This post is my open letter:
To the guy who saw this post on Facebook but chose not to like or comment, preferring to remain anonymous.
To the guy who is curious why I am still blogging and how I still feel like life is worth living.
To the guy who has been uncomfortable to talk to me because he doesn’t know what to make of me: immobile, living with my parents, and not exactly on the same life trajectory as most guys our age.
To the guys who have shed tears in my room, shaking their heads, distraught, as if I was terminally ill.
Anonymous guy in his 20s, I’m talking to you.
There’s something I want you to know.
Really. I’m okay.
From what a few guys have shared with me, I know many are wondering, “Why does Ryan seem to have joy? Why does Ryan still put in the effort to get out of bed in the morning? What does Ryan even have to live for?”
You want me to be honest? For a period, I envied you moving on into the life I had planned out for myself. There was a time I felt resentment and bewilderment over what made you more deserving of moving on with life than me. Then a phase of spiritual pride set in, leading me to think that by missing out on all of that and enduring hardship I was somehow more holy or special than you.
All three stances were downright wrong.
Thankfully, I soon realized the void that existed. The void that cannot be filled with the path to success or even fully functioning arms and legs.
Jesus tells a story about a man who finds a treasure hidden in a field. When he finds it, he hides it again, and then excitedly returns home to sell everything he has and purchase the field. No one else seems to realize what this guy sees in this field. But the man is willing to give up everything to encounter the treasure within.
I often feel like that man when I see the look of gloom and doom emanating from a fellow man’s face as he ponders my circumstances.
I just want to emphatically declare how rewarding the things I’ve gotten to experience have been. I wish you could know what I was feeling. I wish you could feel the deep humbling satisfaction I get when I think about the small role I’ve been given in God’s redemptive plan.
Not being on the same life trajectory as other guys my age may seem disappointing on the surface. However, a padded bank account, a brand-new car, and that ripped CrossFit body are not going to last in the long run. They’re not going to be there to save you when you get that phone call diagnosis or your heart ripped out or your dream shattered.
On Thanksgiving Day 2009, 35-year-old Matt Chandler collapsed to the ground with a tremendous seizure. On Monday it was revealed that he would need a tumor carved out of his brain by the end of the week. With no chance to reach his church before the following Sunday, he recorded this quick YouTube video to update those he loved in the midst of the most tension filled week of his life:
I want my attitude to be like that.
I can learn much from this example of trusting God in difficult circumstances and realizing he is enough.
Jesus is enough, and I’m saying that now.
Five years without the physical miraculous breakthrough I’ve been waiting for.
No medical cure on the horizon while battling constant discomfort and sleepless nights.
Not only is he enough, but if this is what it takes for my eyes to be opened and to profoundly encounter the person of Jesus as a result, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
So you guys don’t have to feel sorry for me. You’re off the hook for feeling like you need to walk on eggshells around me. In the midst of the most difficult season of my life, I have found true joy, hope, and fulfillment in a place I may never have looked otherwise.
If that sounds crazy to you, I urge you to contemplate what your hope is in.
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