Over the past year, I have often asked myself whether this place is getting better. If I told you that it is getting better, don’t mistake me for saying that everything is fine. I agree. Not everything is fine.
But don’t look away from the progress that has been made. I see progress, and it fills me with hope that further progress is possible. It won’t happen by itself, and if we lose hope, it might not happen at all.
The solution is not to balance out all the negative news with more positive ones. It would be as helpful as balancing too much sugar with a lot of salt. It doesn’t taste good at all.
One lesson I have learned is to keep two thoughts in my head at the same time. Things can be both bad and better (Rosling et. al., 2018). Let me share a story with you. Many years ago, my eldest son arrived much earlier than the expected delivery date, a mere 5 pounds, the tiniest bundle of joy in the nursery room, and had to stay in an incubator for a few days. This place is almost like an infant in an incubator for me. He is improving, but he still has to stay in the incubator because his health is still critical. Does it make sense to say that the infant’s situation is improving? Yes. Absolutely. Does it make sense to say it is bad? Yes, absolutely. Does saying “things are improving” imply that everything is fine, and we should all relax and not worry? No, not at all. Is it helpful to have to choose between bad and improving? Definitely not. It’s both bad and better. Better, and bad, at the same time.
On another note, I would like to say that my natural reaction to trials and tribulations is either anger or tears. These emotions mobilize my fight-or-flight reactions, which help me survive. And it protects my wounds. When I defend myself against further injury, these emotions – both anger and tears – become like a scab, protecting the tender wound from infection. But if the scab, knitted together by anger and tears, stays too long, the underlying wound can never fully heal.
Forgiveness brings healing and grace effects change. Forgiveness is not the weak thing to do. It is the right thing to do. It is a difficult thing to do, but it is the beautiful thing to do. It takes courage to do it and it can be done. It is possible because God has shown us how to do it.
In conclusion, there has been stretches, tensions and trials. Bad but better, better yet bad. Fight, Flight or Forgiveness. What appears to be disappointments can be appointments with God.
The Lord bless you and keep you;
The Lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you;
The Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.
Rosling, H., Rosling O., & Rosling Ronnlund, A. (2018) Factfulness: Ten reasons we’re wrong about the world – and why things are better than you think. SI: Sceptre