Thank you God that life is sweet and not just bitter…

I’m reading a book right now that I have completely fallen in love with. It’s so well-written and describes beautifully what I have experienced so many times in the last five years (along with everyone else in the world)… it’s all about life and the deep joys and deep pains that so often engulf us and remind us of our fragile nature.

The book is Bittersweet. And it is exactly that. I have been traveling back through chapters of my own life as I read about the author’s journey. Doesn’t it seem like every time we experience a mountain high moment, we then find ourselves somersaulting back down the mountain shortly thereafter? And the truth is, although it doesn’t always feel like it, when we’re down in life’s pits, there are opportunities to come up for air (whether we choose to take them or not). How we handle the ebb and flow of life reveals so much about who we are. Our perspective matters more than anything else; who and what we choose to place our trust in.

The past few years have been a mix of wonderful celebrations and painful tragedy. My mother-in-law dying was one of the worst things I have ever experienced. The feelings of emptiness that accompany the death of someone you love seem unbearable at times. And to watch someone you love suffer the grief that inevitably comes with loss… it’s a helpless feeling. I have known four people who found out they have cancer and two other cancer sufferers to recently die after several years of struggling. It leaves me feeling physically sick every time I hear this kind of news. In addition to the illness in the world, the east coast is currently preparing for the possibility of being hit by a hurricane in the next few days. This preparation comes directly after a rare and highly unsettling east coast earthquake. Every single day there are reminders of our limited nature and with that, I am reminded of how grateful I must be for all the good stuff.

Jake and I recently attended his cousin’s wedding (which we got to late after a number of significant plane delays – we actually missed the ceremony and just made it to the reception). That said, the reception was absolutely beautiful and Jake and I had a wonderful talk after about our marriage and the kind of man and wife we want to be for each other. It was a bonding conversation and has really set us up to handle the stresses of starting a new school year with confidence and the kind of strength that only comes from God. Again, bittersweet… with great stress, we have also found great strength. The beauty of new birth has been a huge part of the past few years. Despite the sadness of the losses, I have felt privileged to be able to celebrate life with many close friends. And even our move across country which has brought relationship transition and the unfamiliarity of learning a new culture (trust me – California and North Carolina are worlds apart!), we have also begun to form a community and a life for ourselves here. We bought our first house and have had many travel adventures. We have grown more confident as a couple and look forward to our future as we think about starting a family one day.

As Shauna Neiquist so eloquently states in Bittersweet… “This collection is an ode to all things bittersweet, to life at the edges, a love letter to what change can do in us. This is what I’ve come to believe about change: it’s good, in the way that childbirth is good, and heartbreak is good and failure is good. By that I mean that it’s incredibly painful but exponentially more so if you fight it, and also that it has the potential to open you up, to open life up, to deliver you right into the palm of God’s hand, which is where you wanted to be all along, except that you were too busy pushing and pulling your life into exactly what you thought it should be. So this is the work I’m doing right now, and the work I invite you into: when life is sweet, say thank you and celebrate. And when life is bitter, say thank you and grow.”



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