There’s much that can be said about it. It’s probably one of the most talked about subjects among human beings! Some consider it a gift, even calling it precious. One famous author claimed it is full of sound and fury that signifies nothing. Most of us are probably somewhere in between… most days anyway. But whatever else we may say about life, the one thing we have to say is that we didn’t ask for it. Not a one of us orchestrated the assembling of our cells and bones and DNA. Nor did we ensure that there would be air to fill our lungs and blood to flow through our veins. And of course not a one of us chose our parents or our extended family members in all of their splendor and oddness! Life is a journey, we say, and one over which we have limited control. Life is a journey, yes, but we can’t know every detail of it.
When something pops up or crashes in and alters our lives, we often ponder the meaning of living in ways we had not before. Tragedy. Illness. Ruptured relationship. Natural disaster. The list goes on and on of the many realities that impact us and often without warning. My mother struggles under the debilitating power of dementia. Before it became so severe she could recognize that her brain was betraying her. And I would offer to her the words I have said so many times to so many, many people: you didn’t sign up for this… nor would you have if you had been given a choice.
We make zillions of choices every day. But we don’t get to chose everything about our lives. So perhaps there is a measure of wisdom in accepting the uncertainty. And when that wisdom is seasoned with faith, trust grows. And when trust deepens, acceptance isn’t bitter like resignation but gentle like wonder. What do you wonder about today? And what do you find wonder-full about life today?
Ever notice there’s an “if” in the middle of it? Jesus helps us with that: “I came so they could have life – indeed, so they could live life to the fullest.” (John 10:10b). No need to wonder about the “they” – Jesus is talking about his sheep and that means us.