like gold

It’s been a tough few weeks here. Our expected departure date the the US has been pushed back and then back further and then further. Our sub-letters moved into our flat so we are living with two (of the many who offered) very kind friends. The boiler in our flat has broke so our poor sub-letters have been without hot water for a week. And a thousand and one “little things” seem to have been going wrong.

In the midst of it all I have tried to stay positive. It’s one of the attributes that is most important to me. I have this little phrase that I picked a few years ago that still defines what I’m aiming for, to “be positive. be brave”. Those are the highest of my ambitions at the moment for my daily life.

But, my word, is it hard to be positive when everything starts to get a little overwhelming and the week feels like it has lasted a month already. I’ve fought hundreds of battles with myself in my head this week, and lost a lot of them, allowed myself to feel frustrated, hopeless, depressed, angry.

The thing about difficult situations is that we often hope that we will walk through them with grace and patience, always aware of the lessons we are learning. But the reality is that hard situations often bring out the worst in me. Am I the only one this is true for? I complain, I whine, I get angry, I blame people, I’m mean, I sulk, I lose faith, I lose my grasp on the bigger picture.

On Tuesday this week I was listening to a video talk by Beth Moore with some girlfriends, and she talked about the process of refining gold, that as the furnace gets hotter, the deeper impurities rise to the surface, and can be lifted away by the refiner.

Isn’t it true that when the week is going well, we can do a pretty good job of looking like a good person? It’s only when the heat turns up a bit – that colleague tests our patience, the kids start misbehaving, friends are repeatedly late, it rains, our hard work goes unrecognised, we get that call we’d been dreading – do those deeper issues and weaknesses flare up again.

But I want to be a good person, not just by other people’s perceptions, but good when it really matters. And perhaps one of the only ways that can happen, is for me to go through situations that literally bring out the worst in me. This is what Beth Moore was saying on Tuesday, that the refiner uses those “hot” moments to draw out the deeper impurities, leaving us shinier, more perfect and of even higher value.

Today we got the ok for our visas to go to America for the summer. At the end of a long week when nothing seemed to be going right, something turned out really right. And I’m grateful for that, but I’m also grateful for the lessons I’m slowly learning through the failures, knowing that each moment in the fire makes me purer, better, if I just let the refiner do his job well.