Even the good life is sometimes hard. I’m not sure I would last a day in someone else’s shoes– the shoes of the sick, of the hungry, of the exiled. I can’t even fully live my own insanely blessed life.
But I haven’t given up on you, World, and you haven’t given up on me yet either. I keep rising to each new day even when it seems a bit easier to stay curled in a fetal position under the covers. I believe Jesus when he said the kingdom is available to us– it must be here somewhere, right?
Life is better, life is better, life is better than death we say.
It was 5 o’clock on a Friday night. We pulled into the gas station and I watched as a beat up pick up truck pulled in next to us. The driver took one last drag on his cigarette, waved the exhaled smoke away halfheartedly, and slowly elbowed open the door of the cab. He leaned his back against the bed of the truck as he waited for the tank to fill, hands in pockets, eyes exhausted and staring into nothing. The lines around his eyes and face were more tired than wise.
Fast foward a few days, midweek, Wednesday– and I’m in Jewel watching the people shuffle through the aisles around me–still in their clothes from work, but now the clothes are slightly wrinkled and the lip gloss has faded and the mascara is smudged. They buy butter and bread and maybe some strawberries and they wait in line, because they have to feed their people. They can’t not feed their people, right?
We rise and we eat and we work and it is not silly and not desperate but actually quite (frightfully) reasonable to ask the question: why. Why do you keep filling up the tank? Why do you keep working? Why do you keep cooking, then cleaning, then eating? Why?
Because Life is better. Life is better, the Spirit whispers to us, whispers to all of us, whether we believe in Her or not. Like Hamlet, but for our own reasons, we know the being is better than the not being, and we know it’s not just better for us but better for everyone. It’s why the gnarled, broken limbs of a century-old oak foster and sprout tiny new twigs of green. It’s why you can see your grandmother in your daughter’s eyes. Because life trumps death every time. We are spinning toward life, toward life, toward life.
It’s why every entity– starfish and stardust, rocks and rivers and roses, bugs and birds and boys– something whispers to us all– tells us to grow, to exist, to be. Because this whole story is spinning somewhere.
We can ask, ask, ask: Why choose life?
Maybe because Life has chosen– Life has chosen– Life has chosen us.
The world hasn’t given up on you yet.