For the majority of my life everything fit into categories. Right or wrong. Holy or secular. Providence or punishment. Us or them.
My world isn't so black and white anymore. The older I get, the more grey areas I discover. I'm not satisfied with the kind of simplistic explanations I heard in Sunday School (where the answer to every question was either "Jesus!" "Read the Bible!" or "Pray!").
My wonderful, God-fearing, selfless mother is being eaten alive by Alzheimer's. Where's God's grace in that situation? Why do her retirement years have to be spent waiting for someone else to determine when she can leave the house, instead of traipsing the globe in freedom and independence?
The family rules and absolutes I used to measure myself against have all changed. Were we overzealous as children or are we off-track as adults? If the yardstick I've measured my success against is gone, where does that leave me?
I married the love of my life and we followed all the rules to make the most of our engagement, but marriage is still hard. Why do I often feel like I've lost any ability to communicate with the one I love?
I crave community but can't stand shaking hands, singing pleasantries and smiling on Sunday morning. Where do I find down-in-the-trenches-with-you friendship? I don't meet people I could call in the middle of the night during a crisis when I go to church. I meet people I can wave to across the parking lot.
So my prayers sound like this these days. Raw.
I'm learning that life is hard AND God is good. The two aren't mutually exclusive, surprisingly enough.