Wednesday, February 8, 2012

When the Devils Are Out, You Can Betcha the Angels Are Too

January was hard. It wasn't three days into the new year when the onslaught of opposition began its ruthless pummeling. I could feel it, both tangibly and spiritually, and I struggled. Some days I felt strong and powerful, and other days I felt pushed beneath the torrent.

I feel vulnerable. People who should be kind have not been. People I should be able to trust have betrayed me. People I should be able to count on have failed me. I don't think I'm experiencing anything particularly different from what you are, on any given day. The details vary, sure, but life is hard. For everyone.

One night, I put on a documentary I found on Netflix called The Human Experience. It's done by a couple of college guys, who want to experience life through the eyes of those who suffer in this world. They spent a week on the streets of New York City with the homeless in winter; they traveled to Africa and visited the HIV/AIDS victims, and a leper colony; and they lived and worked at a shelter in Peru for the Lost Children. It was really beautiful, what they did, what they were able to reveal through a camera. I was struck by the stark contrast of two opposing forces: suffering and the beauty of their happiness. The suffering made me weep. Especially those little children in Peru, discarded by their parents because of disability. I saw suffering in Peru with my own eyes, so it felt especially personal to me. And yet, every group of people had a happiness that far outshines my own. The brightest smiles, deep gratitude, spirits that glow right through their infirmities.

I've thought about those faces, and their heartfelt expressions of satisfaction and contentment in life. I wonder if the devils just leave them alone, as if even they have a boundary. But no, that can't be it.

Because when I think back on January, and all of the opposition I felt, I realize how many blessings were slipping in through the cracks with the beams of light. They don't make the trials any less real or painful, but they do offer perspective. If anything, they serve as a testimony that I am not really as alone as I sometimes feel. Someone is watching me, watching out for me, and keeping me afloat. The general trajectory of my life has got to be an upward curve. It's just got to be.

I guess the key is in which force I'm giving credit to for how I feel at the end of the day. Which one I let have power over me. It's not an easy answer or some new realization. It's a struggle for me.

But I'm giving February to the angels.


Jennifer said...

Thank you so much for this.

Saint Holiday said...

We do have quiet allies with great power, and they never let things go too far. I love you.


Rachelizabeth said...

Jenna. Thank you for this post. exactly what I needed right now. Even on Friday when it felt like all the devils were out, I was able to see the angels in my life shining through the bleak and hopeless day. Hope February brings about a positive change in all of us.