Sure I know I have blessings. I spent time with each of my girls today after not seeing them for a week and a half. That's a big blessing.
I had lunch today with both girls, my ex-wife--thank gosh the title is now official--and her boyfriend, and it actually went well. Blessing. Check.
I have friends who check in with me on occasion at just the time when I need them to. Check.
I receive guidance from God in the form of answers to my prayers. What's the percentage of people in all the world who can confidently say this? (And I'm not bragging here. Just recognizing a huge reason for gratitude that's impossible to overstate.)
I could go on. I have blessings. I do see them. Some of them amaze me, really. To the point that I think--Wow, really? What have I done to deserve this?
So yeah, I have them. They keep coming. Some are just amazing. Many are miracles. And I believe I do acknowledge them and give thanks. I believe I try to.
But I see so much more than blessings. I see what I don't have. Things I want that seem perfectly reasonable, yet are incompatible with me :
- A stable, intact family for my daughters. Nope. They have to have two homes. In this case, two is not better than one. And I'll not even mention my first set of kids--or did I just?
- A steady income. Nope. Mine is a job that is not paying enough to pay the bills. Gonna have to rectify that before long.
- Doubts. I darn sure don't want them. But how many answers to my prayers are from me, not God? I have evidence enough to know that my voice has supplanted His in some of those answers to prior prayers.
- Self confidence. What's that? Yeah, uh-uh. Move along. Nothing to see here. Do you have extra? I'll pay you. Do you take credit?
- Lack of depression. In other words, I have depression. Again. It's like the evil twin brother of no self-confidence. Executive function? Heard of that once a long, long, time ago--for eight great weeks. Then poof! Yeah, no.
I remember walking into my new home in Evansville, IN some 15 months ago, freshly separated from my wife. Here were my thoughts:
"This is bottom. I am up $#!^ creek without a paddle. I. Have. No. Clue."
Over the next several months miracles worked their way into my life and I found more than a clue. I found God who became my rock and who lifted me up from rock bottom. He helped me hit reset and lifted me up into a new orbit with new eyes and new habits and helped me begin to build a new life.
Some of those new habits have turned pale and sloughed off like a pair of work pants fallen to the floor after a hard day's work. Two steps forward, now back one.
And yesterday's bright clear eyes have begun to film over, scales forming anew. A little less sunshine, sometimes a lot.
Today on the phone I told my 2nd rock--my mom--I was gonna have to change the title of my story from "How God Saved Me From the Wreckage of Divorce," to "God's Dragging His Feet And Needs to Hurry the Hell Up and Help!"
We both got a good laugh because there is some truth there. Though spoken with tongue in cheek, in my human frailty I really do wish He would hurry up and get my painful lessons over with. I do not enjoy these deprivations. I long for when this time in my life ends. And it may also be that this present level of ingratitude prolongs the trial.
For it is ingratitude, is it not?
Maybe this is the point at which, like the woman who reached out and touched the hem of the Savior's robe, all I can do is to reach. And hope. And pray that my reaching is enough to activate His grace.
For if I ask of myself the question--would I rather have my will or His prevail, assuming they are different, I can still answer "His". I am gratefully too fearful to go my own way.
Yet do I not go my own way still when I am unwilling to reach, unwilling to go a step further and sincerely ask Him what more would He have me change or give up?
In other words, I can reach up toward Him, whose grace is always sufficient, or begin to descend again, to a new rock bottom.