Saturday, December 25, 2010

Comfort in the Chaos?

Confounding the experience of every man or woman in this world is the unwelcome question: who cares? Does anyone give a damn about me?

Long ago, a psalmist observed , "...he looked for some to have pity on him, but there was no man--neither found he any to comfort him."

Seeking relief from this lonely condition, each person finds within self a desire to love and to be loved, to know and be known, by another. In the nascent setting of life--that of childhood-- many are fortunate to have experienced the comfort of mother love, of father love and sibling love. Unwelcome accompaniments of parental discipline and sibling irritations are revealed as part of the deal too, but they provoke, as it turns out, valuable lessons in the school of life.

Oftentimes, it's when a young man or women gets out on his(her) own, as most are want to do-- then is the time of the rude awakening that: hey! nobody cares-- is laid upon them. It's every man for himself, and each woman is the queen of her own existence.

Take me, for instance. I encountered several facets of this lonely revelation: when my high school girlfriend found better things to do with her college experience than care about me, when the professors didn't bend their grading curves to suit my lax learning, when my employers didn't immediately acknowledge the immense value of my inclusion in their plans, when I sang songs and nobody listened, wrote poems and no one resonated, and generally risked demise at the peril of feeling sorry for myself.

So when I got a little closer the end of all that whiny, self-absorbed need, I found a good woman and married her, and she has helped me a lot for these last thirty years. I like to think that I helped her some too, and that, together, we helped our three kids, now grown, get a good start in this mysterious condition that we call life.

That marriage/family trip is also the path taken by the man who fathered my wife back in the days of Eisenhower and Elvis. Lately, I've been thinking about the old guy, my father in law. He has lived long and well. He's got a few rough edges, you know, and he turns a little grouchy now and then--these days more and more so as he faces the barrenness of a nursing home existence, his own infirmity, and most of all the absence of his lifelong faithful wife who passed several years ago.

He's back at that point of unwelcome discovery: who gives a damn? The wife is gone on; the kids are all doing their own thing. Who cares?

God does. I hope my father-in-law makes his peace with God before the big one comes along. He has heard all his life, and we have counseled him, that God cares. That's the message of the child born in Bethlehem--the one whose creched enshrinement was near the lighted Christmas tree all those seventy-odd years of a man's life--the One who was born of a virgin as the Savior, to rescue us from loneliness, among other things.

Jesus cares, and He lives forever, as I do because of what He did. How about you?
Written this Christmas day, 2010 A.D.

Feliz Navidad, y'all.

CR, author Glass half-Full

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