Been thinking about endings and beginnings again. As I pondered last month’s piece about Elijah handing off his baton to Elisha (2 Kings 2), it seems to me that endings inevitably lead into new beginnings.
I’m remembering back nearly 20 years ago when my life was upside down. I was newly separated, raising two young boys, and scared to death. At that time a friend who had survived a similar set of circumstances tried to encourage me.
She said her life had come together beautifully, and she was sure mine would as well.
In my heart, I scoffed. I was certain this was the beginning of the end for my children and me. Little did I know, God was chiseling out a path for us to follow at that very moment.
Like Dorothy on the Yellow Brick Road, all I had to do was take one step at a time and marvel as that narrow, cobbled walkway led into to a city of splendor.
Sometime after the dust had settled in my life, I helped another young mom begin a comparable journey into single parenthood. As we packed up her kitchen, I thought back to a day many years ago when I encountered this same woman in a local produce market. She had two youngsters in tow and was busy choosing edibles for her growing family.
As I watched her, I felt the ugly grasp of envy take hold of me. She appeared to possess everything I longed for – security, contentment, and self-assurance – as she strolled leisurely through the aisles with her toddlers.
Next to hers, my life felt inadequate and depressing. Time has now erased many of the differences between us, and I felt privileged to take her hand as she began climbing this steep but manageable mountain.
Reflecting on that day so long ago, I gave thanks for the work the Lord has done in me. He has shown me time and again not to compare myself with others. When I still occasionally fall into that trap, I always get the same result.
My situation seems either better or worse than the other person’s; instead of walking alongside my fellow traveler, I mentally place myself ahead of or behind him or her on life’s continuum.
Either way, we’re on unequal footing.
This flies in the face of Scripture, which levels the playing field for all of us: “We are all like an unclean thing and all our righteousness is like filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6).
In other words, we all pale in comparison to a sinless God, no matter how “together” we may seem.
Kind of puts things in perspective, doesn’t it?
Thea Williams’s short story, “Phoenix,” appears in 50 Over Fifty: A Celebration of Established and Emerging Women Writers. Her work appears in Focus on the Family Magazine and Al Anon’s The Rap. Subscribe to Thea’s blog at www.reflectionsbythea.blogspot.com By day, Thea educates and prays for young minds at a local school district. Contact Thea at https://www.facebook.com/thea.williams.16 or https://www.youtube.com/user/theabwilliams.