Philippians 3:13b NLT
'Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead…'
One trauma of tragedy is how it can derail one’s whole life. News of chronic illness, bereavement, bankruptcy may be events around which we can craft a narrative, yet the personal impact drains life’s essence from one’s veins. In the months after Katey’s MS diagnosis, before even comprehending what we faced, my whole world detached itself from the reality of my personal life. Instantly, an external intrusion disabled my compass and my entire navigation system. I froze, while the world continued to spin around me.
As months became years, reality began to sink in. I stood still, while colleagues empathised and moved ahead with their lives. Hurting, I spent time reviewing events, searching for solutions, praying and complaining in equal measure. I felt I must return along the path we’d walked together searching for something we’d lost along the way. Our future was now different to the one we’d imagined, if not planned. It was lifted from our control.
Only as we determined to strip away the baggage of what we thought were faith-based aspirations, were we able to grasp the present reality. First we acknowledged life was changing, and then we decided if we were able and willing to make room for God on this unanticipated detour. Internal dialogue with self combined with helpful and unhelpful conversations with others, but this only sketched in the contours of this new landscape. Theological reflection itself became an obstruction to entering this new land. We saw the giants and they intimidated us. We yearned to go back in time, but that door was self-evidently shut.
We set aside what lay behind us. Not simply history, but unrealisable dreams. We embraced the challenge less than enthusiastically. Walking forward, our nerves strained, we entered an unknowable future hoping, more than trusting, that God would accompany us.
QUESTION: How well are you able to press ahead, or do you mark time in the hope there’s a different path?
PRAYER: Eternal One, you know the road that lies ahead before me; help me walk this path in faith.