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21 April 2006 


I think that when we get too wrapped up in our own lives we lose perspective on what life really is. Life is so much larger than each of us... "No man is an island," perhaps you've heard it put before, but the danger is that we often can't see out of our own little sphere, and when that happens it's good to remember that there are others walking with us. I've been obsessing and worrying a bit privately recently. As a result of my recent back injury I've missed a large amount of classes this semester, and I may end up having to withdraw from some of my classes for medical reasons. At first this just compounded my frustration at having hurt my back and being stuck in a bed for 3 weeks. When you spend the better part of 3 weeks lying in bed with few people around you really can work up your mind. My mind had recently been wondering how I would possibly accomplish all the work that remains to be done this semester without putting too much of a strain on my still very fragile back. I've become so focused on this... so focused on graduating, on other people's expectations of me, that I've forgotten that the date on my diploma really doesn't mean anything.

Yes, I'd like to finish school. Yes, I'd like to get started in the "real world." But no, it's not the end of the world if I have to stay here to take summer courses. It's not the end of the world if it takes me five and a half years to finish school. It feels like failure now perhaps, but I am going to graduate with a degree from a Big Ten school, even if it ends up taking me a while longer. It's not that important. I've got the rest of my life to worry about the rest of my life, I'm going to concentrate on now, and now means one more semester of summer courses in Champaign. That's okay.

We had a speaker tonight at IV large group who really gave me some perspective; he actually sparked a lot of thoughts for me, but in particular he said something that really made me stop feeling sorry for myself and my "inconviencing injury." He told us a story about his son, a young man who had lost his way and gotten wrapped up in a life of drugs and poor decisions. His son one day found out his girlfriend was cheating on him and took a 9mm pistol, put it in his mouth and pulled the trigger. He lived. The speaker told us with tears in his eyes what it was like in the ICU waiting to hear what would happen to his only son. The pain and suffering in his eyes was obvious, and yet that man was able to conduct himself with joy and confidence in his faith in Christ. I went to large group thinking that it might give me some advice to deal with the depression and worry I'm feeling in the wake of this back injury, but I got more than that, I got a kick in the butt.

What is this injury besides 3 weeks of annoying pain and dependence on my friends. Yay, my back hurts, and it's humbling to have to ask people to help me do things... but is it as humbling as it would be for the creator of the world to come and be killed by the people and things he created? Is it as painful as watching your son struggling for life or being hung on a cross? If it continues for another month or year even, is it going to change the fact that I live in a country full of freedom and food and prosperity? Is it going to change the fact that I have been given new life in Christ? No. It's not. It's a trial, sure, but this injury, staying in Champaign another 3 months, postponing a career and family a couple of months... what is that going to change in the big picture?

Sometimes we just need to look around our little islands and notice that we're not the only ones and be thankful that the water isn't higher. I think I'm beginning to understand how David could praise God after the death of his son in 2 Samuel and the words to Blessed be Your Name. The Lord gives and takes away, and when we can't see the sense in it, maybe we just need to trust that we are not the author of this story.

Amen. I think God wants you here for a while longer- don't know why, but it's good. :)

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