Embrace Forsooth!

Embrace Forsooth! June 18, 2019

Well, it’s raining, and some person on twitter posted this spectacularly novel advice, hashtag Tuesday thoughts:

Without rain nothing grows,

learn to embrace the storms of your life.

Oh, well, when you say it like that, nothing could be more obvious. I’ll guess I’ll just go do that.

I wonder, though. Say you are some unmoored genZ youngster with a cellphone glued to your hand (I don’t really know anyone like this, almost everyone I know is able to put the phone down occasionally) and you feel the sort of gnawing ennui that creeps up after a useless scroll through some social media purveyor, and you were thinking, ‘goodness, there’s a storm on the horizon, that looks really unpleasant, maybe I’ll stay in, or better yet, go somewhere to get away from it’ but then you see this extraordinary meme, this Deep Thought if you will, and your whole world is just turned right over. Goodness! Instead of staying in to avoid the rain, or getting in your car to drive away from the tornado, or not getting in the ocean when the the waves are crashing and breaking against the rocks, you rush out and open your arms real wide and just ‘embrace the storms’…’of your life’.

…oh, I get it, its supposed to be a metaphor. You’re not supposed to literally go out and try to hug a hurricane. But see, that’s where the whole thing breaks down. Because ‘The Weather’ and ‘Trials’ and ‘Troubles’ are not exactly the same thing. Except for today when they totes are. I mean, I suppose when the weather is bad you could think about it metaphorically as a Trial. But then, really? You’re supposed to ‘embrace’ that?

I guess embracing must be the opposite (for this meming bot) of running away. In which case, hmmm, that would require some more thought. Because if your trial is just like the weather, some of it probably would mean you removing your person from its immediate experience. Run away from the tornado, is what I’m saying. But you don’t really need to run away from the rain, you could just stay inside. You might need to consider the trial in front of you and make some kind of wise decision about what to do, based on logic and prior knowledge and maybe even some Scripture Knowledge. Either way, you don’t need to ‘embrace’ the tornado, nor even the rain, and probably not even your trial. You could just…and here’s the word I’ve been looking for, the better word, the more interesting word, the word that takes some of the emotional pressure off and gives you a little spiritual room to breathe (also, now that I think about it, a metaphor, maybe sometime we can think together about how well that one works out), ready?

Endure

Instead of embracing the horrid weather, you could endure it. Same with a trial. You don’t have to be happy about it. You can endure it, and place your hope and confidence in a provident and loving God who you know will turn around its ugliness into something good, ultimately, which doesn’t mean you have to be happy about it now, because, and here is vaguely my point, that’s basically lying. Why would you say to yourself that you’re ‘embracing’ something miserable? The only person who did that was Jesus, and he did it so that we, by his strength and power, would be able to endure.

If you’re fumbling through your bible app looking for that verse in James about Joy, let me save you the effort. That verse doesn’t mean “embrace” the storms of life. That verse means that when you are bowed down with weight of woe, you will eventually be able to put that unhappiness into the category of joy, which is a way of counting things, putting them into their proper places, because you know that God will be glorified, ultimately, by your endurance in the midst of suffering.

This is my long way of saying that I’m pretty angry about the rain today because while I do want my flowers to grow, I also want to sit in my garden and look at them, and my goodness, don’t preach at me about my feelings about the weather. Have a nice day. I probably won’t  be.

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