You Can’t Always Get What You Want

March 20, 2006 | 46 comments
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Why does Mick Jagger’s observation ever come as a surprise, to any of us? I mean, we’re intelligent people, we read the scriptures, we ponder and pray, we argue and think, we serve and have been served, we know that God is not at our beck and call, we know that this world is not one which comes with any guarantees. Tragedies abound, both large and small, and they generally remain unexplained. So, given all that, why do any of us ever find ourselves frustrated and saddened and confused by things that don’t work out? Why did I, case in point, find myself weeping in my bishop’s office, wondering why I couldn’t get something that I desperately wanted? What could possibly have brought me to ask such a stupid question in the first place?

I blame it on a wedding band.

One spring in Utah, when Melissa and I had been married less than a year, we went camping. We hadn’t been able to afford a proper wedding band for Melissa along with her ring, so her mother lent her an old band of hers. That evening, in the tent, she took the ring off, laying it in a corner. In the morning, as we got up and broke camp, she couldn’t find it. We scoured the campsite, took down the tent and put it back up and took it down again, turned the sleeping bags inside out. We considered bizarre scenarios (a raccoon silently invading our tent during the night? accidentally caught on my key chain, which I carried with me to the showers that morning?), retraced our steps, all to no avail. It was lost. Melissa was distraught. It was her mother’s old band, of great sentimental value, and she’d lost it! So, at the end of our ropes, we kneeled down and said a prayer, asking God to please, please, let us find it. We got up, went through the car again, the tent again, our pockets again. No luck. I wandered across the campsite, and randomly kicked at the dirt. PING! The band sailed up from where I’d kicked, hit a tree, and landed at Melissa’s feet.

There was, of course, more than we could have done. We could have searched all day; we could have drawn up a grid and gone through the campsite on our hands and knees inch by inch. But then, there’s always more than could be done. As the case actually was, we’d basically given up, and then the band appeared. There was every reason in the world for us not to find it; the fact that we did was, to put it simply, miraculous.

I’ve thought about that experience often, sometimes in a critical way. After all, what sense does it make for God to answer a prayer in regards to such a silly, inconsequential matter, while He simultaneously ignores the desperate petitions of those suffering from pain almost beyond imagining? Children die, parents drown, wars are waged, diseases destroy, earthquakes devastate, Satan reigns with blood and horror upon the earth, and what does God take the time to do? Grant the wish of a couple of overwrought newlyweds, and guide an aimless kick to reveal a crummy old wedding band? Nonsense–surely it must have just been meaningless luck! But no, something tells me otherwise. Something tells me that, at that moment, our God was a responsive God….or, at the very least, there is no way I could ever be certain that God wasn’t at that moment truly responding to our prayer. Which means, therefore, that I can never be sure that at any point He might not do it again. After all, the scriptures and the prophets all testify of a God who can and does (sometimes, under certain never entirely clear conditions) reward the humble and heartfelt desires of His children; why shouldn’t we hope that such might be our fate?

So despite all my doubts, despite all my inability to ever feel as though I can affirmatively testify of anything, I pray. I ask God for things, I plead with Him, I beseech Him, I beg. The results have often been poor. But I’ve kept wanting, kept wishing, kept praying. There always seemed to be an open door somewhere, a remaining option, an avenue left to explore; while I was never certain of where God’s hand was or even if it was there, I could never dismiss the possibility that our trials and struggles were going somewhere, were a part of something, were being answered. And I still can’t dismiss it today–though I wish I could.

This will be my last post here for a while, perhaps for a long while, perhaps for good. I’ve received some news which has, to say the least, prompted some serious soul-searching. Barring some last minute miracle (like kicking at the wedding band?), Melissa and I are, I think, going to have to explore some new paths, and that’ll take time and thought and effort that I can’t really share with anything else. So we’re paring back, and letting some things go that we can do without. For myself, with all the rethinking and scrambling that’ll likely come along with trying to make a big change at age 37, blogging is one of those things.

I didn’t want it to be this way. I keep telling myself that the loss we’ve suffered is a small thing, an inconsequential thing. In a world a suffering, it doesn’t compare to losing a spouse, a child, a soul. But still I wonder why: if the band, why not this? No answer from the heavens. Or then again….is there? I don’t know. I don’t see how any possible sense can be made out of decisions of mine which have resulted in us coming to the end which we have. But of course, I’m not the one who sets the ends–not really, not in the final sense, assuming there is a final sense.

I’m going to miss Times and Seasons, and the Bloggernacle, and everything that I’ve learned and laughed about from reading and sharing with and being taught by all of you. Who knows? Perhaps it will turn out to be the case that it was through T&S that I learned and grew enough to be able to handle this shock to my whole sense of self. Is that an answer? Not the one I wanted, to be sure; it’s no wedding band. But, to quote Mick Jagger again, perhaps it’ll turn out to have been the answer that gives me what I need.

Thanks, everybody.

46 Responses to You Can’t Always Get What You Want

  1. Erica Merrell on March 20, 2006 at 7:16 am

    Thank you, Russell. I will truly miss you. I have been praying for you and Melissa for a long time.

  2. Nate Oman on March 20, 2006 at 9:11 am

    I am sorry to hear about the department’s decision. As always, you will remain in my prayers.

  3. Seth R. on March 20, 2006 at 10:32 am

    “There is an old tradition that views man as the being who asks questions. In the words of Aristotle, ‘All men by nature desire to know.’ From this point of view man is distinguished by his power to discover. The mark of man is a question. The history of the ages is the record of man’s questions. When an old question is answered or even just abandoned and a new one replaces it, then a new age begins. All the knowledge that creates civilization emerges in answer to human questions.
    The history of religion follows this same pattern as it tells of man’s quest for God. In all things man’s progress is the progress of man’s questions. They lead to knowledge, and knowledge is power.

    There is another tradition even older that makes a different claim. It asserts that man is born into the world with a question and that he lives his life with a question, but it is not man’s question. On this view man is not primarily a being who questions but a being who is questioned. The question addressed to man persists, harder than stone, softer than snow, more insistent than the warmth of the sun. ‘Where art thou?’ (Gen. 3:9) Man is distinguished not by his power to ask but by his power to hear. The question with which he lives is not his own but God’s.

    For all that it has helped man learn, the claim that manis primarily a being who questions is inadequate. It may lead to the worship of information on the one hand or to skepticism on the other. It may create minds without hearts. Even worse, it may lead to despair, for knowledge alone can never satisfy. Will man be happy when he has split the last atom and searched all the sands of the sea? Deeper than the desire to know is the desire to be known. Man’s fundamental need is not to ask a question but to respond to one. Only by responding do I learn to be responsible; only by responding do I learn to care about something beyond myself.”

    Dennis Rasmussen, “The Lord’s Question” 1985.

  4. Rusty Clifton on March 20, 2006 at 10:35 am

    Russell,
    I’m so sorry about how things are working out right now. You will be missed (until your return) and know that you are in our prayers. God bless.

  5. annegb on March 20, 2006 at 10:50 am

    Russell, I’ve had the same experience, God will help me find my keys, but He didn’t save my child.

    I’ve wondered if God has favorites and I’m not one of ‘em. I get really really mad at Him and say bad words. I saw other peoples’ lives being blessed in ways that God seemed to refuse mine.

    As I’ve gotten older, I see the blessings scale even out a little and I’m a little more faithful. I see that nothing lasts forever, life constantly changes, and things pass. They work out.

    God bless you, I enjoy your posts and your friendship.

  6. danithew on March 20, 2006 at 11:02 am

    Russell, that story of finding something after searching everywhere and then praying for help … it is (in my opinion) a classic LDS experience. I’ve had my share of those.

    Good luck in finding a new career or in having something happen that will give you the career you’ve been working for. I’ve really enjoyed your posts and comments in the past.

  7. S. P. Bailey on March 20, 2006 at 11:08 am

    We will miss you, Russell. I certainly hope God has great blessings and opportunties in store for you and your family; it sounds like you have been through the ringer again and again with the academic job market and could use some peace and rest.

  8. Hellmut Lotz on March 20, 2006 at 11:33 am

    Sorry about your misfortune, Russell. Political theorists have a particularly hard time finding a tenure track position. I hope that you will continue to apply for the advertized positions.

    You have generated a lot of worthwhile ideas. I hope that you will continue to develop them.

  9. Aaron Brown on March 20, 2006 at 11:39 am

    Russell — Your posts have always been, for me, one of the highlights of the Bloggernacle. Things won’t be the same around here without you. I really hope that things work out somehow for you and Melissa.

    Aaron B

  10. Jim F. on March 20, 2006 at 11:40 am

    Russell, you know you will be missed here, but I doubt that you know how much you will be missed. Thanks for all you’ve done for T&S, including supporting their decision to invite me to blog.

  11. Eric on March 20, 2006 at 11:44 am

    Thank you for sharing your story. I hope things work out well for you.

  12. C Jones on March 20, 2006 at 11:53 am

    “For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth” may seem like cold comfort, yet it is true.

    We are in our second year of relative normality after 7 years of one disaster after another– financial, occupational, spiritual, emotional, and physical. We gave up the only thing my husband ever wanted to do after our entire crop for one year was lost and then in the middle of the next harvest he had a serious farming accident that led to 3 surgeries and months of recovery. We limped along for a few more years so he could finish his service as bishop. Then we had to leave the home where we had made all the sweet memories that come with raising children there and started our next business – which ended with the discovery of an embezzling employee. I won’t bore you with the rest, but here are a few of the things that I’ve learned (so far):

    Dwelling on the negative is like praying for what you don’t want.
    Trials, adversity and pain are essential to our progress.
    Peace comes with increased submission to and dependence on Christ.

    We are recreating our life once again. After losing everything, we are finding that what grows out of the ashes is only bounded by the limits that we put on ourselves. I wish you and your family all the best.

  13. Kristine Haglund Harris on March 20, 2006 at 11:59 am

    Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!!!

  14. kris on March 20, 2006 at 12:25 pm

    Russell, I was very sorry to read of your disappointment. I have been a dedicated reader of your posts here and at your personal blog. Please know a family in Canada will pray for you and your family.

  15. gst on March 20, 2006 at 12:53 pm

    Russell, if you’ve really hit bottom, you can go to law school.

  16. J. Stapley on March 20, 2006 at 1:01 pm

    Cheers.

  17. John Mansfield on March 20, 2006 at 1:19 pm

    I am another who valued the words you shared with us over the past couple of years. Best wishes for you in working out difficult matters. Goodbye Brother Fox.

  18. Wilfried on March 20, 2006 at 1:42 pm

    Thanks, Russell. You have been a great understanding friend around here. I understand your point but, after 32 years in academia and seeing lots of surprises, I’m pretty confident that things will work out.

  19. Rob on March 20, 2006 at 1:46 pm

    Russell, though the inclination may be to socially withdraw or pull back in situtations like this, career counselors will tell you that this is not the time to do that. You may need all your friends, and all the connections you may have, to find the next place for you and your family. Now, more than ever, you may need to put yourself “out there”. I would hope that you would reconsider the natural urge to huddle down during this trying time. We can all pray for you, but we might be able to do more than that if you keep us all posted and don’t withdraw from your community–merely online though parts of it may be.

  20. Elisabeth Calvert Smith on March 20, 2006 at 1:48 pm

    Russell, I’ll miss you. Thank you for your contribution here, and the best of luck to you and your family.

  21. Clark on March 20, 2006 at 2:04 pm

    Good luck Russell. I went through a similar period of adjustment (although I didn’t have the burden of worrying about a family at the time). I think you’ll find though that life outside of the academy is far more fulfilling than you might guess from within. Looking back now I hold no regrets for not continuing my academic dreams.

  22. Lisa F. on March 20, 2006 at 2:04 pm

    I have enjoyed your writings and responses. Thanks for all you have done here, and best wishes.

  23. mullingandmusing (m&m) on March 20, 2006 at 2:17 pm

    Russell,
    I ached with you as I read your post. I have struggled with chronic health issues for several years now and have had similar feelings of frustration with “Why doesn’t God answer our prayers?” What I am learning is that He does, just sometimes not the way we want Him to. What I am learning is that life sometimes isn’t about living life as we want to or plan to. It’s about discovering and trusting in God’s love, seeking the warmth of the Spirit regardless of the trials we may face, being grateful for what we do have (and seeking to see the tender mercies). Mostly, it’s about having an eternal perspective and staying yoked with Christ so He can help carry our burdens. What I’m finding is that staying yoked with Him isn’t easy work. It’s work, and He doesn’t necessarily take away my burdens. Actually, in my life, He hasn’t to this point. But I have found strength as I fight less against what is happening and accept whatever is going on, trying to see what I and my family might be learning. I know, easy to say, so hard to do. But it takes up too much energy (physical, emotional, mental, spiritual) to fight and be mad about what is happening.

    It is SO difficult when you seem to hit wall after wall after wall. Even though I have only been here a short time and don’t know much about your situation, I will pray for you and your family. I hope all works out with your career (things have a way of working out), but perhaps even more than that, I hope you can find peace during your trials and know that God is not ignoring you. He may be testing you (seems so unfair and even twisted sometimes, I know, but I’m slowly understanding how essential this is to our eternal progress and goals). Don’t you give up praying and hoping and wishing. But don’t forget the “thy will be done” part, and things may feel a little more bearable.

    *Sigh* I may sound like I’m lecturing, but I’m empathizing more than you could know. I’m in the throws of trying to change my approach to my trials. My heart hurts because I know some of what this struggle feels like. Different situation, similar tugs and pulls at the heart.

    Elder Holland is one of my favorite speakers at times like this. Read his talk, “An High Priest of Good Things to Come.” It’s one of my favorites. I think I cry every time I read it. Might go do that right now (cry and read).

    My thoughts and prayers are with you.

  24. Kevin Barney on March 20, 2006 at 2:18 pm

    Russell, I have admired your posts tremendously. And I’ve kind of liked having you in Illinois, even if I’m up here in Chicago.

    Have you reached out to Rod Smith to see whether there may not be a place for you at SVU? The Bloggernacle will give you a recommendation en masse.

  25. Bookslinger on March 20, 2006 at 4:47 pm

    Russell, your story reminds me of Hugh B. Brown being turned down for a promotion to general officer rank in the Canadian military. The story is in the “Lesson of the currant bush”. I’ve read it in “Stories from the Lives of General Authorities” by Leon Hartshorn. Also reprinted in the Jan 1973 issue of the New Era.

    An online summary of Elder Brown’s life is here:
    http://personal.bellsouth.net/w/o/wol3/brownhb1.htm

  26. Kaimi Wenger on March 20, 2006 at 5:15 pm

    Truly the end of an era. You were our first guest blogger, Russell, coming on board just days after the whole enterprise started. (See http://www.timesandseasons.org/?p=75 ).

    I joked then about Pierson v. Post, an old property-law case about capturing a fox from the wild. I guess Pierson is incomplete, and doesn’t mention that sometimes the fox escapes back into the wild.

    Godspeed, friend. Hopefully we’ll capture you again some time, in the future.

  27. JKS on March 20, 2006 at 7:21 pm

    Good luck to you.

  28. Wacky Hermit on March 20, 2006 at 9:36 pm

    My favorite talk on this topic is entitled “But If Not” by Elder Dennis E. Simmons, in the May 2004 Ensign.

  29. M.J. Pritchett on March 20, 2006 at 10:00 pm

    Russell:

    I’ve enjoyed your posts, and this one was one of the saddest I’ve read on T & S.

    I know nothing anyone can say can make much of a difference right now, but, for what it’s worth, I’m hopeful that sometime you will get what you need.

    M.J.

  30. Guy Murray on March 20, 2006 at 11:12 pm

    Russell,

    This is one of my favorite Stone’s songs–and you’ve created with it a masterpiece of a post. As I commented on your personal blog, I like so many others wish you well in your future endeavors. And, as I said over there, I’m sorry to hear about your current disapointments–but they will be further experience in your life’s journey.

    I hope you don’t give blogging up forever. You have much to contribute, particularly to the LDS blogging world, where we need faithful intellectuals out on the front lines.

    God Bless you and your family Russell Fox.

  31. Adam Greenwood on March 20, 2006 at 11:30 pm

    Go with God, then, and our good wishes. We will meet again.

    I wish you knew how many of my posts were designed to draw a response from you.

  32. meems on March 21, 2006 at 1:28 am

    Russell: I’ve immensely enjoyed reading all of your posts and comments. I’m so sorry that you’ve been having hardships, and I pray that you will be rewarded with something wonderful and unexpected. You’ll be sorely missed. Please come back when you’re ready. :-(

  33. Brian G on March 21, 2006 at 3:44 am

    Russell,

    I think you’re a great blogger, one of the best, and I’ll miss your posts.

    I think you’re doing the right thing in quitting the bloggernacle, but I’m not so sure about academia.

    I don’t mean to give you unsolicited advice, but I can’t help myself. It’s only because your post really hit a chord with me.

    A few years ago I was in a nearly identical situation. My so-called career was going nowhere. Even calling it a career back then was a joke. At that time in my life, I too, had a tear-filled conversation with a Bishop where I begged him to lay off pushing me in my calling because I felt so much shame about being a horrible provider. The lack of financial stability had delayed us from starting a family and in a leap of faith we decided to start a family anyway. When our first pregnancy ended in a miscarriage that was rock bottom for both of us.

    I felt nearly exactly like you do. I doubted whether I had what it takes. I felt like I had foolishly ignored warnings. I felt selfish for putting the two of us through a bunch of hardships (and believe me, what I was pursuing was a lot less noble and more selfish than what you’re going after). I was so desperate I seriously considered going to law school, or getting an MBA, even joining the FBI–not that those are awful professions, but if you know me those are pretty ridiculous ideas, especially the FBI. I’d watched too much of The X-Files and I thought I could stop terrorism or something.

    Anyhow, I know it’s hard. I don’t like to hear you minimize your pain and difficulty by comparing it to all the other varieties of suffering out there. It’s real to you. It’s severe to you. It’s real to people who’ve been in similar circumstances. It’s real to Heavenly Father. For what it’s worth, I gave myself another six months of punishment and things slowly got better, and they’ve gotten slowly better for me since, but I’ve been lucky, so maybe I don’t have any advice after all.

    Some professions, usually the ones a lot of people want to pursue, are truly cruel and merciless, and there’s never any shame in changing course. It’s a tough choice, but I bet you love what you do, and I bet you’re great at it. So you might want to give yourself a little more time, that’s all I’m saying.

  34. DKL on March 21, 2006 at 8:28 am

    I don’t know if you remember me from BYU. I doubt you do–there’s so many of us and there’s only one of you. You and I were at BYU at the same time. You were ahead of me by a year or two (thanks to my long record of failure in academics, I’d delayed going to college until just a little later than even many RM’s). When I first discovered the bloggernacle, it was populated almost entirely by strangers. But I recognized you, and your familiar face made the place seem a bit less foreign.

    I’m very sad to see you leaving, and I’m even sadder to hear the reasons why. I hope to see you return, triumphant at the start of a promising new path.

    Good luck, Russell.

  35. Ronan on March 21, 2006 at 12:15 pm

    All the best, mate.

  36. Katie on March 21, 2006 at 3:35 pm

    I wish I knew exactly why some prayers are answered and some are not.

    I know I have had prayers answered, and they often were not answered the way I wanted them to be, but I also not that that which I prayed for the hardest didn’t happen. I have prayed for inspiration and improved relationships with many people, and for some, I was blessed to know just what to say to make things better, but with others, such as my father, I didn’t feel or learn anything. Wouldn’t the Lord want me to know what to say to make that relationship better? I don’t know why I wasn’t told how.

    I’m still trying to reconcile my clearly-answered prayers with my clearly-unanswered prayers. I don’t believe that I’m better off with some of my prayers unanswered – they were not for things that would have been bad for me. I’ve never prayed so hard as when I wanted my mother to wake up from her coma and not have to die when she was 47 and I was still 20, but it didn’t happen – not even close. That was when I realized with a shock that I wasn’t one of the inviolate favored for whom everything works out, as it had seemed up until then. It changed my entire conception of the Lord, because I could no longer conceive of him as someone who would protect me from egregious hurt. I felt betrayed, and I felt forgotten.

    But he was still there for other things. I haven’t discovered how to reconcile that feeling of being dumped on the ground when I needed a hand with the occasions where I have very clearly been blessed beyond what I needed just to survive, and sometimes about the smallest things.

    I think that the Lord does not value us more when we are unbruised. All the guarantees of hope and blessings in the scriptures (I searched for them frantically, looking for a promise that things would be okay) concern the next life. For this life, he promises that he will always be with us, but not that our loves, our hopes, our families, our futures, or our self-conceptions will be. There is no terra firma, but just as surely, there is still the Lord.

  37. mullingandmusing (m&m) on March 21, 2006 at 8:55 pm

    “I’ve never prayed so hard as….”

    I wonder if THAT is something we miss sometimes. Praying hard is something that is good. It’s exercise. That exercise itself is extremely valuable to our spiritual health, regardless of the outcome. Sadly, we usually don’t pray as earnestly when things are going well. The BD definition of prayer helps me understand the purpose of prayer…not to change God’s will, but to commune with Him and align our hearts and will with His.

    I hope I don’t sound cold in this, but I think it’s the only way to not shake a fist (or both of them) at heaven. He sees what we are becoming through whatever we struggle through. For each of us, it is something a little different. But, regardless of our trials, in the end, the answers are the same. I think it’s about us learning to have consistent faith in Him, absolute trust in His love, even when we can’t see or feel that, and especially when things don’t work out as we would want them to. There IS terra firma — His love and His promises. Faith keeps us on that terra firma. But faith is HARD WORK. It stretches the heart strings to the breaking point sometimes. I used to think faith was about a testimony, about belief, but it’s so much more. It’s about not turning our back on God even when we feel like He has turned His on us. Hard, hard stuff.

  38. Stephen M (Ethesis) on March 21, 2006 at 9:34 pm

    Russell, I’ve had the same experience, God will help me find my keys, but He didn’t save my child.

    I’ve wondered if God has favorites and I’m not one of ‘em. I get really really mad at Him and say bad words. I saw other peoples’ lives being blessed in ways that God seemed to refuse mine.

    Don’t you know it.

    In my case, I had ample warning ahead of time, but it was still terribly hard. I still remember responding to an alumni questionaire, on line here (typos and all) http://adrr.com/living/quest.htm

    A few years ago I was in a nearly identical situation. My so-called career was going nowhere. Even calling it a career back then was a joke. At that time in my life, I too, had a tear-filled conversation with a Bishop

    Don’t I wish I’d felt comfortable enough to have one of those.

    I think that the Lord does not value us more when we are unbruised. All the guarantees of hope and blessings in the scriptures (I searched for them frantically, looking for a promise that things would be okay) concern the next life. For this life, he promises that he will always be with us, but not that our loves, our hopes, our families, our futures, or our self-conceptions will be. There is no terra firma, but just as surely, there is still the Lord.

    I’ve truly come to believe this.

    btw, from http://adrr.com/living/seven.htm

    Was reflecting. I had a time when there was an individual who intercepted a great deal of my mail. One thing he stole was a request that I interview for a job at a university (sent unsolicited to me) — at a law school I would have really liked to work for, a once in a lifetime dream sort of offer. He went out himself and attempted to get the job for which he was woefully unprepared and ill suited. I found out much later and I suspect that the incident burned a number of bridges for me there (since I failed to respond and then it was represented that I sent this individual in my place with my recommendation). I’ve never had another offer to interview from them.

    The job at the law school that contacted me would have been a dream fulfilled. I had forgotten about it. I found out about it May 24, 1992 and thereafter got pretty distracted with windsurfing and the girls (that summer was heaven) and then with the illnesses and funerals. It was a pivotal place in my life and one of those changes you wonder about — kind of like the Washington D.C. internship I was offered, but not told about in ’79 — I ended up working as a clerk-typist in a hospital instead of doing a much better paying and better connected D.C. internship, something I had really wanted. I feel as if I’m facing another one of those possibilities in my life, where there is something just over the horizon that I will not realize I have missed until I find out later — too late to do anything about it. Just one of those feelings that is nagging at the back of my mind, out of nowhere, a hunch or an inspiration or, perhaps, just a memory surfacing strongly after many years.

    Wish I had more to offer than these retrospections.

  39. Stephen M (Ethesis) on March 21, 2006 at 9:37 pm

    I am so sorry to hear that things did not work out. Wish I had more to offer. But I do wish you well.

  40. Stephen M (Ethesis) on March 21, 2006 at 11:19 pm

    For what it is worth, you’ve caused me to reflect and to blog on your comments at:

    http://ethesis.blogspot.com/2006/03/complete-collapse-of-hope-and-desire.html

    May you find shared hope.

  41. DavidH on March 22, 2006 at 11:15 am

    I too think there is a touch of inspiration in those lyrics, and perhaps in the final lines “But if you try sometimes you just might find, you just might find, that ya get what you need.” However, it sure doesn’t seem that way many times.

    Sometimes I also think that Joseph’s statement applies to many or all of us. “I am like a huge, rough stone rolling down from a high mountain; and the only polishing I get is when some corner gets rubbed off by coming in contact with something else…. all hell knocking off a corner here and a corner there. Thus I will become a smooth and polished shaft in the quiver of the Almighty.”

    I appreciate you and your posts and support you.

  42. sarebear on March 24, 2006 at 7:05 am

    Here is something I posted in the comments on your blog, earlier today, before I saw this T&S thread and stuff on it.

    That leap of faith, is more than a leap, it’s like jumping out of a plane without a parachute. As you may have read from the following, my husband and I recently went through a devastating time. Anyway, reposting it here because it kinda sums up how I feel about it, mostly. Except, one is STILL jumping out of a plane without a parachute. Although, there’s been a very few people survive such a thing, with little to no injury . . . And here’s hoping that, just out of the “scene” is a big ole’ movie set-style air-filled cushion, the kind stuntpersons fall onto, that cannot be seen until you hit it (at least, if one is jumping backwards.)

    Hey, Russell. I’ve enjoyed your blogging muchly, although if blogging is what needs to go, so you can attend to other things, Godspeed to you and strength and support.

    The despair I felt inside when my husband lost his job the last day of January this year . . . they didn’t even call him, he went in to work as usual and they were like, dude, what are you doing here, you don’t work here anymore . . .

    The complete and utter collapse of feeling that your life has anything workable in the only direction(s) that you have invested SO MUCH in, emotionally, mentally, physically, spiritually, financially, time-wise; that you have put so much of YOURSELF into, and then to have it fall apart, made me and my husband feel like WE were falling apart . . .

    I posted sometime around there a post or two that described how I felt, without saying that he lost the job as we did not want family to know at that time.

    I even tried to kill myself a week or so after the job loss. I just felt so . . . untethered, and bereft of having any usefulness to ourselves, to what we had worked for, to our decisions that now seemed so . . pointless.

    Anyway, I know I can’t say for sure that everything will work.

    I do know, though, that with alot of prayer, by us, our family, and others, and aLOT of agonizing, and courage, on my husband’s part, and some serendipitious things (that were opportunities the Lord sent our way, AFTER the trial of our faith, and the opportunities even BECAME a trial of our faith), and much praying and agonizing over whether or not to even DARE to hope that this new, but very scary opportunity, might come true . . . and to ACCEPT, in my very bones, to the depths of my soul, that if it did NOT work out, that it would be the Lord’s will . . .

    That last, there, was a spiritual wrestling match of emotionally wrenching proportions; but the morning after I settled the match, the Lord blessed us with a much better situation, that we couldn’t have even hoped for.

    Anyway, I am not saying that it will work like this for you; February was a horrible time for me and us.

    I just pray, so much, that the Lord has something really GOOD in mind for you that you might not even be able to imagine; something that will be of great worth and benefit to you and yours. That is my prayer, and also that through this time of struggle that He will send you peace and strength.

    I hope I haven’t offended. Or that I’ve created expectations of anything, but know that I KNOW how deeply difficult this sort of thing (I’m kinda guessing as to what kind of “thing” is going on, here) can be, and that we were just there, and IT HURT SO BAD. And I would never presume to say Hey, just have faith, it’ll work out.

    That’s too simple, and insulting. Just related MY experience, is all, but it’s such a personal, individual thing, these sorts of struggles and devastating events and such.

    Here’s a big hug, if one could be sent through the ether towards you.

    Sara

  43. Stephen M (Ethesis) on March 24, 2006 at 8:06 am

    ), and much praying and agonizing over whether or not to even DARE to hope that this new, but very scary opportunity, might come true

    I’ve known those feelings, and living with a sense of dread when things are going just too well.

  44. Davis Bell on March 26, 2006 at 12:55 am

    Russell,

    You ask, “Why does Mick Jagger’s observation ever come as a surprise, to any of us?” I’ve wondered why this is as well, as I am continually suprised when I don’t get everything I want. The best answer I can come up with is somewhere along the line, for some reason, I got the impression that God would make everything okay for me. Not just in the eternities, but by the time I was 25. In a very theoretical sense I acknowledge adversity and the Fall and all that, but at the end of the day, my deepest assumptions and expectations were all based on the core belief that God would fulfill all of my dreams and desires. I did not enjoy seeing this belief fall apart. Maybe that’s similar to your experience, and maybe it’s not. Either way, I’m sorry for these developments in your life, and will miss reading your thoughts.

  45. Richard Jolley on March 27, 2006 at 5:21 pm

    Russell, what is going on and who is ukann?

  46. Stephen M (Ethesis) on May 7, 2006 at 8:21 pm

    Just dropping back in and thinking about you Russell.

    For what it is worth.