Once, during a junior high youth group retreat, one of our daughter’s admitted feeling bad for not having a “real” testimony. She thought her life had been pretty stable up until that point. Her friend stood up and said, “You have a great testimony. It proves I can have that kind of life in my own family when I grow up.”
Good stuff. We used it for years. But since then, as Eleanor told Marianne in Sense & Sensibility, “Believe me, Marianne, had I not been bound to silence I could have provided proof enough of a broken heart, even for you.”
― Jane Austen,
Not that we’ve been bound to silence. Our family just doesn’t always talk a lot about the hard things. And sometimes I think my Eternal Optimism might cause you, Dear Reader, to think we don’t know about the struggle.
But we know:
The Deaths – of those not-yet-born, or born too soon, or even born nearly a century ago. We still mourn each of them.
The Suffering – with addiction, and disease, and divorce. Enemies of our soul that lurk at our doorsteps every day. They require constant vigilance and prayer. Routine screenings. Bi-annual scans. Legal hassles. Relational gymnastics. Some of these will never go away this side of Heaven.
The Daily Drama – Broken promises, lost friendships, strained bank accounts, flat tires, and bankrupt businesses. We know all those.
Yet, we also know:
The Promise of Heaven – which Felicity says may just be another dimension, outside of time, right here with us even now. So Ruby and Ellery, Grandpa Boo and Jesus aren’t actually waiting for us to join them. We are with them now. We just don’t know it yet.
The Joy of Victory – which we taste in little Saturday games like ten year anniversaries of being clean or six-month celebrations of “Cancer Free!” or birthday parties where all the estranged grown-ups can smile and be the kind of friends our beautiful children believe we are.
The Daily Presence – of the Holy Spirit. He handles all the other things in life that break our hearts and test our patience. It is His presence that gives us Eternal Optimism in the face of all the rest.
Even in an election year.