Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Era (02/03/11)
TITLE: When It Gets Personal
By Hiram Claudio
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Recent years had brought more upheaval than he had ever known in the four and half decades that preceded them. In those previous years he knew the pain of losing loved ones and of severe economic times. He understood the reality of depression – even though his heart trusted fully in his Savior. But recent times were different.
He found himself sitting in an empty room thumbing through the dictionary of all things. He was looking up the word … ‘era.’ The first definition given made him pause. It simply stated “a period of time marked by distinctive characteristics or events.” He stared at the page, nodding in agreement. He began to think of all the “eras” he learned in school. Thoughts of geological eras, like the Mesozoic or Paleozoic, crossed his mind. When he thought of literature, post-Romantic or Victorian, popped up. Others in history appeared also.
But as he reviewed these eras, he noticed that the main reason any of them were studied was because, well, they were over. And even in so called “modern day eras,” these become most noteworthy or examined only we can say that “it is the end of an era.” There is just something about an era ending that prompts careful review.
Yet he thought with all of these that basically the analysis done was from distance or disconnect. Perhaps because they all happened in some other time, some other place, to someone else. Reviewing them could be done objectively and without much passion or emotion. But he asked himself, “What do you do when the era that has ended is a personal one?” He then turned his reflection back to recent years.
His life was a good one or so he thought. It was not perfect but it was one he perceived to be filled with many blessings. He truly believed the ‘good’ in it outnumbered and outweighed the ‘bad.’ But all changed when the one with whom he shared that life with made it clear she viewed it differently. Yes, she agreed there were blessings, but disagreed strongly in their value, depth, or in the overall balance.
And so began a time marked by struggle and pain, not only discovering that his beloved looked at things differently but that she, in so many destructive ways, acted on that outlook. It would have been easy to just label those actions “betrayal” or “sin” but he found doing so brought little solace even though true. For you see, he gained much identity and security from the foundation those previous years provided. Anything remaining in life he wanted to pursue or accomplish was going to rise upon the value he viewed in them.
Now, everything was different. He truly felt lost. Did those years have meaning or were they all a lie? If those years were not what he thought, was he the man he once believed he was? How can you rebuild when you aren’t sure what to rebuild upon? Or even where to start? He never identified with the concept of “alone” as he did now.
But as stated, when younger, he had trusted his heart to a Savior. While all around him was in turmoil, forever shifting and changing, while he often stood still feeling powerless to do anything, he heard a familiar voice. The Divine One called to him and simply said, “take My hand and walk with Me.” He had learned long ago when hearing that call that it profited little to ask “where” since it seldom yielded an answer. So he smiled, picked himself up, and obeyed.
As they walked, passing through the mess that was his current life, he saw that what mattered more than its present condition was his present company. And yet, the recent time had taken its toll. Even while walking with his Heavenly King, he grew weary. He turned to his Master and said, “I’m tired.” The Master told him, “I’m not.” He said, “I don’t have the strength to continue.” His Master replied, “I do, and enough to spare.”
Something he thought he knew for years felt like he was learning for the first time. That security comes not from resting in circumstances but from resting in God’s loving embrace. And no matter where they would journey together, he was assured, at least that would never change.
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