At our house we do our best to parent with sarcasm. I'm sure someone can psychoanalyze that and tell me how horrible it is, but when you rock the kind of stubborn that we do in our little home, you need some tools at your disposal. I don't know where my children get their stubbornness from. (I can only assume my husband is to blame.)
When my daughter attempts something new and tells us that it's hard, we often respond, If something's hard, don't do it. Of course we're joking. We laugh and tease her. But there is truth in that statement. When things are hard in life, we do want to quit. But fighting through something that's hard and arriving on the other side… that's where the blessings are.
When Kara was diagnosed with breast cancer, it would have been easy to look the other way. There would have been less pain. Fewer tears. Less heartache if I’d watched from further away instead of participating in her life and her fight.
Over two years ago, Kara flew away to meet Jesus face-to-face when she won her battle with cancer. The pain from her passing has ebbed, but at the same time, grief still lurks nearby, often surprising me at the strangest times.
I learned so much from watching Kara and from walking with her. I learned breast cancer is a beast. I learned nothing matters in this world more than Jesus. And I learned that what my husband and I joke about is true—it would be easier to quit when something is hard. It probably would have been safer not to continue a friendship with Kara. Not to experience the pain of losing her and watching her fade and suffer. It might have been simpler to walk away. But it would not have been better. You see, I was given a gift. A gift of friendship on fast forward. A gift of community. A gift of learning how to be there for someone in ways I’ve never been before.
Before I met Kara, I needed a redo in walking with a friend through hard stuff. I’d done it wrong. And I’ve messed it up since. I have to remind myself that regret is a forgiven chance to start over. If you’ve botched it up in the past, I’ve got good news for you: you get another chance. Another moment to make a new decision. Look to your right. Look to your left. Someone is going through something hard. You can be there for them. And when you push through instead of quitting, get ready for the blessings you never expected, the faith you’d forgotten, and the peace that passes understanding.
When something is hard, God is there with us. Step forward and do it anyway. He will meet you there. He’s pretty great that way. And he's all about second chances.
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