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The Beginning of a New Path

Many people through the ages have said many profound things about loss. But at the risk of oversimplifying, loss, by its very nature, is change. Change, by its very nature, is loss – and both can be incredibly difficult. When we lose something – a friendship, job, family member, career, or dream – we are forced to change. We are forced to surrender our idea of how we thought life was going to be and accept the reality that it isn’t going to be the way we thought it was going to be after all. This loss must be felt. It must be grieved. It must be accepted before it can be released.

While God does have our very best interest at heart, there are times in life when we may question this reality that we’ve been told over and over again. Even though we KNOW God loves us, when we experience loss, and all of the messy ugliness that comes with it, we are forced to stare our own vulnerability and utter lack of control square in the face. There are times when change is terribly unfair, undeserved, and confusing; if not kept in check, the confusion can quickly turn to resentment and anger, because no one this side of heaven can explain – REALLY explain – why bad things happen to good people. Some things just don’t make any sense to our wisdom, and any attempt to offer an explanation generally feels trite, dismissive, or just downright untrue.

But God says HIS foolishness is wiser than our wisdom and HIS weakness is stronger than our strength. It’s a good thing too, because our wisest philosopher’s insight still cannot explain the unexplainable. No sane person rejoices in the loss of something valuable, because losing something or someone you love is painful. But, if we can bring ourselves to a place of raw vulnerability, a place where we feel how we feel and love ourselves through it, we will see clearly enough to find the beauty in the unanswered questions. God will lead us to a new normal, and we will feel the joy of living again.

This September 11, on the anniversary of an event that thrust so many into a tremendous and crushing season of loss, may you have peace amidst your turmoil, acceptance of your pain, and a sense of wonder for the unknown. He will not leave you. He will not forsake you. Together, through change and loss, you will find the beginning of a new path.

Never Give Up, Never Give Up, Never Give Up

— Winston Churchill

Light & Love

As I reflect on the life of Martin Luther King, Jr. I am reminded of his powerful, yet frequently-forgotten, words: Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. If society really lived by his words, this world would be a different place entirely. King’s dedication to non-violent social reform and revolution is a lesson in love, peace, and hope. Jesus preached a similar message, and lived a life that exemplified that this is the very best (though certainly not the easiest) way to live. Both men were committed to the cause of peace; Jesus died so that we could live surrounded by it for all of eternity.

Jesus admonished us, time and time again, to love. He used parables to show us that light really does drive out darkness. Jesus, King, and physics have proven this to be true. If I hate someone because they hate someone else, am I really any better the the person I hate? Yes, I may be more socially acceptable. My disgust and hatred may be seemingly justified, but in the end, hate is hate. Darkness is darkness. And the result is devastating.

Let us remember the words that Jesus spoke and the life that he lived. As we celebrate the life of Martin Luther King, Jr., may we be reminded that he stood for peace, unity, and equality. As we examine our own lives, and the way in which we operate in the world, let us always endeavor to be light and love; this is the way to make the world a better place. May we remember to find the beauty, for it is everywhere….we must simply get rid of the shadows, with the radiant light of Jesus, long enough to see it.