In fact, the first three years of married life could easily be classified as one of the most difficult seasons of both our lives.
Our “honeymoon” phase ended during our actual honeymoon when both of our pasts reared their ugly heads into our current business. Then we came home to the needs of three displaced children, and a house full of unseen mold which caused severe illness for us. I ended up spending almost the entire first year in bed unable to accomplish even the simplest of tasks.
But, I classify difficulties of life it into three distinct types: good-hard, bad-hard and just plain hard. Let me clarify. Death, divorce (which for all practical and emotional purposes is death), sickness and loss of anything significant is sorrowfully difficult. Not that good can’t come out of them, but the pain we suffer during those times is awful at best and excruciating most of the time. Those situations are bad-hard.
Then there’s daily life which can be demanding. The end of the day after challenging work deals on three phones at once; children vomiting on the way to school; juggling the laundry, dishes, what-to-have-for-dinner-tonight; and four hours of kids’ homework that is only explained partially in the textbook? Exhausting and just plain hard, right?
Finally, we experience the worth-the-struggle kind of hard – or good-hard.
Ever been on a hike and you’re just about fifty feet from the top of the vista point? No view is visible yet, so you take it on faith that what you’ve anticipated based on your rock-climbing, mountain-hiking friend’s description will be as spectacular as they have asserted it will be. The rocky trail rolls out from under your feet with every other step reminding you that one careless placement of your boot clad foot could send you sprawling on your face or to your death if the worst case presented itself.
Your legs burn with the strain; sweat trickles down your back and marks every bare area of your body and face with wet, dust trails. You wonder how many more steps it will take to get to the top and want to scream, “Are we THERE yet?” You start counting the steps to keep your mind off the pain. When did thirty get to be such a big number? Twenty more, ten more; then just two more and you gasp…
The splendor of a majestic scene spreads out before you.
Sunlight glistens like diamonds on the ocean as waves roll across the crescent shaped shore. A waterfall parachutes down the verdant cliff in the distance. You take in the view, savoring it as a good meal and drinking in the beauty as fine wine. Nothing about those last thirty grueling steps is remembered in that moment. And in that instant, it all became worth every painfully exerted step. That is good-hard.
These first few years have been good-hard. The way God brought Brendan and I together online was miraculous, and the challenging years we’ve faced so far have been as well. I believe God is still all about raising the dead kind of miracles, but the kind I’m talking about here are the everyday things that really don’t make sense, and shouldn’t happen, but they do anyway. Some people call them coincidence, but these “God things” are really just too coincidental and leave us marveling in a perplexed kind of awe.
That is what fairy tales are made of, and what our story is all about.
So what’s your miracle? How has something been good-hard for you?