This week I'm not going to do the likes/dislikes format, for one simple reason--there wasn't anything to dislike this week. That's a strong statement, right? I'm sure I could have found something to gripe about, and usually the "dislikes" are small annoyances anyway. I know I am very blessed. "The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places..." (Ps. 16:6).
If you are in a tough place right now, you might be annoyed by reading that I don't have any troubles right now. I know what that feels like. When we were in a difficult spot financially (which was most of the time for the first ten years of our marriage, not because we are irresponsible spenders, but because my husband owns his own business) I would hear about or observe others who seemed to have everything they wanted and to put it bluntly, I was jealous. Later, when I was attacked by depression and anxiety, I felt I was broken inside--what was wrong with me, that I just couldn't be happy like a normal person? For one thing, I was doing a lot of comparing myself with others. The problem with that is that you always compare your insides with others' outsides, and that's not a valid comparison. You don't know what's inside their heart, what struggles they may be going through, or what they have endured to get to the place they are today. By anyone's standards, I have "gotten off easy" so far in this journey of life. Yet I have had some challenges, and since I'm not dead yet (!), I know I'm going to have some more.
I'm not going to write much about our good fortune this week, because it makes me feel funny inside. (I guess I still make the mistake of equating good things happening to you with being a good person, and that makes me feel like I am bragging.) At one point, I told my husband about winning two times in an online giveaway, and he said, "Let's play the lottery. Our luck is good this week." No--I don't know how I feel about luck. I certainly don't think I DESERVE to be blessed--just living in North America makes me wealthier than the vast majority of the people on this earth. I did think of the Scripture which says, "Send out your bread upon the waters, for after many days you will get it back" (Ecclesiastes 11:1). That is what Justin and I have been doing, without seeing much results, for a long time. Call it God, call it karma: the good things you do without seeking a reward will return to you after a while.
There is a story about a certain type of bamboo which doesn't grow tall for nine years, yet in the tenth year it grows fifty feet. The question is: did it grow fifty feet in one year, or fifty feet in ten years? If at any time you had stopped watering and tending it, it would have died and never reached its potential. Yet in the tenth year you see how tall it can be, and you are glad you didn't give up.