Toward the end of 2010 I recall saying out-loud *(and regretting it) “Life is peaceful right now and I am fearful that cannot last.”

Well, I had reason to worry. Although there are great blessings in the world, we all will face trials and tribulations. Many of them. In the last 3 weeks, the following has happened in my small little world:

  • a friend was hospitalized because her baby boy was trying to come 7 weeks early, before his lungs were ready
  • a friend lost her grandfather, only to find out his wife of 61 years is now suffering from a most awful cancer
  • friends packed their home in one city, for a new home, new jobs , new everything
  • a loved one with a chronic illness experienced renewed pain and difficulty
  • many friends have spent long hours, weekends and days off at work rather than spending time with their families
  • a Member of Congress is targeted and shot in the head

Let’s face it.

Life is hard.

At some point, we will all face trials and tribulations, experience pain, sadness and loss. That is not in question. What is in question however, is how we handle these trials and tribulations when they happen to us or others around us.

  • Do we receive support and give support?
  • Do we love & encourage without question?
  • Do we reach out to our loved ones and ask for help?
  • Do we lift one another up in prayer?
  • Do we help carry the burden by making meals, acts of service, holding hands and LISTENING?

I am currently reading a book written by Henri Nouwen. If you don’t know him, look him up. Anyway, he was a Priest spending a few months at a monastery trying to rebuild after a difficult year. And while walking in damp upstate New York woods one fall afternoon, he realized something.

He realized there was much beauty in the world he had not yet seen.

His observation was encouraging to me this week and last as I spent 14 days in a row at my desk. There is much beauty in the world I have not yet seen.

  • Like the small hands of a little boy born 6 weeks early, and the smile on his mother’s face when he opens his eyes – or
  • The miracle of gun shot victim opening her eyes and smiling at her husband
  • The peace of sitting by the fire with your family, even if you are in a new town, with new people
  • or knowing that even if you are in pain, or ill, you are loved and supported

I know I am constantly giving advice. I am sorry.  It’s actually my job most days. But today’s advice is a little bit softer, and more like an observation.

There is much beauty we have yet to see.  But you have to seek it out sometimes. You have to look for it, in the woods, in the NICU, in a laugh, a smile, an encouraging email, in the small places where you least expect it. Keep looking, I know it will be a blessing to us all.