The other week was good. It was full of family and catching up and coffee. Always coffee. (I started drinking Cafe Bustello coffee about maybe two weeks ago and I absolutely LOVE it! I even got my picky papa to try it. Anyone else??)
I got to hold my nephew (who, when he starts stretching in his swaddle blanket right before he really starts crying, looks like a turtle). I got to go on a walk with my niece (who has the biggest heart I've ever seen on an almost three year old and a memory that is slightly better than mine). I got to hang out with my sister and her husband, who thankfully got/had the day off. I love when that happens. And then of course, my baby sister and her husband were there. At one point, we were all basically around the same table and I just looked out at my crazy family and thought, "You know, even with our flaws and struggles, I'm so glad these people are my people."
And because life happens, there was some not so great stuff mixed in there, too. We had some of the hottest days of the summer that week. Not such a terrible thing if you are indoors with the air conditioner on high...except we didn't have an air conditioner. And mowing grass in that heat? Forget about it! It took me twice as long to finish because I was always stopping for water and sunscreen.
But while I was baking under the sun and dying for a breeze, I was thinking about the things that go wrong in our lives. Very "up" thoughts to be having on a beautiful sunny day, right? I thought about how we learn through life that whatever happens is a consequence of our actions, for good or bad. I mean look at Newton's third law of motion; he sees it too. I think I spent most of my life thinking that some good things that happened to me were miracles and I could only attribute them to God working in my life. Some other good things (good grades, as one example) happened because of the work I put into them. And of course, bad things were because I messed something up or was being punished for something.
I think I've been accident prone all my life, but the last few weeks I've had a few more accidents than I care to admit. Some of them were my fault, some of them were not. My gut reaction to the things that weren't my fault? WHY GOD?! I mean really, what did I do to deserve this?!?
Um..? Maybe nothing? Life happens.
In the "why me?" scenario, everything that happens is about me. I am the center of that universe. But guess what? We interact with so many people throughout the day, and I forget that maybe some of the things that happen to me are part of other people's lives and lessons to learn. We might not understand the reason behind them, but like Aslan says in The Horse and His Boy, "Child, I am telling you your story, not hers. I tell no one any story but his own."
Maybe, sometimes, the things that happen to us are just things.
It might not be something we need to work through in order to learn something about ourselves or to see where we are lacking. Maybe it isn't because we were rude to the cashier 6 weeks ago (but you know, please be nice to your cashiers. They have long days on their feet and really underneath it all, they are people too.) or we forgot to have quiet time with Jesus today.
I think how we deal with whatever happens, of course, is important. It says a lot about the times the lesson was for us and what we've learned from those times. And sometimes, maybe the experience isn't ever for us. Maybe it is for someone in the future who comes to us distraught because they don't know what to do. We can share our experiences and the lessons we've learned. And isn't that what community is all about?