A chiming doorbell on my cell phone signaled I’d received a text message. “How’s your day?”
I’m so grateful for friends checking in with me. Otherwise my human interaction is limited these days to nurses, strangers in a hospital cafeteria and a frequently sleepy mom…we’re blaming it on Compazine for her nausea.
My reply text, “4 hrs sleep. Got thrown up on. Cried to see mom so sick. Ate junk 4 lunch for comfort. And just got beat at cards cos mom was bored. Good day.” I no longer ask or desire for my days to flow flawlessly. I’m choosing to embrace reality and to thank God for every moment, even if I’m saying, “Thank you, God” through tears.
I used to puzzle over Ecclesiastes 7:3, “Grief is better than laughter…” Today I’m rethinking that. I’ve grieved much these past few months, mostly related to mom’s multiple myeloma and all she has suffered in this process for hope of healing. There have been days when I have forced a laugh, feigned a smile trying to put up a good front. But the tears…those have all been real. Laughter can be faked but grieving cannot. Grieving is honest. In that respect, Scripture holds true. Grief IS better than laughter.
“Do not ask why the old days were better than these, for that is a foolish question.” Ecc. 7:10
We’re often tempted to look back over the “old days” and tell ourselves those were better days. Past pain diminishes. Foggy recall occludes accurate details. Selective memory clings to positive while it ferrets out, then dismisses negative…well, at least in those who favor optimism. Whether a fact, tainted sentiment or complete denial, ascribing “good” to the past can easily be accomplished if we so choose. But today, when my heart is aching over mom’s suffering, when I smell like vomit, I’m coming down from a self-inflicted sugar high, I’m sleep deprived and I can’t seem to stop my eyes from leaking, “Thank you God” has a much different feel to it. I’m steeped in the misery of this day and still I’m choosing to say THIS is a good day. Why? Because I was blessed to spend time with someone I love. Because any “bad day” side-by-side with a loved one is better than the most beautiful day without love. And because God sees my day, sees how it pales in comparison to what mom is dealing with and He graces me with divine perspective…compared to what His Son went through at Calvary, this is a very good day.
“Consider God’s handiwork: who can straighten what he has made crooked? When things go well, be glad. When things go ill, consider this: God has set the one alongside the other in such a way that no one can find out what is to happen next…man is greatly troubled by ignorance of the future. Who can tell him what it will bring? It is not in man’s power to restrain the wind and no one has power over the day of death. In war, no one can lay aside his arms, no wealth can save its possessors.” Ecc 7:13-14; 8:6-8
Control is an illusion. I can’t predict what will happen and I am powerless to control outcomes. The only thing I can fully control is how my heart will respond to the here and now. By God’s mercy, as long as I have breath in my body, I get to decide one day at a time to say “Thank You, God” even when grief overshadows laughter.