It is what it is...
So much of the present season is an echo of those five words; of those five syllables; of the skin-pinching reality laden on the heart.
There are days and times
When life isn’t fair
When harshness chimes
There seems not enough care.
And sadness envelopes
Swarming as sharks
Then despair develops.
Life turns through seasons
Wait for joy to come
Patience has reasons
To endure what’s numb.
Hope’s on the horizon
Look, it’s right there
Vision of Zion
Where everything’s fair!
So don’t despair
When life’s unfair
Borrow your meaning
From God by leaning.
There is a way forward, a way for handling times of trial – or a way for handling times of extended-for-some-time-into-the-future trials – or a way for handling times when trials may never seem to cease.
There is a way, and by way of a habitual way – to press into God, so each day can be as palatable as it can be. For, it is what it is. That’s no harsh dogma and no cliché. There could hardly be a more truthful statement.
Because it is what it is, it’s okay to shed tears, which are an expression of grief for the losses quite altogether unknown, yet known because at some point of cognisance they are known. It’s okay to be stopped in our tracks and stalled for thought and feeling; rendered motionless like deer in headlights.
It’s okay to run forward for a day, before sliding backwards the day following.
It’s all okay. No one should judge or condemn us for it – God doesn’t. Nobody should be impatient, though, because of what’s going on in their own internal world, some might. We give them the grace our energy allows. It’s all we can do.
Life is unfair. Whether we are Christian or yet-to-believe in the grace that has saved us, life is not fair. But God is. And still, it is what it is.
There are shrieks and there are bellows. There is howling and, then, silence; even staring silences of bearing the weight of reality. Then there are thoughts, also, for the joy that is purposed for us to experience, in contention with the pain, the work ahead, and the ongoing knowledge that our child will not reach a ‘normal’ human being’s potential.
But they have a purpose. And this is where I think God is fair.
The Lord is teaching us. Not only is our reality an it-is-what-it-is reality, it’s a reality intended to bless us, to slow us down, to take us into a path where the abundance of God not only remains, but is much more prevalent and noticeable in the everyday. Where we are being led – where we are being taken, no less – is a land where compassion reigns, where kindness is normal, where loving community is implicit in life.
And it’s not the church! (Though there is much loving community in church.) There is hardly a group or a community who can resonate with our situation like those who’ve stridden those dark paths of uncertainty we are about to take, and are taking.
Bearing the weight of reality in ambiguous loss is both easy yet impossible. It may feel as if nothing’s different one moment, yet the next is full of a wealth of uncertainty. Bearing this weight, of accepting moment by moment this harsh reality, is best done with God, who can at least help in ways that run beyond our understanding. Even in a harsh reality, God is good.
© 2014 S. J. Wickham.