Farther Along We’ll Understand Why

These times we have been living in have been extraordinary on so many levels. Hurricanes, floods, record-breaking earthquakes, insane politics, etc. etc. and the eclipse!

In my personal life there have been some huge challenges over the past couple of months that have caused me to drop off the map. My husband Bob was diagnosed with leukemia on August 1 and he spent the entire month of August in the critical care unit at Vanderbilt. Thank goodness he had the type of leukemia that was more treatable and he had a good prognosis. Still, it has been beyond heartbreaking to watch him go through this and I found myself incapable of doing much of anything besides trying to be by his side and pray that he gets through it.

I woke up this morning on my birthday in such gratitude because yesterday late in the afternoon Bob’s tests came back and he is in remission! He has a few more treatments ahead of him but we are all so relieved and want to thank everyone for their prayers and thoughts on his behalf!

I know there are so many suffering today with all of these overlapping disasters as well as folks going through serious illness like we did. I have always tended to shy away from the expression “I feel blessed” even as we come out on the other side of this with good news.

What about the child who doesn’t survive the hurricane or the illness that doesn’t go into remission? Although I don’t judge those who use that expression because I know it comes from a well-intended place, I’m never comfortable saying it. It’s intrinsically human and natural to feel blessed with good fortune when good fortune prevails. But I get caught up wondering about all the ones who pulled the shorter straws.

I used to get in a lot of trouble as a kid in Sunday school class for outwardly expressing that I had a “bone to pick” with God over all of this suffering stuff. The Catholic nuns of the early ’60s would have no part of it and I spent a lot of time sitting in the hallway.

Regardless, I have no trouble embracing a deep sense of gratitude to be waking up on a day where the wind has shifted and the coolness of fall is in the air and the hardest part feels over for at least for a little while, or at least for now.

Now, more than ever, my favorite hymn is “Farther Along We’ll Understand Why” because it reassures me that it is all right not to know how, when or why we suffer. That in spite of it we can be grateful for times of joy and try to remember even in our darkest hour that we can reach for love.