The time of uncertainty appears to have passed.
About two months ago, something happened that knocked my husband and me for a loop. He had expected it; I hadn’t. Neither of us was prepared for it.
The timing was far from ideal. It happened a week or two before Christmas. That’s certainly not a time to have your safety net pulled. However, we were happy and relieved that this situation occurred more than a month after our daughter’s wedding. Praise God, that happy event was not clouded by insecurity. On that day, we felt as though we were living at the end of a very good movie… all difficulties were behind us, all sequels were guaranteed to have happy endings.
I still feel that our general trajectory is a positive one… but evidently, I forgot that there is no plot without conflict, no resolution without struggle, no chiaro without oscuro.
And for the past two months, the way ahead was pretty damned oscuro.
We didn’t tell anyone but our children about it. At first, we didn’t want to share bad news at Christmastime. Then, I think we became a little bit superstitious. I did, anyway. I became convinced that if we spoke about the situation, it would take longer to end. We reassured each other that things would right themselves within two weeks. Three. Within a month. A month and a half.
We actually did consider the possibility that the situation might not reverse itself, but we rejected the notion immediately. Yes, one of us had experienced the worst in the past— that didn’t mean the other would! We are people who believe in abundance, who refuse to believe that God won’t provide. We believe that pessimism is a sin; that lack of faith is disloyal.
So we sat in our dining room and stared at our poster of The Loaves and Fishes, waiting for something to put in our basket.
A loaf of bread would be promised. A fish would nibble daintily at the hook. Neither would materialize, yet we continued to believe. I don’t think Jeff ever lost his faith; I channeled any burgeoning disbelief into anger, and composed a prayer that I recited frequently through clenched teeth: I refuse to stop believing.
Of course, faith prevailed. In two months’ time, the situation reversed itself and everything went back to normal.
But I learned a lesson. It’s very easy to believe when things are going well, but it’s much more important to believe when things are going badly. Look for the chiaro in the midst of oscuro; keep staring at the night sky until you force yourself to see the stars.
Thank God, they’re there.