That blue book bag carries many memories for me; the kind that cause me to consider burning it. I am a Christian. So I ought to run all experiences through the pages of Scripture, and I attempt to do so. I am also a man, and not a strong one. So I often find it difficult to see through the pain to the meanings that make it bearable. It's terribly trying for me to look back over twenty-eight years and make meaningful sense of much of it. Some say we write our own story. I say that's largely bullshit (See Pr 16, for example).
Frankly, the past three plus years have felt like my Israeli captivity (Ne 1:1-3); my Potipharian prison (Ge 39:20); my Jeremiahan cistern (Je 38:6); my Asian burden (2 Co 1:8-10). Of course life could be made more burdensome. And it very well may be.
Perhaps the comfort and hope is that God is more than a governor, He's also a redeemer. And if we traced out the stories, ultimately Israel and Joseph and Jeremiah and the Apostle Paul can be said to have benefited from their afflictions. But they were still real afflictions that had to really be endured.
Two of my recent co-workers pressed me yesterday about the reasons for my lack of excitement regarding my soon approaching move and new work (I imagine my disposition gave me away). They called me a pessimist. I don't believe I'm a pessimist (Although I did tell them that excitement is for suckers). I think of myself more as a realist. And in reality, new things come with their own share of burdens. Moreover, they rarely deliver on the hype we might pour into them. Has anything ever positively been all that I thought it might be?
In addition, none of our earthly treasures are meant to be altogether or permanently satisfying. That's not their design. They are, after all, finite and fleeting. So for me to tie up in them an over-inflated (meaning idolatrous) hope, is foolish. I have a new work in a new place. Okay then. I hope to do some good. Time will tell.