There are those moments when we realize just how little we know.
We may be on a good track, trucking along, doing our “thing,” and thinking we’ve got it a teensy bit together. Even if we’ve overcome the whole “I’m doing better than other people” attitude, we can still secretly believe that our “right methods of living life” will guarantee us success and happiness.
And then someone suddenly blazes an unexpected trail before us, something horrible happens, and we stumble, we falter…. and ask, wait… I raised my kid ‘right.’ I did all those same things… what if…. what if it doesn’t turn out as I planned?!
I have watched more than my fair share of protective mothers and fathers experience utter shock when their child hit the pavement with the first taste of freedom, and became pregnant at 16, left any semblance of religious belief, and wandered through a path that was neither planned nor even imagined by his or her parents. I should know. I did the same thing, minus being pregnant at 16.
I have watched people of all walks of life hand out judgments on those “terrible people who got divorced,” only to watch them tragically experience their spouse leave them. I have watched people say “those sinful gay people,” only to suddenly realize that their beloved child struggles with gender issues or same sex attraction. I have watched people on both sides of the vaccine issue; some who say “NEVER VACCINATE” whose baby ends up with a deadly illness, and others who say “ALWAYS VACCINATE” whose child ends up having an allergic reaction to a common vaccine due to immune system deficiencies.
I have watched people make excellent financial investments, experiencing wealth and prestige, only to lose everything in a split second when their industry or business collapses.
I have watched people head straight into a cult, thinking they are elite and that they know more than the rest of us “uneducated and unenlightened people”…. only to find themselves confused and ousted from the same cult several years later.
I have watched people say “medications for depression CAUSE depression” and who make claims that essential oils can cure heart disease. And I’ve known people whose children on anti-depressive or anti-anxiety medications developed strong disabilities like bipolar and suicidal depression before the age of 12.
And then, I have watched people who have had dramatic and beautiful conversions, people who have chosen well, come around to good choices, live healthy lives…. only to have theirs and their family’s lives crumble overnight.
I have experienced in my own life over half of the situations I mentioned above…. but this week has thrown me off. A friend of mine losing her beautiful son to suicide with no warning showed me a new trail that has been blazed in my life, in regards to my children; the potential for devastation to hit anyone, no matter their life choices. I struggle against depression and anxiety at times. My teens are starting to experience it sometimes. And genetic-wise, both my family and my husband’s family have been plagued with chronic depression for some family members.
Yes, I have made enough rash judgments in my life to stop judging ANYone and just stick with truth and compassion, as well as bearing my own cross(es) as well as supporting so many others who simply bear their cross and sometimes cry out in pain….. but I realize the price of Truth and Life is high. This last week pushed me. And I contacted a well-respected author and friend, Patrick Madrid, in bewilderment as for what to do regarding our mutual friend’s son passing away…. I felt I should share his advice, as it is what keeps me from despair, especially in these trying times:
He said, “Yes, it’s horrendous what happened. We all have to keep pressing on and stay close to Jesus and Mary. That’s the only way to make it through challenging times, as you know.”
In the end, we need God. When all becomes dark and muddled and confused, and there is no science or human understanding left to cancel out our pain, all that makes sense is God and His love for each of us…..
Recently, when I was experiencing my third flu in January, I was left (like many) on the brink of pneumonia, severely underweight, and dehydrated. In that place of utter weakness (which thankfully passed), I recall saying through tears to my husband, “All that makes sense is the cross! It’s the only thing that makes sense right now!”
Yes, I was a bit delirious from my illness, but it still rings true. Sometimes, the cross is all we have to cling to, and I guarantee that He will always come through. We may not feel it with one cell in our body, but it is true.
If nothing makes sense, realize that the cross didn’t either. Not with human sense, anyway.
But on the third day, there was Victory.
We are NOT to fear, even if others have gone before us in various challenges and unthinkable pain. But we are to pray for those who are trailblazing on the way of the cross (rather than judge them), like the saints and martyrs before us, and realize that our only guarantee is God’s love. And if necessary, let us cling to his Supreme Act of Love, willingly giving His life for each of us on the Cross.
Blessed Great and Holy Lent, and all my love,
For more information about Patrick Madrid and his many excellent writings, please check out PatrickMadrid.com.
For more information on how to support my friend who has lost her son, please click on this link for Leticia Adams.