Last evening, I came home from a book study and decided that the wood of my desk really did exist and it was high time I found it. It isn't that I had nothing better to do with my time like sleep, but I just can't think clearly when clutter surrounds me. And when my keyboard once again can't be found (and since it's wireless, you can't just trace the cord back to it and pull it out from under the mire!), it is time to just buckle down and deal with the desk disaster. And since I had drunk a glass of green tea at 7:00, sleep was going to be elusive anyway. (We really don't have to address the wisdom of the decision...)
It is interesting what you find buried in your desk. Besides the growing stack of medical bills, the missing container of cocoa roasted almonds, and the library book I couldn't find, there is the calendar I keep so we can track the miles I drive related to medical appointments. Last year, that magic number was in the 12,000 mile range. So far, year to date, we are already at 7,459 miles. In the first three months of the year, I "only" drove 1,600 miles. In the last three months, that number jumped to over 5,600 miles.
So as a matter of perspective...in the last 6 months, there were 67 days that Will and I were either out of state or simply gone to a doctor appointment. We spent about $850 in gas related to those medical miles. There were 3 sleep studies, 15 nights in hotels, 3 nights spent with very gracious friends in Cincinnati, 4 angel flights, and I have no idea how many meals eaten in restaurants or hospital cafeterias. That is a number that I don't know that I want to know. We aren't going to discuss the $10,000 deductible that was met months ago.
So what exactly is the point in evaluating the numbers other than to simply impress you with my statistical abilities? Well...I am currently reading a book called The Healing Path that discusses how "to not waste your pain." He talks about how "suffering changes the human heart - sometimes for good and often for ill...we must consider what it means to live well in a fallen world rather than scramble to escape the veil of sorrow." Despite the temptation to avoid the coming crucifixion, Jesus accepted his suffering in order to ultimately eliminate the separation we have from God. He accepted suffering without cynicism, anger, and hopelessness and did so without being blase'. As believers, we follow his path into suffering but also have the hope he provided us so that we too can suffer with hope, faith, and love.
We aren't called to hide our suffering. That isn't the point. The point is what do we do with our suffering? Here is where I think the visible church gets it wrong so often. They say we live in a fallen world then live as though they are shocked that suffering is occurring and have no idea how to manage it. THAT is why this blog was started. I could no longer hide behind the "Sunday smile" and pretend that we were fine but neither could I constantly say, "No, we aren't okay. We are indeed broken." because no one knew how to handle that answer. But the hope is that even though we are suffering, and people can visibly see it, we also look to Christ and see that He is walking this path with us. The blog is here so that people can see suffering and Christ's hope. Because ultimately, isn't the point of suffering to draw us into closer relationship with Him who gives us hope?