So I think of the best posts while I am mowing the lawn. Ear plugs and the roar of our ghetto mower (there is no cover for the engine) pretty much puts you exclusively inside your head.
Disclaimer*****This is not an antifacebook rant. I think it is a great tool for keeping in touch with old friends, and I am on us almost every day.
I recently came across an old, we'll say acquaintance's, as we were definitely not the best of friends, profile on facebook. I perused her flair, her bumper stickers and her pictures. It appeared, from her profile, that her life was great. She is beautiful, married, seems to have lots of friends (in the pictures... not just on facebook), a job she loved and a close family.
Let me first say that I found it interesting that looking at her profile pained me somewhat. She was not the nicest person when I knew her, and I was surprised that I was not jealous of her, nor was I secretly judging myself superior to her. My heart actually ached for her. I wasn't sure why. There was nothing on her facebook that would necessarily make me feel sorry for her. She "looked" happy. I did notice that she had a LOT of pictures of herself on her facebook page. But other than that mild form of self-obsession I couldn't explain this strange and unexpected sorrow.
A few days later I found myself in a conversation with a friend of mine who is good friends with her mom. I learned that this girl was actually miserable. Her mom told my friend "I wish she and (her husband) would move away and learn how to be married instead of being selfish babies." Those are harsh words from your own mom. But it seemed to confirm my suspicion that she was not infact as happy as her facebook portrayed.
This led me to ponder as I turned in endless circles across our hopelessly uneven lawn, how our growing up experiences shape us into who we are. And how, when it seems that God is not working in our best interest often times he is extending staggering acts of mercy. My middle school years are not years that I look back on fondly. I was most definitely an easy target. Just coming into an understanding of who God really was and what He had done for me, I certainly did not see him rescue me from my circumstances. I was frustrated and angry that I was constantly picked on. Yet, as I reconnect with people from my past, people who inflicted much of my pain, I realize how their hurtful acts have made me the person that I am and have made them the people that they are. And I can't help but think that I have come out ahead. I am surrounded now by amazing people-who love me, and who I love. It seems that the persecution (on whatever mild scale-and it was mild in retrospect) that I endured and the pain that I felt, shaped my character into one that other people seem to appreciate. I am not trying to brag about myself, but it does seem that I am able to bring others joy on some small level.
As I continued to mow I found my "mom" self trying explain to my "kid" self where God was in all of my experiences. Which made me realize that I should remember this perspective when my kids are experiencing persecution. It is easy to want to remove any trouble your kids experience, but where will God work if you do. What I have realized is that the troubles I faced as an awkward teenager pale to the troubles I could experience as an adult. And given the choice I would not trade them in.