I have been praying fervently for something for the past few days. Oh, I know the ground rules...you can't change someone's free will...you can't make other people respond in a way that makes obvious sense to you...and you can't make bargains with God. My mother taught me that last one as I apparently was a born negotiator. But truer words were never spoken. I'm not necessarily trying to do any of the above by my request, but I'm trying to keep from driving myself crazy. I suppose, then, that makes my prayer one of self-preservation.
See, the "drama fairy" has sprinkled a fistful of nasty dust all over my life for the past couple of days. After having the perfect weekend, I came home to a whole host of little aggravations. Nothing that I need to go talk to Dr. Phil about, but enough to keep little foxes in my vineyard to make my wine seem more like vinegar.
Or something like that.
Anyway, I was sitting here having a lovely round of wound-licking when I realized that there are a couple of arrows in my quiver of friends who always have the right words to say when I need to hear them. So, I phoned one of them and apologized profusely for talking to her so much last night that I wasn't entirely sure that she'd pick up the phone today if she saw me on caller ID.
She didn't on the first two tries. She SAID she was out of town. (Oh, come on...I know she was.)
After going through what was on my mind...she just simply blew me away with an entirely different perspective on things. Man, it is good to have friends who won't just agree with you...but who will take it upon themselves to just tell you the truth when you need to hear it.
What she said in a nutshell is what I happen to know...but frequently forget. And that is...that everything that I am going through that is not sweet and light...is there to make me stronger. Not necessarily stronger to make me able to bear more...although that is obviously what it could mean...and I often construe it to mean. What I don't often see is that it makes me able to accept the mantle of some really big responsibility or some huge blessing that He has in store for me.
All I have to do is get through it and learn whatever it is that I need to learn. I have to be strong enough to handle something immensely good...just as I do to bear something truly awful. I can't just recite an incantation and POOF! be strong. I have to bear under the weight of the little aggravations, weights on my soul, and days that I'd rather not relive so that I can build up my spiritual muscles.
I know that a lot of people invest a great deal of time improving their outer shells. I believe that this is not only a good thing...it is admirable. But it is equally good to look at the trouble and trials in our lives and consider that a workout for our souls. Because we generally grow the most during those periods of time that we'd really like to forget. When things are going well...we can sometimes delude ourselves into believing that it was because of something we've done to make it so.
So, as I go through a week that has had a wee bit of drama...I hope that I can see it as God's preparation for something out there that is far better than I imagine. Maybe it is...and maybe it isn't. But I do know that counting it all as joy certainly beats feeling like I'm being picked on. And there's a lot to be said for that.