I cried three times yesterday.
The first time needs a backstory. We had a group rent the entire villa (the main building of the hostel) yesterday. As part of a private rental we offer charcoal and lighter fluid for the super nice BBQ. I had seen lighter fluid earlier in the week so, silly me, I assumed we still had some. Then it was yesterday and almost time for the group to show up and I went to dumped the charcoal into the charcoal bucket and saw that the lighter fluid was nowhere in sight. So I called the supermarket to deliver some (which is a super handy thing to be able to do) but of course they didn’t want to spend the gas and time to deliver just one thing, so I said, “Okay, I’ll also take some milk and dog food.” Two of my staples.
Over an hour later when the delivery guy arrived, the milk was fine, the dog food was fine, and the lighter fluid was not lighter fluid. It was some fire starter brick thing. And I said to the poor delivery guy, near hysterics (I was, not the delivery guy), “This was the one thing I really wanted! I specifically said liquid!” And he so kindly and patiently went to get the right thing and bring it back to me. While I waited for him I cried. Because I had freaked out on this poor delivery guy over something so small and because something so small had caused me to freak out.
The second time came after a friend of mine helped me move the rest of my stuff from the old house to the new house (I moved this week! Hooray!). All that was left to move were the dogs (there are three of them now because someone left a puppy in my yard a week and a half ago and the youngest son of the woman who lives with me fell in love with him). I was sitting on the front porch (which is nothing like an American front porch) waiting for him to come back and get me and the dogs for 45 minutes. Which is fair because they were unloading a bunch of stuff at the new house.
But when his brother pulled up on his motorcycle and said, “Friend/brother (he said his name) told me to come get you and the dogs.”
I said, “No.”
He (ever helpful and optimistic – so, Dominican) said, “I’ll hold one and you can hold one. I’ll drive really slow and careful.”
I said, “No.”
Eventually my friend with the truck came back and got me and the dogs, but in the meantime I cried. Because I thought he was being selfish (he had gotten a call about something and had to go to a nearby city SO he wasn’t being selfish, he was being responsible, and it’s possible someone else in this story was being selfish) and because I had spent 45 minutes of my Saturday night sitting round (I hadn’t thought to bring my Kindle) and because I just wanted to be done moving and because I didn’t like that I had to rely on this one friend and at that moment had virtually no other options (besides calling a cab).
The third time I cried because the delivery guy couldn’t find my new house.
Just now I was lying in bed (in my new room! in my new house! which is great!) and I said, “Lord, I just want things to be more comfortable and normal and less frustrating and overwhelming.” And even as I was praying it I laughed at myself because what a ridiculous thing to pray. As a Christ follower I pray all the time for God to take the things about me and about my life that are not making me more like Jesus and get rid of them. Essentially, I pray, “Make me like Jesus.”
When I read the gospels and take a peek at Jesus’ life I do NOT see a life that was comfortable or normal. Walking on water, traveling for days at a time, crashing with whoever would take him, getting his feet washed by some lady’s hair… those are not comfortable or normal things. He taught (and then was expected to feed) crowds of thousands. Overwhelming. He taught and hung out with the same group of guys for 3 years knowing the whole time that one of them was going to betray him. He also answered the same questions over and over again. He had to explain parables that to him surely seemed clear as day. Frustrating.
If God is teaching me anything in this Jarabacoa season of my life it’s that getting what you asked for isn’t always what you thought it was going to be. He’s also teaching me to be careful what I ask for.
Remember when some young guy came and asked Jesus what he needed to do to get to heaven? Jesus said, “You know the commandments. Follow those.” The prideful young buck was all, “Done and done.” So Jesus said, “Okay, hot shot, you want to follow me? Sell everything you have, give all the money away, and then follow me.” Ouch. Not what he was expecting to hear. But this is the kind of life that Jesus calls us to. The hard and uncomfortable. The selfless and giving.
The road to sanctification is paved with uncomfortable and abnormal (dare I say, supernatural) moments and feelings. The road to holiness is paved with frustrating and overwhelming situations that are overcome with grace, patience, and LOTS of forgiveness. The road to Jesus is paved with HARD THINGS – choices, decisions, beginnings and endings that are freaking difficult. Oh, but isn’t this the best life I could be living? I honestly believe it is, as hard as it is sometimes. Are you living the best life you could be living? Why not? Start today. It’s hard, but oh it’s worth it.