Escape

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I’m in a funk today. I feel like I’m stuck in a thick fog and have no clue what direction to go. Someone asks me a question and the looks on my face says “My mind is not here. I didn’t process anything you just said.” I wish it was because my mind was on a hot sunny beach enjoying a cool breeze; if I could make it go there for just a few minutes, maybe I could figure out how to get in a better mood. I’m just disengaged completely. Checked out. Walking around like a robot.

I’m hiding out in my office on my lunch break. The only light is what’s coming through the overcast clouds into the windows above me. My coworkers who come by look at me like I have three heads.  I’m just in this kind of mood today, ok? I don’t feel like being positive. I won’t pretend to be happy. No, I’m not in a deep dark depression. I’m not going to cry. Today, I don’t want to have any emotion.

It probably has something to do with all of the sad/heart-breaking/insert any other depressing adjective stories saturating the TV and social media this morning. I really shouldn’t look, but I want to be informed.

Friends back home in Brandenburg, I feel your pain today. I hurt for you. I hurt because I feel helpless. And wordless. It’s ok to not have words; sometimes it’s better that you don’t. You have come together as a community, and that says more than you may realize.

I cope by pretending it’s not there. I hide in my dark office and hope no one else comes in with bad news. Isn’t that how many Americans are taught to cope? We try to ignore everything. We drown ourselves in reruns of “Modern Family”. Or go to the mall for some retail therapy. Or, if we can afford it, we run away to a tropical island and let the sun and martinis soak up our worries. (Do not interpret this as meaning I don’t like these things.)

Why do I feel the need to escape?

My mind desires so much to be elsewhere. It wants to be in that place of unexplainable peace. No, I don’t want to die. I just want to be surrounded by everything that is good and make all the bad in the world GO AWAY. No more death. No more sickness. No more poverty. No more children sold into sex trafficking. The earthly therapy described above will give me a dose of earthly happiness for an hour or two if I’m lucky. But on a day like today, I don’t even have the energy or desire to seek that hollow happiness because I know it simply won’t quench my joy-seeking thirst.

So for a few minutes I will attempt to fill my heart with something that is REAL, FULFILLING, LASTING.  I will think about a future world that has none of these awful things. I will reflect on “whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable” (Philippians 4:8). “If anything is excellent or praiseworthy-think about such things…And the God of peace will be with you.” For now, this involves my Pandora “Neverclaim” radio station and a cup of hot tea from Starbucks. And at times, it might just include a sunny beach and a martini, but I know that ultimately these things will not provide lasting satisfaction like the maker of these good things will. So I will try to seek Him first and let Him be my escape. Because he is the source of everything good, He WILL ultimately be my escape from this cruel world.

Even if you find that joy I’m talking about, you probably still have questions lingering in your mind. Why does He allow bad things to happen, especially to good, innocent people? Why do we have to experience hurt? Is God really good after all? I encourage you to read “The Case for Faith” by Lee Strobel. He does an excellent job tackling these very questions. And no, I’m not getting paid to say that. He doesn’t even know that this small town Kentucky girl exists. That would be cool, however.

I’m praying that God shows you something good from Him today, something that the world can’t offer. Remember that everything good and lasting comes from Him. The world can give you temporary happiness, but that same world will snatch it away with each tragedy. You can be left with nothing, or you can seek a joy that will not leave.

There will be a day when all of the bad is gone. For now, I will let myself escape into the joy that the world does not offer and hope that I can step out of this dark place ready to share it with the people around me.

What do you do to escape from all the bad stuff going on around you? Is it fulfilling?

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