

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