So there’s this country song by Darryl Worley called “Awful Beautiful Life” and while I can’t say that the song itself is one of my favorites, these days I often find myself singing the one line of it; “I love this crazy, tragic, sometimes almost magic, awful, beautiful life…” I think that sums things up pretty well most days. I truly am in love with this life that is often unpredictable, not always pleasant, but deeply real and rewarding.
Throughout my ministry I am blessed with the opportunity to meet people at all different places on their life’s journeys. Some have lived rich and full and blessed lives and are wrestling with what it looks like to slow down as they move into the last years of their lives. Others are struggling to figure out what they want to do with their lives: where should they work, should they go to school, etc. Then there are those that are in crisis mode without a place to live, not sure where their next meal is coming from, or how they will stay warm on these cold fall nights. Some of those individuals are fighting demons of addiction and mental illness that add to their struggles.
We celebrate little and big victories here, and we mourn little and big losses. We laugh with the ridiculously absurd, sometimes even when it’s not funny, because sometimes the only options feel like laughter or tears. We love when people come by to say they got a job or found a place to live. We embrace when we find out that so and so’s battle with cancer is over, a mixture of relief and grief.
I can’t even say there are good days and bad ones, it feels more like moments of highs and lows. There rarely comes a day when sorrow strikes that there is not also a glimmer of hope and joy through some other experience. Also, there is rarely a day, where I am not reminded that there is pain and evil in the world. The truth of it is, I appreciate the mixed bag that is life. Life is messy, and I often get to experience that messiness in an active participant sort of way, or at the very least with a front row vantage point. Here’s why I appreciate the crazy and the tragic, alongside the awful and the beautiful. It’s all part of the reality that we all live in. It is only when we can live in the space where all of this can coexist that we can truly walk with God’s people where they are, and to be able to do so is an amazing blessing!
So this year I will say I am grateful for this crazy, tragic, sometimes, almost magic, awful beautiful life!
Rev. Mandy Mastros, LSW