Friday, September 29, 2006


The other day when I got off the bus I noticed a teenager standing outside. It was about 3 degrees outside and it was windy and raining a little bit. He was wearing shorts and a t-shirt. Then I looked over several feet across from him and a woman was standing there wearing ski mitts, a toque with ear covers, and a parka. As I chuckled to myself at the contrast it occurred to me that seemed to be a metaphor for the ways people handle pain.

Like the teenager, some people stand there stoically. They either deny that anything is going on or that acknowledge something is going on but act as a pillar of strength. Others hide and bundle up. They protect themselves from everyone and everything. Their life is about whatever bad thing has happened to them. I have been at both ends of the spectrum.

Sometimes I live my life as if nothing is wrong. If I can’t hide that something bad has happened I use the opportunity to demonstrate my strength. Other times I just hide myself away. I don’t want to talk to anyone because it might hurt. I don’t want to do anything because it is hard. I go through life with a mentality of merely surviving it.

As I ride out this current storm I am struggling to be somewhere in the middle. Perhaps I don’t have to do everything right now but I am going to choose not to ignore what is happening either. I suppose it would be a polar-fleece in my analogy.

I think that when Jesus promises abundant life this is partially about how we ride out our storms. I believe that if I live on either end of the spectrum I am not living a full life. If I go outside without a coat I miss out on the comfort that could be gained by relying on my friends through my pain. If I wear a parka I might be comfortable but how do I know when it is safe to come out.

My prayer right now is that I choose life instead of survival at either end of the continuum.

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