David and I took a little Caribbean vacation.
As per usual, I went kicking and screaming. Now, I’m begging him to skip our flight tomorrow and disappear with me for good. I’m nothing if not consistent.
I have eaten seafood morning, noon, and night for four days straight. Well, that’s not quite true. I’ve carefully interspersed the seafood smorgasbord with generous pieces of perfect key lime pie. To counteract the mercury poisoning, see?
It’s been kind of perfect, really. If it makes you feel any better I did get a couple of mosquito bites, though they are the delicious kind that itch just enough to remind you how lucky you are to have mosquito bites covering your warm, brown, sugar-sand coated legs in the middle of March.
Today I told David we need a new family motto: “Work hard, play hard.” I think for too long it might have been closer to: “Work hard. Make sure everybody knows how hard.” Or maybe “Work hard. Martyr harder.” That’s it. Like I should get extra points for how much I’m suffering.
I’m finally starting to see that there is a difference between pain and suffering. The pain is an inevitable consequence of the fall. It is a part of our human experience. The suffering, on the other hand, is always my own creation. More importantly, the suffering is always optional.
David and I haven’t been away on a vacation together for over four years. Our last attempt was a complete disaster. I often refer to it as our most expensive fight. David spent most of it sick on the bathroom floor and I spent all the rest of it resenting him for it. Like I said, the suffering is always my own creation—and I always get better at what I practice. Over the years, I have become a freaking suffering expert.
Which makes finally figuring that I was the source of all of it, nothing short of miraculous.
Here’s the thing: We are a mess. And we make the mess. And all of it is okay because we are just learning, figuring out how to love and how to have compassion and how to see the truth, all while we’re living inside a natural, human body. That’s gonna take some practice.
Today as I was sitting on the beach, watching people of every race and shape and language swim and play around me, I wondered what it must be like to be the God of all these people, with all their needs, and all their heartaches, and all their mess. The weight of all those gaping, cavernous needs seems so enormous and impossible and overwhelming, I don’t know how he can possibly bear it all. And yet he does. He takes all our pain and all our suffering (the stuff of our own creation) and bears it all. Without an ounce of resentment and without creating his own suffering as he does it. There is the true miracle.
Creation. Fall. Atonement. I am here on earth. On earth there is pain. But because of Christ, the suffering is always optional. I am finally beginning to see.