the writings of Sue Berger

A World of Contrasts

Writing can be so frustrating at times. Trying to express an idea in words isn’t easy. I have great respect for the Max Lucado’s of the world who are master word-smiths in conjuring up mental images and emotions thru the written word. I can only imagine the hours invested in writing seemingly simply-stated concepts. I know from experience, it’s not a simple task!

Take for example my husband’s recent writing project. Lee’s quite a good writer (in my humble opinion) and a deep thinker. Therein may lay the problem! He was trying to convey a typical teen’s life choices and the adult consequences and eventual life station those choices would most likely have. It boiled down to choosing God’s way or not. As this was being written in a fictitious story manner, he needed names for the “good way” and the “bad way”, or the “not-so-good way”, or… Well, you get my drift. How you do express this without sounding preachy, or all-knowing, or superior? Or is there anything really wrong with that? After all, as Christ followers, we claim to know the “right way”. Whew! Gets sticky fast!

So, I started trying to come up with descriptive names for these two worlds. “Higher” and “lower” smacked of harps and flames, so that wasn’t working for me. Black and white isn’t politically correct, so can’t go there. Besides, nothing in life is that clear, tho I sorely wish it were. Perhaps a “gray” world and a “golden” world? But do I consider my life as a Christian “golden”. Hardly! I struggle with the same pulls everyone else does, whether they know about Jesus or not. Life is still hard, choices difficult, pain hurts and I mourn loss in my life.

If I’m really honest (and I’m supposed to be, right?) the “not-so-good” way looks golden and shiny and appealing and fun. It’s hard for me to resist, even tho I often know better. It’s like the shiny Christmas balls that are everywhere this time of year. The pretty colors catch my eye. Light dances off them cheering up the long, dreary days of winter. I love how rich the gold ones look mixed in with the reds and greens of the season. I find myself handling them with a certain amount of awe and affection for the emotional effect they have on me. I’m always surprised by how light and amazingly fragile they are. They must be hung and displayed with care, then packed away in padded boxes that take up way too much room in the attic.

Is my life any different? Am I polished and shiny and smiling on the outside, but hollow inside? Or do I have something, or Someone, inside that gives my life substance and heft? When life is hard and decisions difficult, do I have Someone to turn to who’s advice has been rock solid for thousands of years? Who’s principles have weathered life’s storms for generations. Someone who assures me He understands pain and has promised it’s temporary. Someone who created me to mourn loss, but somehow fills that void with comfort and peace and often better things.

So maybe there are not two ways of life. Maybe there’s just one Life and we spend our lives bumping into It. I still don’t know how to explain this concept to teens and I wish my husband every inspiration possible. It comes through trial and error, experiencing life and it’s consequences. Yes, we all wish we could spare one another many of those experiences, provide some short-cuts and prevent disasters. But it seems we’re all destined to be hard-headed. Perhaps it’s part of The Plan. We’ll each prove to ourselves we need help bigger than ourselves. There IS Someone we can accept to walk this life with us that will give it meaning and worth. No matter our path, none of us are outside His reach. And that, my fellow sojourner, no matter your age, is Good News!

– Sue Berger

Note: Permission is granted to share my material as long as my by-line, email address & copyright date remain attached.

© 2011 One Pilgrim's Musings

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About Sue

From a "normal" childhood with a working dad & stay-at-home mom, to a Bible-college and borderline-cult church; now in the midst of an almost-40-year marriage to my college sweetheart and currently a massage therapist, life is interesting! Through it all, God has been patient, faithful & gracious. I'm pleased to share my life's observations with you. Enjoy!