Kara’s Collection: The Chief End of Man

From an article originally posted December 16, 2013…

I can’t sleep. My mind refuses to shut off tonight. I spent the day enjoying the small graces of my life. A slow morning with friends, food, the kids, a fire, and a movie with my oldest daughter. She snuggled close and held my hand through the movie. It felt like an important day. Tonight, as I was reading to my son, he rubbed his feet against mine just the way I do every evening. Jason used to try and hide his feet from me in the covers. Now my habit is a part of his evening routine.

Lake told me tonight about his wedding. He told me how I was going to be there. Oh, the bliss of that sweet hope. He looked at me with a gentle look and told me what last year was to his heart. He has been talking a lot about chemo lately. He has needed to talk about it. We talked through my bald, my quiet, my weakness. He’s a tender hearted young man, and the older he’s getting the more his words are coming to express himself. It’s beautiful. It’s a grace.

I find in my story, the kids story, Jason’s story there is always the temptation to move on from pain. To push forward, fill the calendar, forget, but there is something of our hearts we leave behind when we do that. I see plaques, signs, poems admonishing me not to let cancer define me, change me, forever mark me. I bristle at these platitudes. They may be right, but I haven’t figured that out yet, and these fighting anthems feel bossy. I want to find my way.

More than that, cancer has marked us, changed us, defined us, and forever changed our story. It would be silly to say it didn’t. Snuggled next to my boy tonight, I realized it’s my privilege to see how our suffering has tendered my son. I also see that his story has just begun.

Trust me, cancer is not the only subject in this house. We mostly are getting through the tasks of the day: lunches, finals, chores, play. We argue over washing hands, reminding littles to flush the toilet, and debating who has to take the dog out. But the slow story, the quiet story, the one that takes hushed voices to hear is the story that has been shaped by heartbreak. Trust me, that isn’t a bad thing. We have this shared journey, pain, hurt that drew us uniquely together; it’s beautiful.

Do you quiet yourself enough to share the true story of your heart? Have you listened to it lately? Do you allow Jesus into the places of pain? Are you letting restoration and redemption seep into those hurts?

The first question of the Westminster Shorter Confession is: What is the chief end of man? I love the answer more than I can express adequately in words. The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.

I was thinking one of the greatest avenues I enjoy God is by hearing the hearts of those in my life. Truly. Tonight I heard the heart of my son expressed honestly, with great love. It was beautiful. God shaped that story through some difficult circumstances for a little boy who loves his mama much. I enjoyed it, I hurt over it, and it was a gift from God. May my son and I both glorify God in the hard story.