Found on Earth
It was July 28th, 2000 and I had just started a new job at IBM and they had sent me to Chicago for orientation. That evening I called an old friend, Sara, and we sat down and had dinner together. We talked for hours about what has been going on in our lives and with our families. As we talked we both discovered that we had known each other for 8+ years and we were both Christians. As I spoke of people that I had encountered in life that had a positive impact on my faith, she would continually remind me, “That’s God”.
Connie and I lived in Chicago from early in 1991 to the end of 1995, shortly after the birth of our first son. While there we made many friends that we still keep in touch with. One of them was a co-worker that offered a different perspective from the one that I have. Here’s an exert from his letter to me.
“What could I say to ease your suffering or put the whole thing in perspective? Nothing, of course. Utterly random acts of universal unfairness like this lead me to speculate that Tolstoy was right when he said that “The only complete truth attainable by man is that life is meaningless”. That sounds like something that an atheist might say, but rest assured that Tolstoy was in fact a Christian, in addition to being an anarchist. I mean, how can there be any rational plan on this earth when something as bad as that happens to someone who is as good a person as you are? ”
I appreciate my well-read friend’s perspective. The purpose can not be found on earth.
Like many of you, he could relate my situation to his or someone he knows. There have been many letters and conversations informing me of similar personal struggles. There’s no doubt that we all will experience hardships at some time during our lives. It’s how you deal with those moments that determine who you will become.
I had a tough time while going through college. (as my parents read this, I can hear them groan) During that time I racked up 11 “D’s” and an “F”. Obviously, it took me longer than expected and I graduated with an empty feeling. College was, until 2011, one of the most trying times of my life. Notice that I didn’t say the worst time of my life. There were many good things that happened, e.g. Connie. But, there were many forks in the road. Choices were annoying, but critical.
Some day, I will look back at these days in a similar fashion. My late friend, Karen Wolfe, used to smile when she would hear of the hardships in my life. Not that she was happy with my struggles, but she knew that God was using me for a bigger purpose. There have been many times that I’ve had the urge to use these circumstances as an excuse for NOT doing something. I’m happy to say that, with the exception of hanging wallpaper with my wife, I’ve fought those urges. I guess that’s God!