We never really know where life is going to take us…or when.
I did not know that at 5 years old I would spend over a month in the hospital because of an infection in the bone marrow of my right foot. I did not know that at 12 years old on December 16th my dad would have a massive coronary and leave this world. Neither did I know that one year later I would make the most important decision a person can make, accepting Christ as my savior. Nor did I know that this one choice would change the course of my life as much as it has. I also did not know that at 20 years old, on December 16th, again I would reaffirm the choice I made when I was 13.
I did not know that I would spend the next 8 years single…growing, learning, beginning to understand who and why I was. And then, after years of waiting and hoping, know that after that first date, I wasn’t single anymore. One look was really all it took – love at first sight is real…and is worth waiting for. I did not know that 3 years later we would have a baby girl and a year and a half after that a baby boy.
I did not know that after years of preparation to answer a call that I was so sure was real, that call would turn out to be a detour created by many in my life who, for their own reasons, thought they knew what I ought to be when I grew up. I did not know that recognizing the detour and stepping off of it would be the single most difficult decision of my life and lead me and my young family through some of our longest and loneliest years. I did not know that 3 years after I would be diagnosed with lung cancer and spend close to a year going from doctor to doctor, through 3 surgeries, and a painful recovery. (All is well now and has been for just over 12 years!) I also did not know that during this painful time I would finally complete my bachelor degree.
I did not know that in 2008 I would uproot my family and move away from our home in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan to live among the trolls, (my apologies to my friends and family who live in lower Michigan, ‘under’ the Mackinac Bridge…I know you’re not really trolls!). I did not know that leaving home would be so hard and I did not know that learning to live down here would be even harder…but it has gotten better. I did not know that for the first 4 years downstate my wife would be working close to 70 hours per week, (sometimes more), and that I would be a stay-at-home dad and homeschooling our kids. I did not know I would complete my master’s degree, be working full-time, and my wife would finally have only one job while continuing her education. It has taken us 9 years to work through this life change. When we moved down state, I did not think I would ever be happy, satisfied, or fulfilled again…but I am, and I am thankful for all of it…ALL of it.
Above is a short list of things that I did not know. If I thought long and hard I’m sure I could come up with enough “I don’t knows” to fill a few storage sheds. I think it would be safe to say that between all of the things that I did not know, there was even more that happened around, within, and through me that I still know nothing about…and maybe never will. I’ve spent the better part of 49 years trying to answer the one question that haunts each and every one of us – “why?” I am sure that I am not qualified to answer that one, especially considering all that I do not know.
But there are a few things that I do know:
- Jesus is alive and lives in my heart.
- He has been with me and my family every step on our journey…and he always will be.
- God is the Giver of all good things…even though they are sometimes wrapped in pain and heartache.
- Forgiveness isn’t easy but is necessary and it is the key that unlocks many doors.
- Love is not a feeling, it is a choice.
- Humbleness is the path that leads us beyond Justice to Mercy…