Was visiting with my daughter #2 today, and she quoted my favorite mantra: Use it up, wear it out; make it do, or do without. “It” being what I already have, what has been provided, or what’s on hand at the time. I’ve heard that necessity is the mother of invention…I say that necessity is a mother, for sure…but I major in flexibility, and I think I do a great job at making do.
There are times, however, that I haven’t been able to make it do…and have had to do without. It’s a little harder to be flexible when doing without. No one is immune to suffering…whether it is illness, loss, or financial difficulties.
My granddaughters have a sweet little ritual when they suffer a fall, or a hangnail, or any other myriad of “owies”. They take it to Momma (or Grammie if I’m lucky 😉 ) for acknowledgment, kisses and encouragement. When they’ve been affirmed, Momma (or I) will urge them “now, shake it off”, at which point, they will do a sweet little shimmy, smile and run off and play. I have seriously taken this advice to heart. I wish I could say it was my own wonderful idea, or even one that has been passed down for generations, but…that would be untrue. Even though I can’t claim it as my own family secret to happiness, I have adopted it as my own, and pass it on to others now, with an added piece of advice that almost rhymes, my new favorite mantra is: “If you can’t smile and shake it off, then embrace it and offer it up.”
A strange thing happens when I welcome and embrace opportunities to suffer. I feel empowered somehow, I feel strengthened, even in the knowledge of my weakness; Acceptance comes with a deep sense of purpose when I see myself as part of that mystical body of Christ, and envision myself carrying that cross, willing myself to share in His sufferings for his sake…for the purpose of participating with Him in His passion. I can relate to Paul when he said this:
“Yet whatever gains I had, these I have come to regard as loss because of Christ. More than that, I regard everything as loss because of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things, and I regard them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but one that comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God based on faith. I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the sharing of his sufferings by becoming like him in his death, if somehow I may attain the resurrection from the dead.” (Philippians 3:7-11)
Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ on behalf of his body, which is the church, of which I am a minister in accordance with God’s stewardship given to me to bring to completion for you the word of God, the mystery hidden from ages and from generations past. But now it has been manifested to his holy ones, to whom God chose to make known the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; it is Christ in you, the hope for glory. (Colossians 1:24-27)