I’ve been thinking lately about the word easy. I like things to be easy. How about you?
I want traffic to flow smoothly, always. (Why does the guy in front of my keeping hitting his brakes?)
I want technology to work the way it’s supposed to, every time. (Argghh, why isn’t the internet working?)
I want my bathroom sink to say clog-free, with no work. (But I live with people who seem to shed lots of drain-clogging hair.)
The truth is: life isn’t easy. And, though I hate to face this reality: It’s not supposed to be. Cuz here’s the deal: most anything that matters is going to require that I roll up my sleeves, get dirty, and do the hard work in front of me.
Recently, I was visiting a member of our church who is in a nursing facility. We sat and talked in the community room, and when I had finished, I said goodbye, and walked to the elevator to leave. I pushed the button, and waited for it to arrive. And waited. And as I did, I noticed that a group of employees had gathered at the nurse’s station, talking. While they did that, there were a number of the residents sitting all around them.
Finally, the elevator arrived and I headed down to leave. As I was heading to the door to leave, I realized: Dohh! I forgot my coat on the 6th floor.
Why can’t life be easier? Why can’t I remember stuff?
Anyway, I got back to the 6th floor, grabbed my coat (which, of course, was right where I had left it), and headed back to the elevator. And as I waited (again), I noticed: a few of the employees were still standing around, talking. As they did, one of the residents was calling out: Where’s my ice cream? I want my ice cream. One of the workers told her she had already had her ice cream – and basically left it at that.
Why? Because it was easier standing there talking to friends.
Now, it’s easy for me to critique those workers. Because, I, like them, like things easy.
But then I think about the things in my life that matter. Being a husband. A dad. A follower of Jesus. A minister. Tell me again, Jeff: which of those roles that you have voluntarily signed up for, are easy? Each one – as with so many parts of my life – are not easy, and shouldn’t be.
If I’m going to be a faithful husband, it’s going to take work. And anybody who thinks differently will likely get to find out how easy it is to get a divorce (not). Likewise, if I’m going to be the father of 2 teenagers and one young adult seeking to find her way in the world, it is going to be anything but easy.
And how about following Jesus? Anybody find that easy? Well, if you’re really striving to follow him, it’s not going to be. And we can’t say that Jesus didn’t warn us; you know, that whole “take up your cross” thing.
Perhaps one of the deepest challenges of all the wonderful technology that has come our way is that it tends to lull us into a false sense that the better life is the easier life. That the pinnacle of a life well-lived is the comfortable life.
Folks, it’s a lie. A lie that goes all the way back to The Garden. And it’s not that technology isn’t helpful (it is), or even life-enriching (it can be). The lie is that we can somehow “technologize” our way to easy – and by finding easy, we find the life the Ancients could only dream about.
I have a friend whose tag line on the bottom of her email reads: “I don’t need easy; I just need possible.”
I think there’s some truth there. We aren’t promised easy, nor should we expect it. But with God’s grace and God’s help, we can expect possible.
So, where in your life are you accepting comfort, when you should be receiving a challenge? Where in life are you seeking to sit still, when you really should be standing up?
Where are you looking for easy, when you should be striving for faithful?
2 thoughts on “Take it Easy?”
I think that it’s painted on a wall someplace at the NAVY SEAL training base – “The only easy day was yesterday”, the joke being, of course, that there are no easy days in SEAL training…and there shouldn’t be considering the career they are striving to become a part of. While no one would wish for a life of constant strife and discomfort, your words below are so true – we aren’t promised easy nor should we expect it. I’m reading a book about a guy’s experience thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail and he hasn’t had very many easy days so far. What’s interesting is the sense of accomplishment he feels when he get through a really hard day. I like the idea of trying to remember the possibilities found in the challenges we face every day. I’d bet that the conversation at the nurse’s station was forgotten by the end of the day; but the satisfaction that could have been gained by stopping and sharing some real life exchange with that patient would have lasted much longer…
Good stuff. Thanks for sharing, Mike.