The best of times, the worst of times

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By Dave Henning / April 10, 2021

“We want the best of times without the worst.  We want wisdom without foolishness, light without darkness, hope without despair.  That isn’t reality, is it?  The best of times and the worst of times often occur at the same time!  Life is a two-sided coin.”- Mark Batterson

Mark Batterson concludes Chapter 3 of Win the Day with a comment on the opening sentences of Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities.  Pastor Batterson views Dickens’ words as a truthful take on life.  Furthermore, in an interview with Anderson Cooper, Stephen Colbert discussed his belief that he had to learn to love the event he most wished hadn’t happened.  At the age of ten, Colbert lost his father and two brothers in a plane crash.  Hence, Colbert explained:

“It’s a gift to exist, and with existence comes suffering.  There’s no escaping that. . . .  But if you are grateful for your life . . . then you have to be grateful for all of it.  You can’t pick and choose what you’re grateful for.”

Certainly, Mark observes, a season of suffering raises lots of question.  However, when you lean in and learn to kiss the wave, you often come out on the other side stronger, kinder, and wiser.  Yet, it won’t be easy or painless.  But the only place to turn is our Rock of Ages.  When you kiss the wave you simply acknowledge that your pain is what it is.  As a result, you own what happened without letting it own your emotions.

In conclusion, Frederick Buechner describes the effect his father’s suicide had on him.  It happened when Buechner was a young boy.  Writing in his memoir The Sacred Journey, Buechner explains the healing process:

“When it comes to putting broken lives together . . . the human best tends to be at odds with the holy best.  To do for yourself the best that you have it in you to do — to grit your teeth and clench your fists in order to survive the world at its harshest and worst — is, by that very act, to be unable to let something be done for you and in you that is more wonderful still.”

Today’s question: When do you find yourself wanting the best of times without the worst?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “Scar tissue – the way to release it”

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Dave Henning

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