Harry was 55 years old. He’d experienced the death of his father, the suicide of a close friend, multiple job losses, and his mother’s failing health and confinement to a nursing home.
Over the course of his life, he’d been beaten up, lied to, cheated on, swindled, yelled at, humiliated and robbed. His house had been broken into, he had been a passenger in a serious car crash and a berserk driver in a road rage incident had chased him for several miles. He’d experienced depression, confusion, heartache, sadness, anxiety, sleeplessness, various sicknesses and extreme physical pain. Harry had gone through various other trials and tribulations and, if he lives another 20 or 30 years, he’ll experience more.
However, Harry’s life, so far, certainly hadn’t been all bad. He had a fantastic childhood and great friendships. He’d been on the honour role for three years in high school and one year in university. He’d won academic awards, prizes and competitions. He had a wonderful wedding day and a successful marriage. He’d witnessed the birth of his three children. His youngest, Franklin, is six years old and tells Harry that he loves him every day. He had a good job and financial security. Overall, Harry was fairly content.
Harry’s life – a mixture of hardships and blessings – is far from unique. This has been the lot of billions of people from every era, nation, race and social class. Life, as we all soon learn, is a tapestry of happiness and sadness, success and failure, joy and tragedy. Why do some people endure or overcome life’s hardships and eventually find happiness and other people simply quit or become miserable, bitter and lonely?
For me, the mysteries of love and faith hold the answer. Those who are selfish, who only really love themselves, become bitter, resentful and hateful as they experience life’s inevitable frustrations, disappointments and hardships. While those who learn to love God and others and especially those who believe in Christ endure their hardships patiently and offer them to Him in reparation for their sins. They also recognize, appreciate and are thankful for their blessings.
We all have a choice to make in this hard and sin-filled life: We can seek the light or yield to the darkness. If are hearts are open to Jesus, our lives, no matter how dark they may seem now, will gradually become a bit brighter until that final Day of endless Light.