The “Oh, It’s Easy” Lie

I lied last week.

A friend asked how I could pack my life into a single suitcase and move across the country.

My response was something like, “Oh, it’s easy. It’s not like I have to worry about furniture and stuff.”

But it isn’t easy, and after six years filled with more goodbyes than can be counted, I’m convinced that it actually never becomes easy.

I said “see ya later” to friends last week and went home to pack and cry. Some of those have known me over half my life, and others unexpectedly became friends over the past year, and each person holds a special place in my heart.

I held my cat, and cried some more (because my cat is pretty much also a person and was giving me the “I know you’re leaving me” look).

And as I dealt with frustrating travel complications due to NC’s crazy weather patterns, I wanted to curl up in a corner, renounce my adulthood, and just cry some more.

It wasn’t because I’m not excited to be in California or that I’m not looking forward to what the future may hold, it’s just the simple fact that leaving is hard.

And I think if we are doing life right, then it probably should be. It doesn’t seem to me like we should be able to easily just walk away from relationships.

But, really, I’m thankful that it’s a difficult process. Not because I like difficulty, but because it shows that there are a lot of people in my life that I care about and that I know care about me. That’s something that many people don’t have, and would give anything for.

So to everyone I’ve had to say “See You Later” to, thank you for making it hard to leave. Your love and friendship are priceless and not forgotten, even when I don’t voice it as often as I should.

Sunrise and Hope

Two Sundays ago, I was up and on the road before the sun. I was sleepy, desperately in need of coffee, and slightly terrified of what the morning may hold. Walking into places where I don’t know a soul and anticipating that I will have to stand on a platform and speak are the sort of moments my nightmares are made of, and that is precisely what I knew awaited me.

Driving out of Georgia, there was a chill in the air and dark clouds hanging in the sky. Continuing my journey up the interstate, there was a glimmer of light in the distance on the horizon and I knew that daybreak would come soon. I chased that hope of sunshine for a while longer, and it was a beautiful sight as light broke through the dark and covered the sky in color.

Much like hope.

Our world is filled with hopelessness. We can see it in the news we read, and when we are honest, we can see it in the faces of people we meet. And sometime, we find ourselves staring down the barrel of what looks like a hopeless situation. It’s like traveling in the dark when you’re exhausted and feeling certain that nothing good could possibly be ahead.

Today’s popular culture definition for is one of whimsy and fluff, a desire or a feeling, simply wishful thinking. When I looked up the definition in the online version of Merriam-Webster dictionary it actually lists trust and expecting with confidence as definitions, but points out that those terms are “archaic”. I think that just shows that our world has lost so much hope that we have had to change the popular definition.

As Christians, the difference for us is that our hope is sure.  It is not archaic to expect with confidence whatever God has promised. He is hope, and we are carriers of that hope. Or we should be.

Romans 12:12  Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.

Romans 15:13  May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.

Of all people, we should be the ones rejoicing and abounding in hope as we abide in the God of hope, and the world is desperately grappling for some hope to cling to. We also can be patient in difficult times because of this hope, our guarantee.

Leaving Georgia that morning was dark and a bit cold, and with little sleep and no coffee, sunrise definitely seemed far away. The gathering, thick clouds in the sky looked as if it was just going to be a dark, sunless day. Eventually the clouds did give way to sun (and I did locate coffee), though even if it had been a cloudy day, we know that the sun was still shining regardless of my ability to see it in all of its glory.

Maybe you know someone facing a hopeless situation, or someone who just can’t see the hope. Maybe that someone is even you. Just like the sun is shining even if the clouds are blocking our view, God is hope and He is trustworthy even when all of our life circumstances seem to shout a different story in our ears.

There IS still hope.

Hanging By A Moment

Last week I was sitting in the living room with my mom when there was suddenly a loud crash with a lot of spitting and hissing. At first, we thought the fur babies had simply knocked something over, but since the sound continued a moment later I knew something was very wrong.

We ran into the next room to find that curiosity almost killed my cat. He had somehow wrapped himself in the cords to the curtains and blinds and was literally hanging, twisting, turning and clawing for his life to get out of it.

There was no time for concern of my safety, it was all about saving Speedy. So I reached out to scoop him up so the cords would loosen. The poor baby was frightened, of course, and not realizing he was safe continued to claw his way out. Translation: My hand and arm suffered some painful consequences for helping Speedy escape.

I’m happy to say that he is fine, though, to my dismay, still all too curious. Thankfully I live in the country because my blinds are now permanently open as the cords are tucked away from kitty paws.

Besides scaring me spitless, the incident made me think a little.

Cat scratchSometimes when we help others, we get hurt.
And sometimes when others try to help us, we hurt them.

Speedy didn’t maliciously harm me. He was scared, and probably hurting. He was in survival mode.

We all have broken places. We all have pain. We’ve probably all “clawed” a few people that tried to save us from our selves.

There are plenty of stories of people coming to the rescue of others and physically being hurt, or even killed, for their acts. But we know that pain doesn’t just come in the form of cuts, broken bones or burns. I would venture to guess that more often the pain inflicted is internal from the words shouted in anger or spoken out of fear or perhaps the deafening silence that seems to say we don’t even merit the acknowledgement.

And all of those things hurt.
And we don’t like to be hurt.

So it becomes easier to avoid. If I’m not close to people… If I’m not trying to help… If I just mind my own business… then maybe I won’t get hurt again. That only leads to a lonely and empty life.

Relationships are messy. People are confusing. And the part of me that loves rules and organization and freaks out at “freestyle” wants black and white solutions in a world where there are way more than just 50 shades of grey.

But just because we have been hurt, or might get hurt, while helping doesn’t mean that we stop helping or that we stop reaching out.

If the same situation happened again, I would do it all over again because I love my Speedy boy. It’s the same with people – when we love, we take the risks because we know they are valuable and we cannot bear to see them hurt. The intention shouldn’t be to make us feel better or look good, but out of love for truly wanting to see others be free and whole.

After mom cleaned up my bloody mess and bandaged me up, Speedy nuzzled my hand and started trying to lick my wounds. He knew he messed up, and I considered it my kitty apology, which made me cry some more.

I will say that it feels a bit easier to give grace to the cat, than to people. I’ve got my share of stories that involve humans too, but I don’t have to worry about my cat reading the blog.

Have you ever been hurt helping? What made you want to keep reaching out?

Maybe you’ve hurt someone else that tried to help you? Did you ever acknowledge it and apologize?