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Tuesday, April 13, 2010

“…one of the longest trips you’ll ever make is back to normal…”

A favorite saying of my mother’s is “it takes all kinds,” it's her “go to” phrase whenever she is confused, amazed, or frustrated by how someone (often times me) deals with a situation. I have heard her say this literally a thousand times over the years. I can see her watching me fumble through an issue, listening to me explain an action, or watching it unfold before her eyes. I can hear her uttering “tsk tsk tsk” before she rolls her eyes and says to me, “well, it takes all kinds!”

Unfortunately trips back to normal all begin on the heels of a bad or sad experience. Bad news and sad news are always unwelcome. If these occurrences were people it would suck to be either one of these guys, always shunned and avoided. However, in the grand scheme of things, within the circle of life, they are inevitable. Sooner or later they surface; in fact they do so throughout our lives. Each of us deals with this reality in our own way. Hence the significance of my mother’s utterance, “it takes all kinds.”

These guys (for lack of a better term) arrive in many ways. Often they come suddenly, unexpectedly expected, a message tied to a brick and tossed through your kitchen window that hits you right between the eyes! Sometimes they sneak up on you, “like a thief in the night” to coin a Bible verse, and tap you on the shoulder, making you shudder. And then there are the times when you see them coming, when you’ve been forewarned, yet you’re powerless to avoid them. You cannot run fast enough or far enough to escape them. To my mind that is the worst way. I had one of those days last month. The last way, the 'in your face here I come' way, it sucked. It was a day I shared with many others, family, friends, and total strangers. It sucked for everyone. Bad news and sad news, I hate those guys!

There is no need to share details, they would be from my perspective anyway and besides, are not germane to the theme of this post. Suffice to say that as bad as bad news gets, and as sad as sad news is, there is always a lesson to be learned. As I’ve said in previous writings, we are never in control of what life brings us; we are only in control of how we deal with it.

I believe that these two guys, Mr. Bad and Mr. Sad are important members of God’s team, on the Boss’ executive staff. They are tools in His hand used for His purpose to shape our hearts and our souls. I have heard it said that one cannot laugh until one has first cried. After all, life begins with fears and tears. Turns out it ends that way as well.

My bad day, my sad day brought me these lessons. Until that day “love at first sight” was a fantasy, something written about in fairy tales. Until that day unconditional love was a divine concept to me, impossible for mere human beings to fathom much less realize. Until that day I believed that my heart was strong enough to endure anything, unbreakable. Wrong, wrong, wrong!

On that day I learned about true heartache and felt its sting, a sharp piercing sting that I have felt everyday since. On that day I learned that unconditional love is divine, but that God shares that gift with very special, very gentle souls, and He scatters them around us to inspire us to love likewise. Shamefully, we are usually too busy to notice and only look back in quiet reflection after He takes His sweet gift back, and we grieve and mourn when that happens. On that day I learned that you can be thunderstruck by a pure heart. That you can fall in love in a heartbeat, brought on by a smile, a glance, a giggle, a laugh, a tear, a gentle voice, or a shout. And once so struck, your heart so captured, the way you look at life changes forever.

I do not think fondly of that day. However, I do remember with a happy heart every day that came before it. Every moment spent in the company of that precious gift God shared with me, and with so many others. And because I carry those memories deep inside my heart of hearts, inside my beating heart, every day that I live until the end of my own days I will do my best to share the fruit of these lessons. I will do my best to open my heart and offer it often, just like an angel did once for me.

Her smile will live forever in the smiles I see on the faces of those she loved and those who loved her. My life is rich beyond measure because of the lessons of that day. I am a better man because of them, because of her, because of God’s divine purpose of which I’ll accept without question, whatever that may be.

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