Life is interesting. Exhilarating, fulfilling, yet difficult and hard at the same time.
Here's what I know: to really live life, both must be embraced and experienced to the full.
Someone once said, "neurosis is simply the avoidance of pain". That is so true. It's when we try to run from our pain, or avoid our suffering that our pain actually deepens and intensifies. We experience depression. Anxiety. Fear.
At the same time, I would suggest to you that neurosis can also be the avoidance of joy.
Some have a fear of truly experiencing the joys of life - fearful that if they do - it will be taken away from them, leaving them hanging only with the hurt and woundedness that life can offer.
All of this has really hit home to me the past 24 hours as Christie came over from Grand Rapids with my granddaughter, Georgia. She is so full of life. Constantly squirming, moving, looking around. Never still.
Last night she was looking at me and cooing. Oh man, you talk about experiencing sheer joy! She really has her grandpa's heart.
And I enjoy the look of love that Christie gives her daughter. She truly is a wonderful mother.
At the same time, I learned this morning that my grandmother, who is in the hospital (she had surgery for some kind of ulcer condition yesterday) is not doing well. She is rapidly losing blood and they are doing their best to give her blood transfusions and keep her alive.
Today will be an interesting day in her life. She is 95. 95.
When I was growing up, and especially in my college years, my Grandmother and I were really close.
I used to take the girl, that I was dating at the time, over to see her, looking for a "thumbs up" or a "thumbs down." Obviously Debbie got a big "two thumbs up".
I always felt like I could talk with her without being judged or condemned. She, still, to this day, remains a very positive and upbeat person - the epitome of a "people person".
If she does go to be with the Lord today, I am going to miss her greatly.
Ups and downs. Victories and defeats. Life and death. They all come at us with a suddenness, we never know what the future holds.
However, there is one thing I do know. That Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever. He is always there, always loving, always caring, always aware of both our highs and our lows.
Like a loving grandfather, he looks down on us with love and compassion, longing to have relationship with us. And when we do respond, is brings Him great joy.
And like a loving grandson, He grieves when we go through pain and hurt.
So let's embrace both the joys and the pain of life - and live life to its fullest knowing that in the end - God is in control.
"Father, we thank you that you hold everything in your hands. Nothing comes our way that hasn't passed through you first. You never let us experience anything we can't ultimately handle. We trust in you - forever. Amen."