Zachary Bright

The Wonder of it All


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Making the Best of the Unendurable

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“An inconvenience is only an adventure wrongly considered; an adventure is an inconvenience rightly considered.” – G.K. Chesterton (On Running After One’s Hat, All Things Considered, 1908)

I have not posted for a few days because I did not want to spread discouragement. Sometimes discouraging someone is a wicked thing to do. When we live in a world where people are slimed with evil or corruption and where entropy (The 1st and 2nd Laws of Thermodynamics) is a drag on all that we do, so that we must, with effort, create and maintain some beauty and order in our world, and keep some kind of hold on truth and reality, we all need all the courage we can get. C.S.Lewis wrote: “Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point.” Courage is required for every other virtue. For instance, courage helps to make a love that endures. To endure the costs of our projects and dreams or merely to endure with patience, faith and hope the difficulties of life, requires courage.

What motivates these reflections? After an upcoming surgery on my foot, I am facing six or more weeks of non-weight-bearing and some time in a rehab center or skilled nursing facility. I have been in this position before: almost a year of not walking in 2003 and four months of being non-weight-bearing earlier this year. I’m not worrying about the future; I see the future. If you read my post, “True Freedom”, you might have a clue that I have ‘issues’ with loss of control and not being able to produce and just the whole captivity with no definite end in sight. Notice that I said ‘captivity’, not ‘confinement’ or ‘convalescence’. ‘Incarceration’ might not be far from the mark. For awhile I collected pictures of dogs, wolves and foxes caught in traps. I have heard that they will sometimes gnaw a leg off to get away. I would do that without hesitation. I have done not literally that, but some things very like that. I understand that millions of people around the world are going through great suffering that I may never face: Christians facing persecution or people with a terminal illness. Pain is not my issue; I may even have a high pain threshold. When I have broached this subject, people have said something like, “Oh yeah that must be uncomfortable but necessary for the desired result or to avoid something worse.” Well that is true as far as it goes, but I do not then feel understood on a deep level. Someone who could understand that with my temperament and experiences, the captivity might almost be worse than the disease, would give me some hope of being understood. Everyone that is working with me on health issues wants what is best for me and some of them love me. Sometimes I wish though, that one person on my health team would have the single aim of getting me out of captivity as soon as possible.

I believe everything that I wrote in other posts. Underneath me are the Everlasting Arms. God knows what is best for me and he is faithful and has never let me down. God will still use me for his glory, and to serve him is perfect freedom. “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” (Rom. 8:28, ESV) Moreover, I understand the wisdom of living in ‘day-tight compartments’. We should not let regret for the past or worry about the future to bleed into today, and it is only today that I can meet with God and know his presence. Perhaps, like many, your thoughts have leaped to St Paul’s declaration: “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” (Phil. 4:13, NRSV) I can add to that. Job in his understanding, by the end of the book, of God’s revelation of himself proclaims that, “I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted.” (Job 42:2, NRSV) Jesus assured a desperate father with a demonized son that, “All things can be done for the one who believes.” (Mark 9:23cc, NRSV) I suppose you know that a ‘but’ is coming. Well, yes…

But still, while relying on God’s purpose and provision, the question remains of how to face and endure a known reality. Finding the quote above from G.K. Chesterton helped me to decide to make the time in captivity an adventure, especially an adventure in reading. I remember that C.S. Lewis sometimes enjoyed being home ill, because he could then plan and execute an ambitious reading plan for the duration. So I will try to go into receiving mode and make the best of it. I have tried this before with mixed results. I will certainly tell you if it doesn’t work.

Someone will suggest that if something must be done, it can be done. That is pretty cold comfort, and besides, not always true. However, I have observed that often when we think we can’t endure any more, we can endure a little more, and then we can add a little more to that, and so on.

“Alone of all the creeds, Christianity has added courage to the virtues of the Creator. For the only courage worth calling courage must necessarily mean that the soul passes a breaking point and does not break.” – from Orthodoxy by G.K. Chesterton

This post was powered by the album, “Worldwide Favorites” (1999) and the song, “Hopeless, Etc.” (1992, from “Dig”) both by Adam Again, and the song, “You” (1997, from “The Legend of Chin”) by Switchfoot.

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