I have to get up early tomorrow and do range duty as Chief Range Safety Officer for a group of men visiting from out of town. I’ve been doing RSO duties for a long time now, and this is not a big deal.
But I do not want to go. I would rather hole up at home and sew or read or binge-watch something that takes me out of the ache for a while. I don’t want to engage with people, and I definitely don’t want to get up early. Twice I’ve picked up the phone to call Skip, our scheduler, to beg off with the excuse that my heart hurts. He would then have to scramble to find another RSO, but he wouldn’t complain because he feels badly for me and he doesn’t want to add to the weight I carry.
Twice I’ve put the phone down, partly because I don’t want to cause extra work, but mostly because I know that once I get there I’ll be fine. I’ll be in the moment, I’ll enjoy being with the shooters, and I’ll have gotten out of the house. All I have to do is show up.
That’s all I ever have to do, and it’s the hardest decision to make. Sometimes I have to choose it every five minutes.
The last six months have been unaccountably difficult and lately I’ve been faced with the growing possibility that Jake is dead. I think about it every day, and the world looks so…barren inside the idea of no Jake on the planet.
Right now, I deal by showing up. I commit to things knowing that later I probably will wish I’d kept my calendar free. But I also know that just showing up works for me.
I have used emotional pain as an excuse not to show up before. I don’t any more because showing up feels better than not. (Seriously. Beating myself up for letting others down makes it worse.)
I keep thinking of the link between perseverance and strength, and this is true for me, here: “…tribulation brings about perseverance;4 and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; 5 and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” Romans 5: 3b-5
And James 1:3: “The testing of your faith produces endurance.”
Well, I also think that trials and suffering produce resignation. I’m not a fan.
But I recognize strength.
The problem, for me, is that I have to wonder what’s next. I’m getting stronger for what?
My character could always use the refinement, but dang. Can’t we find a way that doesn’t involve pain?