One of my duties as a hospital chaplain is to plan and conduct memorial services at the hospital when an employee dies.  This may happen several times a year.  I usually try to arrange for someone to sing a reflective song as part of the service. There are several employees that sing in church choirs, and some who even sing professionally and are willing to share their talent at these special gatherings.  I recall when Bernard, who runs the information desk in the main lobby, sang a song called “Life Is Hard But God Is Good.”  The song was a very moving part of the service.  I found myself reflecting on the title of this song after the service ended.

The song title “Life Is Hard But God Is Good” contains two truths, two observations about life, each with something of value to teach us.  Life is filled with multiple truths.  For example, each of the four seasons of the year has its own unique truth to teach, with winter teaching a truth about death and spring a truth about rebirth and renewal of life.  Acknowledging and accepting that there are multiple truths in life and learning to live with this kind of diverse reality has been extremely helpful in my own life.  I have also found that this fact, while easy to understand intellectually, is not so easily transferred to the heart, where it really counts and can bring healing.

Human beings often have a natural tendency to rebel and struggle against the tension created by the presence of multiple truths in our lives.  If we can somehow change the way we see them, if we can “let them be,” surrendering to their existence and accept them into our life, we will more readily discover what they have to teach us.  We will see much of our personal struggle disappear and find a greater peace and harmony in our life.

You can help the insight of multiple truths to take root in your heart and thereby bear fruit in your life.  Experience has taught me that the way to internalize a new insight is to spend some time with it, to sit with it a while.  Let it evolve and unfold within you; allow and provide time for it to become integrated into the way in which you process the happenings in your life. Dedicating time and reflection to the insight of the prevalence of multiple truths in life is time well spent.

Connecting Point:  There is goodness in the world. There is evil in the world. There is kindness and generosity within us. There is also selfish interest within all of us.  You and I are not all good or all bad.  Just as there is a dark side to the world, there is a dark side to you and me.  In both cases the world and ourselves, we must learn to love and accept the whole package until it is eventually transformed into a new creation.

Prayer:  Lord, there are weeds growing among the wheat.  Yet, in your wisdom, you advise that weeds and wheat be permitted to grow together.  Help me to love others and myself with that same kind of unconditional love.  Help me to live with the contradictions that are often a part of my life, trusting that it is your hand that is guiding the process and that in the end, goodness, love, healing and peace will prevail.  Amen.

Charles W. Sidoti

Charles W. Sidoti, BCC, is Coordinator of Spiritual Care at Cleveland Clinic South Pointe Hospital. He is the author of two books, "Living at God's Speed, Healing in God's Time," published in 2011 and "Simple Contemplative Spirituality," published in 2016.

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