Some days you just feel down.
The weight of the plights and problems and evils of this world just seem too great to bear at times. Contemplating sickness, hunger, greed, abortion and murder, destruction, misinformation, and so many other wrongs can truly depress one's spirits. Add to that the troubles of personal finances and struggling to stay afloat in society, fighting to raise and nourish a child naturally in the face of all odds and all other misinformed and misguided or ignorant other parents, individuals, and family and so forth... Even though it is not death, torture, or unspeakable horror, it can really eat at you, wear you down, make you feel as though there is never higher ground until finishing this life. Swimming against the current can wear you down.
It feels wrong to hope and pray for health, wealth, and prosperity, when so much of the world is suffering. And yet, I find myself praying for those things often, desperately hoping that we don't end up on the street or at the mercy of the system. I am thankful for the food we have to eat, and the shelter and clothing and even the luxury of transportation. I remind myself that in comparison to much of the rest of the world, we live very well. I'm not being tormented or put to death violently for my beliefs or passions.
On the days when I feel most hopeless, counting out change to pay for things, digging through belongings trying to figure out what we can sell, what I'm willing to part with, how much value something may have, embarrassed and returning items to shelves because I have to decide which groceries we need most... I am met with true kindness, the sweet miracle of God's love shining through the mercy and generosity of those around us.
Like the day I was at Goodwill and was getting some winter things for myself and my son that we needed, and I ran out of change and was preparing to put things back when the cashier laid down extra money to pay the rest of my total. Love. Or when I was at the farmers market and had only enough change for one vegetable, and ended up with several pounds of okra out of the generosity of the vendor, providing ample food for several days. Love. Or when I was at the grocery store and went to put back something I truly wanted but knew we couldn't afford, and the employee behind the counter placed a special department sticker on the item stating it was to be free of charge for me. Love. Like the sweet and generous offerings of friends and family members who cannot afford to help us themselves but they still do because they want to try and help anyway they can... Love. Counting these and other blessings, they truly do add up and fill me with joy and wonder at the sweetness of life.
So many amazing small miracles that remind me that everything will be okay, though the bills are stacking up beyond our ability to pay them, though greedy companies and corporations charge us unfairly for things and get away with it because they are corrupt and know they can, when job after job turns us down, killing the hope of better income (to care not only for our family but to be able to minister to others, sponsor children who are hungry and in dire need themselves, etc.)... We are called to be anxious for nothing. So on the nights that I lie awake, chewing my fingernails off when I haven't bitten them in years, listening to the soft musical and rhythmic breathing of my son beside me and my husband next to him, I pray. I pray for peace and comfort, and remind myself of all that I truly do have. I remind myself that not all humans are evil or greedy or selfish. Even though we live in a fallen world, there is hope. Some people really, truly do care. And it's those people that best represent the love of Christ, even if they do not profess belief in Him themselves.
It's then that I recognize love in the face of adversity.