For the last few months, it's been much easier (and if I'm honest, much more comfortable) to put on complaining, frustration, resentment, and judgement.
The people in the apartment below us have been drilling non-stop 8 am-6 pm everyday.
Our electricity goes out several times an hour.
We currently have no hot water.
On Monday, I will be getting in a taxi, a bus, an airplane, and a subway to simply pick up my daughter's ADHD medicine.
You see, complaining is easy. And sometimes it seems justified, especially living overseas. Usually my complaining comes because I am comparing my life here to what things would look like in the States (or at least as I've contrived them in my head.)
People don't destroy and then rebuild their apartments while others are still living there.
You don't share electricity with the local grocery store.
There is always hot water.
I drive through at CVS and pick up medicine in my air-conditioned car.
You see where this is going. God's words to "Put on...compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, patience, love, peace, thankfulness..." don't give me an out because of where I'm living or what situation I find myself floundering in. Paul asks of us to purposefully put these things on because he knows that if we don't, we will pick up the nearest pair of comfortable jeans in the form of complaining and ungratefulness. Those are secure friends that justify our desires and lusts of every sort. This has to be a conscience act of putting on holiness.
It's gonna rain. Let's just all own this together. It's gonna rain. Life is going to splash you in the face, dizzying our focus and crippling our ability to stand upright. It's going to swipe at us from the side, buckling our faith in goodness. The rains will slowly fall for so long that we no longer understand what it looks like to be dry. And we become accustomed to being so bound in our own lives that freedom simply becomes wishful thinking.
I picture putting on the clothes of holiness as these umbrellas. Pauses of grace and allow us to keep walking from rainstorm to drizzle to fog to typhoon. When we put on thankfulness, we hear our kids asking why God made water instead of complaining that it's not hot. When we wake up and find peace, we can light a candle and allow the family to eat like frontiers instead of sighing about the electricity again.
Pauses of grace.
They allow us to breathe.
They give us a moment to wipe our ragged, tired, wet hair out of our eyes so that we can see what's ahead instead of habitually putting one foot in front of the other.
They remind us that gray clouds do eventually blow through and it's in those moments that we find ourselves even more grateful for the soft touches of the sun.
They allow us to look heavenward and remind us that we aren't forgotten down here. That in wearing compassionate hearts and patient words, we are among holy moments.
The rain is a guarantee, the pauses of grace are the gift.
One moment of grace happened yesterday as we were shopping for a computer cord. As this song came on...I paused. Wondering why on earth Chris Tomlin was playing in a Chinese computer store, I smiled. Hubs and I thanked God for the 3-minute moment of remembering that grace will find us, we just have to be willing to see.