Lean into Life

So often today we struggle trying to make sense of the blur we call "life". This is most profoundly true at the extreme times.

Someone we love dies

We lose our job

We are offered another job, better pay and we have to sort all that out if we want to leave our current job

We notice that a significant relationship in our life either suddenly changed or over the last several years has slowly changed in such a way that we no longer recognize it

To be sure such rough, rocky times in life we might find what helps us through is a pint of Ben and Jerry's ice cream. Or perhaps for others something even more addictive or even destructive. I recently heard we are the most overweight, addicted, medicated, in-debt adult Americans.

We are trying to find joy, meaning, hope, peace, maybe even numb the pain, in some way. So, the new pair of shoes are great and you get lots of compliments the first time you wear them. Only a month later to see the scuff marks and your friends praising someone else for her new hat. Or your new cell phone amazes your friends out at the bar...until something else comes along.

It is important not to suffer from historical amnesia. This didn't happen over night. This didn't happen because of 'young people' today...who honestly shoulder too much of the blame. And adults who utter such a phrase should be more aware their behavior was the model as those 'young people' grew up!

What drugs (prescribed or not), alcohol, gambling, food, football, shopping, and other experiences can do when we turn to them time and time again. When we act like the whole reason for life is that particular item or thing or event is actually numb the way we experience life. Have a hard day, stop off at the bar like Cheers or perhaps the coffee shop like Friends.

What we struggle to do is lean into life. To lean into the difficulty we are having at work. To ask ourselves if there is something of God's presence even in that struggle. When we self-medicate, it clouds our emotions and thought process. To lean into the difficulty is not the way I live my life. But it is the way I long to live. I long to be someone who keeps his eyes open even when I am not sure what I am looking for. I long to be someone who trusts in God even in the valley of the shadow of death (Psalm 23).

Yet, others tell me, why bother? Advertisers tell me an Ipad 2 will help me feel cool. Or the new McCafe will relax me even as my kids run around screaming. Still others we see shrink or run away from the problems.

Leaning into life, all of life, is where we encounter God most profoundly. It does not always work out. Sometimes we lean into the pain and feel more pain. However, I have yet to find a time though when the pint of Ben and Jerry's was truly, honestly a better escape than actually feeling, noticing, and opening myself to all the present moment.

I pray you and I will have the strength to lean into life....and that we will notice traces of God's grace in those, all those, moments.


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