No Easy Streets

Easy streets are situations in which problems, difficulties, and worries can be avoided. I am a living witness that there are no easy streets in this life. Yes, there may times of tremendous financial comfort and security, but lives free of worries, problems, and difficulties simply do not exist.

You cannot be too cute, too thin, too rich, or too educated to bypass the troubles in this world. You only have to visit a chemotherapy infusion center to learn that sickness is not partial to only the poor. Nurses will tell you that with those gowns on that supposedly fasten in the back, they cannot tell a rich backside from a poor backside. Sicknesses  are equal opportunity events.

Growing up seeing the devastation of poverty on people’s psyches and family relationships, I could be excused for believing that all I needed to find happiness and continuous joy was money. God was invisible and, therefore, you could not touch him or feel him touch you in times of crisis.

But money, for me, was tactile. This meant that I could smell money, hear money when I crinkled it, see money, feel money, and, taste money, if I was so inclined (I wasn’t). The older adults around me kept saying that when their “ship” came in, there would be no worries, sicknesses, heartbreaks, and short lives.

They would eat the best foods and drink the best liquors. Instead of Very Old Barton bourbon, they would drink Johnny Walker Red or Black, and instead of cheap beer, they would imbibe Lowenbrau Dark or Michelob. For them, these simple changes in life were evidence of having made it to easy street, so I dreamed of my ship coming in one day.

My ship came in 1974, when I was hired by the telephone company. I had been raising five children on $99 a month from welfare payments, and my house rent was $99 (which tells you it was a while ago!). I had some extra from my mother, but never enough to pay every bill. Then, I found myself earning $129 a week, and I thought I had hit the lottery!

Eventually, I had all the things that I craved as a child, such as a three-bedroom house, a car, the latest styles and every new technological toy on the market, and drinking Lowenbrau and Michelob beers. I seemed to be on easy street.

But an address on Easy Street does not result in no worries, problems, or difficulties. Instead, I found out the truth of John 16:33, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

This is a fragile world filled with fragile people, and what we breathe, eat, drink, and the activities that we participate in can hurt us, whether we are rich or poor. No amount of money can keep troubles completely away from the door.

I learned through cancer, domestic violence, poverty, and the loss of a beloved child that my faith has to be grounded in the One who has overcome the world, Jesus Christ my Savior. I cannot see him or touch him personally, but I have felt and seen His presence in the people He placed in my life to help me through the terrible times.

I see Him, smell Him, and hear him in the sounds, smells, and sights of nature, for Job 12:7-10 states, “Just ask the animals, and they will teach you. Ask the birds of the sky, and they will tell you. Speak to the earth, and it will instruct you. Let the fish in the sea speak to you. For they all know that my disaster has come from the hand of the Lord. For the life of every living thing is in his hand, and the breath of every human being.”

No east streets, but a great Savior who will stick closer than a brother. You just have to look around you to see Him. (See the buffalo we watched at Land Between the Lakes center in Kentucky a couple of weeks ago).

Written for August Writing Prompts from Putting My Feet in the Dirt



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