I want things to be easier in my life. I almost always do. Everything that I attempt to solve, is a process of making it easier for the next time. When something is hard, I’ve decided that it’s bad, and I could design a new better way. I want to avoid difficulties, only always.
I guess somewhere along the line, I decided that hard equals bad. Usually, in my little teensy human-mind, I think easy = good, hard = bad.
Where did that come from? When did I discover this idea? Is it even true at all??
My super cute, almost 3 year old nephew, Tucker-Man, was playing with cars last weekend. We were laying on the floor together and he noticed a spoiler was broken off of one the Hot Wheels. He had the two pieces in his hands. Very maturely, he explained that ‘We have a problem… look Uncle A, the car is broken… we have a problem.’
Hmm, I said, as I saw that the pieces were never going back together. I noticed he was using the word “problem”, but in a very inquisitive way. He was discovering the idea of a problem, but it didn’t seem that he wasn’t placing judgment on the broken-ness of the car and it’s busted part. So I asked, ‘Is a problem a good thing?’ He stopped for just a sec, and responded with excitement, “YES!”
Just for fun, I agreed, and reiterated, “A problem is a good thing, Yay!”
I wished that I could be that free and easy with those words all the time. I wish that I was like little Tucker-Boy and had yet to make these decisions about the nature of problems, or broken parts to things.
I run across broken-ness all the time. I am constantly inside the activity of piecing back-together, busted parts of things. I sometimes do it with actual mechanical pieces. But lots of times it is a system that needs adjustment at the restaurant, or a tee shirt design that has been sent incomplete. I am all day long, in the business of fixing problems. I make my living doing it. I spend hours and hours each day on problems. I actually do find enjoyment in the solutions that I use my creativity to come up with.
Soo…. Tucker is right. Problems are a good thing. So why do I want so bad, to be rid of them? Just like I explained tonight, in a business conversation, I want to find solutions that are sustainable, solutions that end the continuation of a broken-record repetitious cycle. I love it, when I can think of an idea, that when executed will put a stop to the problem, once and for all. That is my favorite.
What a farce! What a sham! What crap! If I was so good at that, then why do problems keep constantly popping up? Why is there a never-ending storyboard of problematic scenes playing out each day in my little world? I still have a lot to learn.
Instead of being so honed-in on finding perfect solutions, maybe I could begin working on my flexibility to accept the toss of these issues, in a more playful and fun way. Maybe instead of getting bummed out, with each ‘thing’ that ‘messes up my day’, I could learn to know that ‘my day’ wasn’t going to be perfect anyway. My day is as jacked-up and convoluted as they come. Actually, I tend to prefer this looseness and open-ended way of life, to a very strict and regimented version. I haven’t had a ‘normal job’ with ‘normal hours’ since 2010. I actually keep choosing this type of lifestyle, week in and week out. I have yet to go back and discover ‘normal life’ appealing to me.
I guess though, I want it all. I guess then, I want to have a dynamic free-form entrepreneurial lifestyle, and at the same time, steady predictable mundane-ness. I guess I want the excitement, and simultaneously, no surprises. I want to do everything my way, and have everyone else want it to be their way too… My way, that is…
So here I sit. At the (new) computer, at 2:17am. Just a bit earlier, I was going to give up on the blog for tonight. No ideas brewing, nothing percolating upon the screen. I was headed to bed, thinking, DANG! Why do I have all this stuff going on right now! Why do I have to write this blog, why do I torture myself with it? Why didn’t I realize that setting up my new computer would take so long? Why do I have to work so many hours tomorrow? And also, WHY, did I volunteer to speak at church on Sunday? Why do I do that to myself! I am getting stressed out, about all these PROBLEMS!
Uhh, yeah, so anyway…
I guess right now, it is actually Good Friday…
I guess right now, I could hear the cry of a much much more powerful moment. I guess right now, I feel pretty small, in my little problems. I noticed that the moonlight in the Garden of Gethsemane. I noticed that our Lord, was facing down much more grave and torturous circumstances than my whiny inconveniences…
Deep in the night, Jesus knew that the culmination of his ministry was at hand. He knew the pain that was about to come. He knew that his mission wouldn’t be complete without a very wretched, brutal and cruel death ahead. He did offer prayers, and request that if it could be avoided, by God’s will, then he wanted to avoid it. He had REAL Problems, yet, he wanted God’s will, more than his own.
Wow. What a moment in the history of humankind. What a sacrifice. What a whiny little brat, I can be sometimes…
Will I stay awake tonight? Will I keep watch with my friend Jesus, in the dark of night? Will I be better than the disciples, who experienced him in the flesh, and pray with him till his betrayer arrives?
I don’t know… I was headed to bed, until I heard his voice in the garden. I heard this moment playing out, from a story we read in Bible Study. I heard it speak to me through the ages. “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”
I am still torn. How can I step back and see the duality of all these situations? Yes, my daily problems, are bad, because I react in a bad way to them. I get upset and cranky. I am not being my fun and enjoyable self through them. I want my will to be done. I want my way. It crushes me into smallness and claustrophobia. Yet, these problems and these conflicts are the exercise I use to grow. I am so much stronger, I am so much more capable now, that I have dealt with problems, small and large in my life. I am no expert. I fail often. Every day though, I am exercising myself. I am pumping the iron.
Jesus, showed so many human traits that night in the Garden. We can imagine ourselves staring down something monumental, and showing great concern, wanting to pray, wanting friends nearby to support us… How though, can I be more like him, and be in prayer, not for MY will to be done, but God’s?
My friends, my life is exquisite in it’s simplicity. It is feather-like in heft. It is a clean soft, even shallow breath of spring time breeze. I am blessed. I have no worries, no sorrows, no regrets. I can find this place, when I focus on Him… not on me…
My life and my relationship with Christ, has not made any problems go away. It has not created happiness, or ease or joy. I find it a struggle, I am challenged, I am mad often and deeply deeply hurt, by the pain of the contrast I think I experience vs. the truth I wish to.
I however, think of myself all the time. I think of me, mine, and moi. I feel the ‘me-ness’ of it all, and rarely do I approve fully, I find flaws. I think little Tucker, saw the problem of the broken car parts as outside himself. He saw that it was just a broken toy, that he noticed, and an opportunity to play and try to fix it. It wasn’t a comment of how good of a toy-repairer he was. It didn’t display his worth as a person, whether he played with broken toys or perfect ones. He hadn’t listened to the lies of the world yet, that have us believing that ‘we’ have our own value, adjusted good or bad, by the problems, material things, or even actions taking place in our life.
‘We’ were reason enough, for Jesus, the Son of God, to die for us. He was the ultimate Passover sacrifice, he did that for You, he did that for Me. Wow…
When I once again focus on this unbelievable act, and the absurdly unbelievable Resurrection to follow, my problems disappear. They become not good or bad, they just don’t exist. I see His light as both an ethereal envelope around us, and as the very substance of everything we know. All is love. Love is all.
I will probably always bounce between the polarity of self-pity, self torture and of seeking His divine Will. I wonder if the action of that exercise will ever get easier? If it is God’s will, then let it be done. If it is not possible to avoid these trials, then let it be so.
I fear that, like the disciples, I will miss my opportunity to stay awake with the teacher one last time. I too will sleep. We all will. We are people, not perfect, like Him.
Perfectly Broken: Aaron Nichols