I loved this post. The author of the blog, Sam, posted the essay his daughter wrote for her college applications. It’s about taking a leap of faith. It’s about conquering fear. It’s about opening your heart when it is broken and shut. It’s about so many of life’s realities and lessons that I’m astonished a 17 year old wrote it. But I shouldn’t be. I know the 17 year old and she’s no ordinary 17 year old.
A handful of years ago, she lost her younger brother, then 2 years old, to cancer. Can you imagine? Can you imagine being a little girl with life wide open in front of you watching your little brother get sick, and sicker and sicker? Can you imagine being a big sister and feeling the sense of responsibility all older siblings feel and somehow dealing with saying goodbye to your baby brother? Can you imagine grieving that kind of grief when you are still young enough to watch cartoons and crawl into your parent’s bed in the middle of the night because something woke you?
And if you can get your mind around that, then try this on for size. Less than a year later, she had to do it all over again. This time, with her mother. This little girl who had to learn too early how to say the final goodbye kissed her mom one last time too and was plunged into the dark night all children will share – but most of us when we are adults. Cancer once again wrung her heart dry.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about life’s hardships. I’ve been tinkering around with my own philosophies and turning them up and over in my mind. I’ve been contemplating some big issues. And I’ve been asking some tough questions.
I don’t have any answers. Not really. But I do know a few things.
I know life isn’t supposed to be pain free.
I know we, as humans, are designed to feel pain.
I know without pain, our bodies would suffer greater injuries and deeper wounds.
In other words, I know pain has a purpose.
What Katherine’s post reminded me again was that when faced with life’s hardships, we really have two choices.
1) let the hardship define us
2) let the hardship refine us
There is a huge difference. And what I’m saying is Katherine is refined.
He who learns must suffer. And even in our sleep pain that cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart, and in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom to us by the awful grace of God.