“Those things I would not have chosen, have become things I would not change.” — Elizabeth Oliver
There is something incredibly stark about wisdom; those pithy little statements, often alliterated, and often so profound they cause more than a moment’s captivation.
There we were in the dark, out the front of the church, musing about our experiences of grief, when Mrs Oliver said that exact thing!
The reason this wisdom resonated with me is it spoke to my lived experience — grief that was excruciating and lasting, a hellish process, but through which new light and life is now known. For without the grief, there would be no grace.
I make a caveat for the person who thinks this wisdom is bizarre — even an impossible folly. I guess we must agree that faith must decide whether it believes God can make of what happens to us worth the pain. I would suggest that God can make it not only worth our pain, but that He can show us things we otherwise could never know.
Indeed, God can change our entire mindset in a moment — nothing is too much for the Lord. Does God always break through in these ways? No, not always, and certainly rarely with immediacy. But if God can speak through a little mother bird who chirped serenely having just lost her chicks, then it is possible.
Back to the concept of this article. If we turn it around and test it, I think the same thing is possible: we can learn to accept as chosen the things that cannot be changed, particularly if we’d choose now not to change them; that we accept life as it is now, without regret. This is no betrayal of those we have left behind us. Perhaps eternity will make sense of it, and that is a reasonable hope.
If we cannot alter the flow of change in our lives, there is much to be said for changing the flow of our attitude toward whatever we cannot alter. It is very wonderful, in that it works.
Another way of looking at this is, accepting something that happens to us beyond our will is logical, especially as we cannot change it. God is faithful and helps us adjust to it.
Blessed is the person who, whatever happens to them, has the capacity to move forward without delay or regret.