If given our choice, we would probably choose a less fearsome world. We would prefer a world where weeds did not infest the lawn, where there was no pain, where all our plans worked out and where wisdom was not overshadowed by ignorance. We would like not to age. We would like our muscles not to wear out and our cells not to deteriorate. We would like to see a world where there was no hunger, where there was enough money to pay the bills and where there were enough toys to fill our idle moments. But we are aware that this type of world doesn't exist. Life is not perfect. However, if it was perfect we would miss out on one of our greatest needs which is our need for others. If we were so independent, another arm would be far less welcome. If we weren't subject to fevers, we would not appreciate a cool hand on our forehead. If the world met every need before we asked for it or felt we needed it, we'd miss the gratitude when somebody sees our emptiness and fills it.
One writer asked the questions, "What do we live for if not to make life less difficult for each other?" It is in that very fact - of making life less difficult - that we find love and meaning in life.
One author relates the following story. A family whose father was out of work, found that their refrigerator was growing empty. The parents despaired of what to feed the family in the coming days. One night, the mother came home to find the refrigerator full, the shelves filled, and a roast in the oven, all provided by a neighbor next door.
"How could you know?" the mother asked the neighbor, now feeling the warmth of being loved and cared for. While life had been breaking into pieces around her, someone had become aware of the family's need. The feeling of having loved was a far richer gift than the empty shelves had been a trial.
We move through life being helped and helping, linked to each other through bonds of dependency that would never have been forged in a less fearsome place.
The poet, Robert Frost, looked at the evening sky and wondered why it was the dark that brought out the light. Stars do shine at noon but we never see them. It is the darker side of life that yields the light for us also. If we would drive away life's tears, we would do away with compassion. If we forbid frailty, we forfeit the need for strength. If we demand that we be self-sufficient, we will never learn to need each other. It is to each other's trials that we look as the traveler looks to the North Star for a place to "stay our minds on and be staid".
Pastor Hans Lillejord