There are some days that are harder to redeem than others. Today was one of those days. I discovered some discouraging news this morning that put me in a funk all day long. Tears were never far from my eyes. There isn't much room for sadness or disappointment in our evening routine. But today was an especially rough day on just about everyone in the Gauthier Clan. Today was a day that couldn't be rescued by a run, some time in the sun, a glass of red wine, or a long bath. In fact, after all of these efforts at self-soothing I found myself stuck in a place I don't like to visit very often. I was troubled by the sense that things often feel difficult in my life.
There never seems to be an easy road...and even if there was, I never seem capable of taking it. And I'm not sure if this all-too-familiar place I get stuck in occasionally is best described as self-pity or simply honest reflection. I'm painfully aware of the fact that many have lived ridiculously more difficult lives than I have up until this point in time which is why I want to shut the door to this darker cavern of my heart as soon as I sense that I'm approaching it's entrance. But a part of me wonders if minimizing my own struggles is really the answer.
As I was still desperately seeking some soothing tonight, I immersed myself in another Narnia book titled The Horse and His Boy. One of the characters, Shasta, a young boy, was feeling rather down about his own circumstances in his life and began to describe his woes to Aslan upon their first official meeting. Aslan responds in a way that reveals his presence throughout the boys entire journey:
"I was the lion who forced you to join with Aravis. I was the cat who comforted you among the houses of the dead. I was the lion who drove the jackals from you while you slept. I was the lion who gave the Horses the new strength of fear for the last mile so that you should reach King Lune in time. And I was the lion you do not remember who pushed the boat in which you lay, a child near death, so that it came to shore where a man sat, wakeful at midnight to receive you."
These days I find myself skeptical of a theology that identifies God as an abuser or inflictor of pain for the process of spiritual maturation, but I do take comfort in the idea that in the middle of the abuse, the pain, the struggles, God is there with us - guiding, comforting and attempting to soothe and develop us through it all.