This post is the result of a conversation I had in the car with Scrag this morning – a deep and meaningful discussion about the meaning of life (the kind of talks I often find myself having with my eight-year-old. It’s how we roll).
There we are driving along in traffic, rushing, on the cusp of lateness as always, and he says, “Mum do you think there’s a plan for everything? Is there a point to it?”
See what I mean? Deep. This kid is DEEP.
I know where he’s coming from, what he is trying to get at.
With all the crappy things that happen, is there a reason or plan behind it? Is there a reason why we go through stuff?
Here’s how I answered him…
Do I think there’s a plan for everything, as in, everything that happens is part of a story that’s playing out and we have no control? Nope, I don’t.
I don’t think God is up there pulling the strings on what’s happening to us. It’s not like that.
We’re not pre-programmed robots or actors reading lines in a play.
But do I think that all the bad things can have a purpose and be turned around and made into something worthwhile and valuable? Absolutely.
Then I told him about pearls.
Pearls are formed when there’s an irritation, something painful and uncomfortable inside an oyster’s shell. The oyster’s way of dealing with the pain is to transform the irritation into something valuable. Without the irritation, there would be no pearl.
What we go through in our lives, can make us bitter (and hard and angry) or it can make us better (compassionate, kind, warm, generous).
What we learn going through our own hard stuff can be offered to others who are going through tough times too.
That becomes our treasure that we can share with the world.
“Do you get what I mean, son?”
“Yep, cool! Bye-mum-love-you-have-a-great-day!”
After he jumped out and ran to his bus, I pondered the saying “pearls of wisdom”.
Pearls. Huh. There’s probably a reason wisdom is likened to pearls.
A pearl is a treasure created out of pain, just like wisdom, which comes at a price.
I can offer you my opinion on plenty of topics – opinions are free and easy to dispense and therefore have little real value.
But if I offer you what I’ve learnt from the pain I’ve been through in life? Those are my “pearls”, my hard-won wisdom, born out of the struggle.
I spotted an article in my Facebook feed this morning which was uncannily right on this topic of there being a plan and purpose to everything: “Lies we Believe about God: Lie #3 – God is in control.“
The article was written by Wm. Paul Young, author of the book that forever changed the way I see God (for the better), The Shack.
This quote says it all, really, and sums up how I see things:
“How often have we heard the well-intentioned words, “It must be part of God’s plan”?
Or might it be that many things are simply wrong?
There is no justification for much of what we have brought to the table, what has been done to us, and what we participate in ourselves. It is wrong! Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong!
Yes, God has the creative audacity to build purpose out of the evil we generate, but that will never justify what is wrong.
…What if this is about a God who has greater respect for you than for “the plan”? What if there is no “plan” for your life but rather a relationship in which God constantly invites us to co-create…And what if this God, who is Love, will never be satisfied until only that which is of Love’s kind remains in us?”
When I consider the end of my marriage, and what our family has been through in the process there is no way I could ever say that this was part of a Divine plan. This trauma and devastation wasn’t “meant to be”. It’s messed up!
I know beyond a shadow of a doubt, that out of the ashes of the mess God can restore beauty.
I know that from the hurt and disappointment and the pain of it all, if I let Him in to my mess, he can transform it all into something of value, something that I can share with others walking through the same pain.
I know this to be true in the deepest part of my core.
Therefore I can say with confidence to my son, who is trying to make sense of the struggles* he faces, “Yes, there can be a good purpose to everything we go through. The sad, bad and mad can be made useful and valuable in our lives; our pain and our discomfort can become the pearls we share with the world.”
It’s not empty words, I’m living it.
*(Scrag has ADHD and Dyslexia to deal with on top of our family journey)