I first started thinking about it when someone asked me how my weekend was. I said it was great. But looking back, there were moments when I was in tears. There were moments when I missed my husband who was not with me. Overall, however, it was a great weekend.
As I considered memorable events and occasions, I realised that most of them contained an element of sadness or stress or even pain.
The days when my children were born were some of the high points of my life. Yet without doubt there were moments of pain, fear, exhaustion and even irritability. Yet over all – absolutely awesome and momentous.
When I took a group of Girl Guides to an international camp in Canada, it started badly. Canadian Guiders had kindly agreed to share tents with us. My assistant and I were separated from each other and from our girls who were put under the care of Canadian Guiders. There were hundreds of dome tents pitched on a large field for the adults. The lady I was sharing with was not there when I arrived so I put my stuff in the tent and went off to do the things we needed to do. At about 9.30 we were finished and it was about time to think about bed. I couldn’t find the tent where I was supposed to be. I wandered round and round looking for landmarks. By now it was really late and almost everybody was already tucked up in bed and sleeping.. I can’t remember how I found the tent. I only remember sitting outside the ladies toilet crying.
That was not the only stressful event of the camp. Three people were killed on a light airplane trip and my assistant and I helped by taking charge of the Guides who had been in the care of one of them. Later during the camp a tornado hit and we all had to be evacuated to a local church hall. Arrangements were made with a local laundry to dry all the wet sleeping bags.
However, the girls remember the camp as a happy and exciting memory.
I can think of other occasions – the training weekend where I felt I just couldn’t cope with the task I was given but by the end of the weekend I had done it; – the Otter Trail where I was so sick and miserable and tired that I felt like giving up but didn’t. It seems to me that the most worthwhile things reflect a true balance of life. Life is not only about the silver linings, awesome though they may be. It is about the real stuff – the struggle, the pain, the disappointments. If we only had silver linings we would not recognise them. We need the clouds too. If you are in the middle of a dark cloud remember the words of King Solomon “This too will pass…” and God is with us even and perhaps especially, in the dark clouds.