Just when we believed that we had all the surprises of 2008 under our belt, our lives took yet another unplanned turn.
I’ve been absent from the blog–busy trying to be healthy again, working out, trying to function normally, and this week I planned on going back to work at the magazine. However, instead of going back to work, I was laid off from the job I’ve had for almost six years. This is a really scary position to be in, but it’s the reality of our economy and the reality of a downward spiral my career at the magazine was on. I watched it happen and should have bailed out months ago on my own terms.
Over the last year God has continually handed a question to me through the circumstances of my life: Do you trust me? The answer is that sometimes I do and the trust comes easily and sometimes, like right now, I strain and twist, reaching into the cluttered closet of my soul and I just can’t seem to find it.
But it’s now that the experience of the past year–the past six years, really–settles itself in front of me in ways I can’t ignore. There is always a path. There is always an answer. Eventually. Thus, I know I can’t give up. I have to chose to trust, even though what I’d like to do most is lay on the couch and wallow in the self pity that comes from discovering you are disposable.
While teaching on a retreat in the fall and while speaking at Forest Home last month, I talked about Legos, about how when we were little we all played with Legos and what did we build with the Legos? Lego towers. We built them using our favorite pieces and tried to build them tall and colorful–my favorite pieces were always those rare clear ones and the rounded ones. But the problem with a Lego tower is that inevitably the minute you get everything just how you like it, someone will knock it down, which is why I have found that life is a lot like a Lego tower.
Sometimes the tower is knocked a little and the repair is easy, other times it gets knocked to the ground. Pieces might get stepped on and broken (or surgically removed). And when we see our broken tower before us it’s hard not to panic. Because all we want in that moment is for the tower to be just like it was before, but it isn’t going to happen. It may get built again, but it will never look the same. When God’s hand is on your life, you will always be in the process of transformation.
But we have to keep building, living in the mystery of not knowing how it will turn out, and the fact of the matter is, it might get knocked down again. Nancy Guthrie says in Holding on to Hope:
“Our task is not to decipher exactly how all of life’s pieces fit and what they all mean, but to remain faithful and obedient to God, who knows all mysteries. That is the kind of faith that is pleasing to God–a faith that is determined to trust him when he has not answered all the questions.”
Which means that I will keep building, using the pieces I’ve been given (whether they are the cool round ones or the plain blue squares) and will try to be at peace with the mystery of the unfinished product. My life, like my body, is in a state of reconstruction, and the upside–there is one, believe it or not–is that I just might like the finished product more than I thought I would.