It drizzled a bit on Dakota and I as we meandered around the yard chasing a small furry ball. I wondered if I should run inside or outside. But I know me. Outside is almost always better. I need the fresh air. I need the solitude. I’m fighting a sore foot on one side and a tight calf on the other. Getting older, one day at a time. Yay! But not giving up.
I find myself praying a lot on these runs, and even on walks during breaks at work. So many friends are having a hard time with different trials in their lives. Sometimes, it makes me a little panicky. I want to fix it. Everything and all of it. But I can’t. I believe in prayer. I believe in Jesus and His ability to work it all together for good. Yet sometimes, I wish I could do more. Something tangible that could move events forward to a swift, good outcome. I can’t even do this for myself. What makes me think I can do it for someone else? Sure, I can give counsel when needed. I can encourage my friend. I can spend time with them, listen to them as they process the pain.
We watched the movie “Ever After” on Saturday. Some of you remember this Drew Barrymore classic, a retelling of “Cinderella”, now 20 years old. Eek! There’s a scene where her character, Danielle, talks with Prince Henry at the monks’ library. Danielle loves books and reading. I’m going to paraphrase it here.
Danielle: I guess it’s because…when I was young, my father would stay up late and read to me. He was addicted to the written word. I would fall asleep listening to the sound of his voice…I suppose they remind me of him. He died when I was eight. I would rather hear his voice again than any sound in the world.
(The Prince looks downcast)
Henry: In all my years of study…not one tutor ever demonstrated…the passion you have shown me in the last two days. You have more conviction in one memory than I have in my entire being.
The beauty of Danielle’s life, losing her father and growing up a servant in her own home, is the fruit of the struggle. She’s become resilient and independent. She’s educated herself and learned to make the best of her life. She knows who she is and what she believes. Henry’s life is a complete contrast. He’s had wealth and privilege his whole life. Never lacked any physical comfort or special toy. Both of his parents still live, though he’d like to be free of his obligations. He realizes in this moment how shallow he truly is.
Our struggles and pain help shape us. I’d like to take all of them from our kids, make no mistake. All the sickness, all the heartache, all the pain. I hate to see them suffer. But maybe doing that isn’t such a good idea. Our storms help us grow up and build character. The stone we trip on now can become part of a foundation for our future lives, if we let God have it.
“But he knows where I am going. And when he tests me, I will come out as pure as gold.” – Job 23:10