Amanda Barber

Stories, songs, and thoughts on life.

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17 September 2019

A few days ago, I put on a pretty dress that I made, fixed my hair all up, and went off to sing in a choir concert. I looked like a million bucks and everyone said so. At the end of the concert, I sang a solo and I got enough compliments on my voice and singing to last any person a lifetime. I went to the afterglow party for a while and received even more compliments. Then I went home with Jonathon and crashed. I had held it together during the concert with God’s help, but I felt bad the whole time. My stomach was hurting and my bladder was doing its weird spasmy inflamed thing, and I felt pretty light-headed by the time my solo rolled around. I prayed, flexed my knees some, and got through it. At home Jonathon rubbed the knots out of my back caused by the tension that builds up when my stomach and my bladder run riot, and I almost laugh at the irony. I looked and sounded like a million bucks and felt quite the opposite.

I do not enjoy being sick. It’s disappointing. Normalcy seems like such a luxury, just outside of my grasp. I look fine, but I’m not. I am disappointed by my life.

And being able to say that is progress.

I used to be too ashamed to admit that I was disappointed. I put on a brave face as my twenties passed by without a husband in sight. It seemed desperate to admit I was disappointed. I had Jesus, so being single and childless shouldn’t matter. Then I got married. After a year or two, I told myself that being infertile shouldn’t matter. I had Jesus. There seems to be an unwritten rule in much of Christianity that you ought not voice your disappointments. If you’re disappointed, it means that you are dissatisfied. Christians ought not be dissatisfied, because Christians have Jesus and he is supposed to satisfy you. It’s only recently that I have begun to question that notion. If Jesus were to satisfy us completely, He wouldn’t bother leaving us on earth. We’d be in Heaven right now. Because that is the only location in which I can ever imagine being fully satisfied. At least, that’s how I look at it. Maybe I’m wrong. But I don’t think I am.

Being disappointed is so normal and so inevitable because suffering in some form or another is a given. Not one person born into this world is going to leave it without suffering in some way. I hate it. Try as I might, I can’t believe that we were created to have our hearts broken, to break bones, to watch people we love drown in an unconscious, unthinking body of water, to lose children, to get sick for years…to die at all. It’s not right, and I know it. So do you. That’s why it’s so disappointing. I believe this because Jesus wept in anger at Lazarus’ tomb…right before He raised him to life. It’s only because of that last part, that my disappointment is not a final, crushing blow to my sanity.

Someday it will all be made right. Quite possibly, that day will be a few seconds after I’m dead. Then I will be satisfied. Everything will be right side up again.

But if it happens in small degree before then, if I begin to wake up in the mornings and tackle the days because my abdominal pain isn’t there to drag me down, then I don’t know how I’ll contain my happiness and my gratitude. If I can decide to make a trip and not have to make a plan for dealing with whatever curve balls my Lyme and Co. infections throw at me, I’ll never stop thanking God for making me well.

Until then, I run to Jesus with my disappointments. I think He knows best how to handle disappointment and suffering, since He came down and suffered with us.