As I raked up the leaves on our driveway and front lawn, it occurred to me that God was teaching me something important about life; something I had missed so many years previously. He had been teaching me the same lesson for nearly the past twelve months.
Initially the lesson had tormented me into varying degrees of chagrin. But now the lesson was teaching me. Such lessons always take time to learn. It was a most important lesson.
The lesson started where I worked, blowing leaves from one place to another. The leaves blew from one place, and I blew them back there, only for them to be blown back. Seems futile, but leaf removal is not the purpose of this task in my life at this stage. God has made it clear it is a lesson. That lesson is to simply watch for the lessons contained within each leaf-blowing experience. Many of them are gold. From a futile task? No. It is no longer seen as a futile, never-ending task. All that was needed was a change in my attitude. To jettison the closed tormented mind. To embrace the teachable open mind.
It’s the same with people. There are some who will always rub us up the wrong way. Some seem to be placed in our lives simply to torment us. But, equally, these same people God has allowed into our lives. He put them there. For a purpose. We would prefer to deal with ‘lovely’ and ‘pretty’ people who help make us feel good, who agree with us, and who inspire us or love us the way we want to be loved. But we would learn nothing about love or inspiration or the Divine if our lives weren’t scattered with unlovely people and difficult situations.
Consider that, for some people, we ourselves are unlovely people. Not everyone has had a bevy of positive experiences with us. Some we have hurt. Others have given up on us. Others, again, cannot work us out. Some cannot work with us at all.
Those we don’t get along with are simply a mirror to us of those who don’t get along with us.
So, we can afford some empathy. We can glimpse humility in entertaining the truth. We’re not as lovely as we’d love to be. The truth only hurts if we continue to court our pride. Better, every day, to pour contempt on it.
Unlovely and unloving people and the tougher situations of life are there either to torment us or to teach us. Which will it be? How would we have it?
It’s the plainest choice of life. Frustration or fulfilment? Infuriation or intrigue? Folly or wisdom? It’s a choice; the easiest thing you will ever do. Make it and live.
God has His purpose in every experience of life.
And I will concede there are atrocities in life that should never happen. Thank God that even out of travesty He can make things new.