Life is a series of situations in which you don’t get what you want. At some point you begin to realize that you’ll never have what you hoped for. That’s reality! And it must be faced if there is any possibility of moving on.
Like most little girls, I dreamed of marrying and having gurgling babies. Actually, I never had a serious boyfriend growing up. Oh, I was in love with Keith and David and Irwin. They were, of course, unaware. In college, I was engaged to a handsome boy, who would have decimated my life had I married him, but I still clung to the hope of being married one day. In fact, I even set time limits. Surely I would find someone before I reached my thirtieth birthday. But I didn’t!
As a young adult, I used to sing to the Lord, “I’ll go where you want me to go. I’ll say what you want me to say. I’ll be what you want me to be,” but there was always a contingency. “I’ll do anything you ask, Lord, but I can’t do it alone.”
I wanted a husband. He didn’t have to be rich or even handsome. I just needed someone to love and someone who would love me back, someone with whom I could share life.
The day finally came when I had to face reality. I was alone! Perhaps it was God’s will. I didn’t like it, but it was true. Not admitting it wouldn’t make it go away, and admitting it wouldn’t make it any worse. I had a choice. I could sit back and mope, feel sorry for myself, and accuse God of being unfair. I could live in despair the rest of my life or I could experience life for what it is and stop wishing for a different existence. Nothing good comes from resisting reality.
Yes, I was alone, and I had a choice to make, and I made it. I refused to be stuck in a miasma of self-pity and bitterness. I decided to move on—to follow God’s plan for my life. I learned how to be alone, and I did a good job at it. For more than forty years, at God’s call, I traveled the world ministering in many places to people of many nationalities. Life was good.
In these intervening years, I have faced reality numerous times always choosing to move on.
Eleven years ago I retired at the age of seventy-four. I found a church, new friends, and became involved in a teaching ministry. Life was still good.
However, this past year with this pandemic, my aloneness has been magnified in a way that I have not felt since the days of my longing for a husband. Being alone is one thing, when you can go and come as you please. Being alone, without choice, is something else entirely.
I decided that I must have something in this house that moves and breathes and makes noise. Some of you know that, without thinking things through, I chose to buy a puppy. I could just imagine the fun we would have—no more being alone.
Now I am facing another reality—a life altering reality. I have always contended that age is only a number, that the mind and the heart (the inner you) determines age. I still believe that, and for most of my life, my physical being has kept up with my mental age. That is no longer true. Having just past my 85th birthday, I am beginning to admit that I don’t move as fast as I used to, that there are a few more aches and pains, that I am not always steady on my feet, and I am fearful of falling.
My puppy, Tobi, is currently in boarding school. My nephew and his wife volunteered to potty train him, teach him to walk on a leash, and stop destroying everything, including me, with his sharp little teeth. So now he lives, temporarily, at their house. Obedience classes come next.
My nephew has determined that Tobi is an Australian Shepherd/Poodle mix. He will not be a 15 pound adult as I expected, but more likely, he will weigh 35-40 pounds. They are afraid that, regardless of what we do, I will not be able to take care of him.
I am afraid that regardless of what we do, I will not be able to take care of him! Coming home from visiting, I couldn’t really explain how I felt, but I didn’t feel right. I finally recognized a lingering feeling of fatigue and disappointment, and perhaps the edge of depression.
For the first time in my life I felt old. It is hard for me to record that on paper, but remember, we are talking about facing reality.
One reality is that, perhaps I waited too long for the puppy I always wanted. I am still struggling with that, but I am determined to be optimistic believing that Tobi will finally be the sweet, docile companion that I long for. I’m never going to feel differently about wanting a puppy. It is the possible disappointment that I may have to learn to live with.
Physically, I am growing older. That is the greater reality that I must own. That is the truth that I must now deal with. If I avoid the truth, I will miss the chance to grow and life will become harder. So I’m looking at the truth with eyes wide open determined to do whatever is necessary to live with this truth. It is amazing the effect this puppy has already had on my life.
Perhaps there is a reality in your life that is too hard to face. It is easier to ignore it than to suffer the pain. You feel that life isn’t fair and you don’t deserve this. That may be true, but you will never move forward until you face reality. Own the truth. Ask God to help you see everything as it really is. Then ask Him to show you the next step. Your situation is not too hard for God.
God promised Sarah that she would have a baby when she was ninety years old. Hebrews 11:11 tells us that Sarah believed God, “…because she judged Him faithful who had promised.”
1 Corinthians 16:13 admonishes us to “Watch, stand firm in the faith, be brave, be strong.”
That is my counsel today. Stand firm. Trust in God. He is faithful. There is nothing too hard for Him. After all these years God has proven to me that He can do a better job of handling my life than I can.
Remember, the sun will come out tomorrow!
After all these years, I know that God does a better job at handling my life than I can.