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Wednesday, 16 October 2013

As Good as it Gets

The title of this Blog entry is taken from a film which starred Jack Nicholson as a chronic OCD sufferer trying desperately to find happiness and peace of mind within what he perceived to be a perilous, chaotic and dangerous world. He asked the question, 'What if this is as good as it gets?' This is certainly a question that Suzie and I have asked ourselves many times in recent months. What if this is it? What if the way our life is today is as good as it will ever be? It's rather sobering to acknowledge that, actually, it probably is. 
Over the last year or so Suzie and I have been through a grieving process as we have struggled to accept the fact that there are so many things that we will never again be able to enjoy. This is it. This is as good as it gets.
When we are able to, it helps if we can acknowledge that our life is the way it is because this is what God has chosen for us. We certainly wouldn't have chosen it ourselves, but we would rather live the life we have now, with all its pain, fears and limitations, than to live outside of God's perfect plan for our life. That does not in any way diminish the level of suffering that Suzie has to endure every day. Life is tough, and we often get upset, tired, fearful and depressed. We face a significant level of anguish and dread as thoughts of what the future might look like inevitably stray into our minds. 
Some people would ask 'Why me?' 'Why us?'.... Our response to that is 'Why NOT us?' What makes us so special that we should avoid the sufferings of this world? Our challenge is to learn to accept our situation and to trust in God's unfailing love to uphold us. It is in total acceptance that we find perfect peace.
The problem is that we are subject to fickle human emotions. Today has been a 'low' day.. A 'can't' day.... Suzie's mobility has been almost zero, and her speech has been the worst I've known it. It took a very long time and a lot of frustration and tears to even get her into the car in order to go out and do some shopping. The time we spent in the supermarket was painful for us both as Suzie struggled to make her words understood, and I struggled to hear what she was saying above the noise of my tinnitus, the background music that was playing, and the constant drone of the fridges and freezers. When we got back home it took another prolonged effort and a fair few more tears to get Suzie out of the car and into the house, with a very near miss as we got 'stuck' on the step and very nearly both ended up on the floor. It was awful beyond words. When we finally got in to the house Suzie was so exhausted by the whole experience that she was ready to go to bed for an hour. I knelt beside her bed, holding her hand, as she lay there, her tears flowing uncontrollably as she expressed her utter anguish at the thought of continuing throughout the months and maybe years ahead trying to cope with the life we now know, and the worse things that are yet to come.
This evening we both feel totally overwhelmed by the reality of what our life has become and of what we know lies ahead of us. Generally we just plod on from day to day, dealing with each challenge as it arises, but every now and then the sheer enormity of what we're facing hits us hard.... the reality that what we have today really is indeed 'as good as gets'.... at least as far as this life if concerned.
Ultimately, though, the answer to the original question is 'It isn't'. This may be as good as it gets on this earth, but we know that, one day, sorrow and suffering will cease. One day we will see this time as just a shadow in the eternal glory of our loving God and Saviour. I can't bear to even think of what the journey to that point in eternity will look like, or how much sorrow and pain we will face along the way. But I do know that God is faithful. We know that He won't let us down. We acknowledge that nothing we could ever go through could begin to compare with what Jesus went through for us as He gave His life to save us. We know, beyond doubt, that the eternal joy and peace that He offers us as a free gift will wipe away any pain and suffering we could possibly face in this world. It's that certain knowledge that keeps us going and gives us peace. Our prayer is that anyone reading this will seek and find God's peace and love for themselves. That really would make it all worthwhile.