Trust God and Be Happy

As if we didn’t already have enough reasons to trust God with our lives, could it also turn out that trusting in God will bring us happiness?

Yes, that is exactly the case. Our heavenly Father wants us to rely completely on him, so much so that He makes it that if we do trust him completely, our lives will be better for it. 

Take a look at Proverbs 16:20b in the ESV (English Standard Version):

Blessed is he who trusts in the Lord.

The word that is translated “blessed” in this verse can also be translated as “happy.” Some translations, including the CSB (Christian Standard Bible) actually render the verse that way. 

God is telling us that we will be happier and more joyful if we’ll just trust in Him and His guidance. Whenever our eyes stray away from God and onto our own way of thinking, we’ll get into trouble. It’s far better to trust in the Lord for everything, plus doing so will bring more joy into our lives.

In Psalm 34:8, we’re told:

Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!

Once again, the word translated as “blessed” can also mean “happy.” Go ahead and take refuge in the Lord. Make Him your mighty fortress when the challenges of life come your way, because they surely will. 

In fact, we should make it a priority to rejoice in our trials, as we’re commanded in James 1:2-3:

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.

Let’s get to the point where we welcome struggles and challenges every day because we know they’ll increase our faith in God.

I, for one, will admit that this area has been a huge problem for me. When something goes wrong, often my first inclination is to blame God, and even get mad at Him for it.

After all, I’m a “good Christian,” right? I shouldn’t have to deal with a broken-down car or plumbing problems at 2 a.m., should I?

God never promises that following Jesus would eliminate all our problems and frustrations. What He does promise is that if we’ll take refuge in Him when faced with challenges, that we can have joy and that our faith will grow.

Furthermore, we can thrive during rough times. Just read Jeremiah 17:7-8:

Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream…and is not anxious in the year of drought.

Trusting in God wholeheartedly not only can bring us happiness and joy, it is also a potent antidote for anxiety. And in these trying times of global pandemic, chaos, and political upheaval, it doesn’t get much better than that. 

God wants and longs for what’s best for you. Take Him at His word—begin a new pattern of trusting Him with the entirety of your life, even the smallest of details. 

When you turn everything over to Him, He’ll shoulder the burden (1 Peter 5:7) and you can rest in the joy of the Lord.

Trust in God No Matter What

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.

Proverbs 3:5

What does it mean to trust in the Lord with all your heart? And to not rely on your own understanding?

These are deep words for certain. I believe we need to go beyond just a surface explanation of what it means to trust in God, as the verse includes the words, “with all your heart.”

That means we are to trust, rely on, depend on, and put all our weight on God. With every fiber of our being. No matter what we’re doing, we’re called to trust in Him.

That’s hard to do because we’re human. As mere humans, we tend to focus on what our senses reveal to us. We look at what we can see, hear, and touch.

Relying on God requires more than that. It’s a deep dependence of surviving on God and Him alone.

It’s knowing that God is our provider for everything that we need to sustain us. He wants us to rely on Him—that’s why He tells us to do just that.

If we obey God, adopting and maintaining the mindset that everything comes from Him, we can take it a step further and comfortably give Him all our cares and worries—which He commands us to do: “Casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7).

However, if we don’t first accept the fact that everything in our lives comes from Him, there’s no way we can ever hand over our cares to Him.

Just as God wants us to lean into Him and rely on Him, He also wants us to be free from the worry and anxiety that everyday life can produce. Philippians 4:6a tells us, “Do not be anxious about anything.”

These are fantastic, life-changing words! God literally commands us to live a worry-free life!

He doesn’t want us weighed down by our circumstances, but rather, He wants us to rely on Him, lean into Him, and give Him any burdens we’ve been carrying.

This is the freedom that so many of us desperately need each day. I know I do. Just the thought that God wants my mind to rest free and easy gives me hope that I don’t have to worry and fret about finances, my career, my relationships, and a host of other things.

And it should give you hope, too.

The Safety We Long For

For this post, I went here to get a random word (which turned out to be “safety,” then made it the focus of the post.

I’d say that safety, or at least the feeling of safety, is something that nearly everyone craves at one time or another. 

As a little kid, if you have reasonably good parents, then you can feel confident in the fact that they’re going to take care of you and help you feel safe. You know that you can always find a loving arm and security just by running to one of your parents. That’s the idea anyway. Far too many children don’t have that kind of security in their lives, that’s for sure. I think that’s something as adults we certainly miss. 

I know I do. I long to have a parental figure that I can lean on and seek refuge in. It’s lonely being an adult and having to face any number of problems every day. Knowing that you’re the last line of defense against all the bills, laundry, dirty dishes, car repairs, skinned knees, emotional trauma, and everything else can be overwhelming. Where is my safety net?, I’ve regularly asked myself over the years. 

Once you become an adult and have to take care of yourself, your parents don’t play nearly as big a role as they once did. How often I’ve longed to be a kid again. Ironically, when I was a kid, I longed to be an adult so I could make my own decisions, come and go as I pleased, and do what I wanted to. 

How nice it would be to be 13 or so again – old enough to take care of yourself in many respects, yet young enough to still fit under your parents’ wings when hard times come knocking. Alas, life doesn’t work that way unfortunately. It would be nice if it did (or at least it seems like it would be nice).

I can console myself with the fact that God designed the human existence the way He did for a reason. I don’t know why things are the way they are. I don’t know why I can’t snap my fingers and be a teenager again. It seems like a good idea to me. 

However, I guess God thinks otherwise, since we can’t do that. I have to keep telling myself that He knows best so I don’t go crazy trying to figure out all the questions about life I have that really don’t have any answers. If He wanted me or anyone else to know these answers, we’d have them. All we can do is just keep forging ahead through life, trusting Him and trying to do our best each day. 

If we think too hard about some of these things, we’ll just end up frustrated and angry, a state I’ve found myself in all too many times. It’s not a good place to be, and it’s not how we should feel toward our Heavenly Father who only wants the best for us. His plan is the best, even though we may not always understand it, and our job is simply to go along with it. 

Still, though, that often doesn’t make things any easier when we’re in the thick of a personal crisis. We long for the safety and security that our 5-year-old selves had so many years ago. We want those big strong arms wrapped around us, comforting us and telling us everything will be OK. 

I haven’t figured out how to make that happen as an adult. All I can do is keep trusting in my Father, and remember that He is ultimately in control of everything.

Trust God No Matter What

We all have times in our lives when our faith falters and we begin to doubt God.

We wonder if He’ll be true to His word and follow through with His promises to bless, help, and protect us. It’s natural to find ourselves doubting from time to time because, after all, we’re only human and far from perfect. 

What is the best way to get back on track to the point where we’re relying on God again? No doubt you’ve been in tough situations in your life before—whether it was with money, relationships, your career, your health, or something else. 

Did you pray to God and ask Him for help during these times? Most likely you did. What was the outcome?

Maybe He didn’t answer your prayers in just the way you thought He should; however, He brought you through those trying times in the way that was best for you in the long run (Rom. 8:28).

So, if you’re currently faced with a seemingly insurmountable challenge in your life, the key is to think back on those other tough times and remember how God brought you through them. 

No matter how those other challenges turned out in the physical realm, God was with you every step of the way. He never left your side because He wants what’s best for you and is always working things out on your behalf. 

You are who you are today because of the challenges and circumstances you’ve had to endure in your life up to this point. 

The situation you’re in right now will be just one more example of how God uses our daily lives with all its challenges and trials to mold us into the people He wants us to be. 

But we have to trust Him. When things seem their darkest, recall all the good things He has given you in your life. Spend a few minutes just meditating on ways He has blessed you. 

It could be that He has given you a wonderful and loving family, an enjoyable job you look forward to each day, financial blessings such as an unexpected windfall, or just the ability to take joy in the midst of chronic physical pain each day.

God loves you and wants you to lean on Him. Do it. Trust Him with everything in your life—your time, money, energy, and resources. He WILL come through for you. 

However, don’t expect His help and blessings to look like you think they should, because they often won’t. He’ll work out your situation in His own time frame and in His own way. But you’ll come out on the other side better for it.

Make the Bible’s Words Your Prayers

Sometimes when we’re so down we just don’t know what to pray or how to pray to God. It seems like our prayers are going nowhere.

These are times when you can refer to the word of God for your prayers. If we’re weak in strength (emotionally and/or physically), all we have to do is pray words that have already been spoken before.

What this means is that we can use the God’s words from the Bible as our own prayers. We can find words that His people spoke to Him long ago and make them our own.

Rather than strictly coming to God with a list of concerns and cares, we can use these words as a guide to focus our prayers. Using them can transform our words into strong petitions that accurately reflect who God is and who we are in relation to Him.

Jeremiah 33:3 says,

“Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.”

Call out to God. Tell Him of your weakness. Tell Him you want to serve Him but you feel unequipped to do so. Trust Him to speak to you. It might not be right away, as sometimes we must wait on God to hear His voice clearly. But never stop trusting Him that He loves you and wants you to hear Him.

Praise God and thank Him that you can trust Him just as Proverbs 3:5-6 tells us,

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”

You might pray something like, “Thank you, Father, that I can trust you with all my heart and that as I acknowledge you in every area of my life, you are making a straight path for me.”

It might be that trouble with your job or professional life has left you physically drained. Perhaps your finances are in disarray and you’re barely able to make ends meet.

In 1 Chronicles 4:10 we find this prayer from Jabez:

“Oh that you would bless me and enlarge my border, and that your hand might be with me, and that you would keep me from harm so that it might not bring me pain!”

We learn in the next verse that God granted Jabez’s request. That’s not to say that God will give you whatever you ask for or that if He does, that it will be in the timeframe you want. God works in His own time and for His own divine purposes.

However, by speaking this prayer to God, you’re letting God know that you have needs (He already knows them anyway) and you’re inviting Him to be the One who works everything out. You’re recognizing that you can’t do it on your own.

Psalm 34:4-7 is a wonderful passage if you’re just feeling generally afraid and anxious:

“I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed. This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him and saved him out of all his troubles. The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and delivers them.”

Here we find David’s testimony that God helped him in his time of need. Just as He did for David, God will deliver you from your fears. He will save you out of your troubles.

Once again, it may not be in exactly the way you think He should. It may not be when you think it should be. But he is faithful. He’ll save you just like he did David.

Make these words your prayer. Personalize them. Thank God for His help. Praise Him for being faithful and for saving you as He did David.

Philippians 4:6-7 is another great passage for helping us through anxiety and worry. It tells us,

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Pray to the Lord and thank Him that you have nothing to be anxious about. Praise Him for His peace in Jesus that is guarding your heart (emotions) and your mind (logical thought processes).

God loves us and is always there for us. Nothing we can ever do will change that.

“For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him” (Ps. 103:11).

Use the examples that He gave us in His word to personalize your prayers and make them powerful, God-trusting, God-praising prayers. Fortify them with God’s words and see if He doesn’t help you in your time of need.

God is in Your Nose

Do you know what nasal turbinates are? Like me, you’ve probably never heard of them unless you work in the medical field.

However, these structures in your nasal passages play big roles. According to, turbinates are “shell-shaped networks of bones, vessels, and tissue within the nasal passageways. These structures are responsible for warming, humidifying, and filtering the air we breathe.”


The turbinates’ action is actually fairly complex. Among other duties, they help us smell, drain our sinuses, determine our voice tone, and regulate the nasal cycle—which involves opening and shrinking the nasal passages every one to seven hours (for exact reasons that aren’t yet fully understood).

That covers a lot of territory. So, if it weren’t for your nasal turbinates, when you take an early morning jog on a brisk January morning, the chill air you breathe in would go straight to your lungs without being filtered or warmed at all. Your lungs wouldn’t like that and neither would you.

Thinking about all this makes me wonder…Wouldn’t it be a whole lot simpler if we didn’t have to rely on turbinates? I mean, why didn’t God—in His infinite wisdom—design our bodies without such a complex setup for air filtering and regulation? He has the capacity to do so, right?

I don’t know the answer this question, and I suspect you don’t either. However, I believe we can learn something about the nature of God from this discussion.

Yes, God can do whatever He wants. What He obviously wanted when He designed the human body with all of its intricacy was for it NOT to be a simple system. He chose for our bodies to depend on nasal turbinates, as well as a heart and an even more complex brain and nervous system.

What this means to me is that, when it comes to other aspects of our lives—our relationships, our careers, our other personal challenges—we shouldn’t expect quick and easy results.

Lasting change takes time. It almost never comes through a miracle and almost always comes through natural processes. I believe this is one of the things He was trying to teach us when he designed the human body.

That’s the way God works. He created us as complex human beings with wonderful, intricate bodies. The same is true in the rest of the natural, created world.

aaron-burden-361231-unsplashLook around at the trees of the forest, the myriad sea creatures, all the species of insects and other animals—all in rich and diverse ecosystems that maintain delicate balances.

That doesn’t mean God isn’t involved in the day-to-day. He knows all and is in charge of all:

“Aren’t two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them falls to the ground without your Father’s consent. But even the hairs of your head have all been counted” (Matt. 10:29-30).

There is nothing that happens on this earth that he doesn’t bypass His authority. We might not always like what happens to us, but we can rest assured that God is in ultimate control of everything.

I’ve learned that I often won’t understand the reasons why my life takes a certain course. I may not like that I have to trudge through mud and snow and gunk to get to the other side because I’d rather that God just pick me up and place me where He wants me. I know He has the power to do that and it’s frustrating to think He won’t do it.

But that’s where faith comes in. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths” (Prov. 3:5-6).

In the end, that’s all we can do.

The Lasting Way to Deal With Life’s Difficulties

Maybe you’re like me and really dislike dealing with the many struggles of everyday life.

No matter how tired I become of them, these struggles continue relentlessly, however.

I wish life were simpler and easier to take. So many mornings I force myself to get out of bed, only to realize I have to face another day of drudgery. I stumble into the shower to freshen up, hopeful I can get energized enough to face the day. Surely there’s more to life than this, isn’t there?

You’ve probably been there yourself. Just wondered why you’re here on this earth and what the meaning of it all is.

I’ve felt stuck, trapped, useless, like there’s no point in going on. I gotten mad at life and mad at God for putting me here on this earth with no real purpose in doing so. Or maybe I do have a purpose — just to suffer until one day I don’t wake up or until Jesus comes back.

Not a very pretty picture, is it? Have you ever felt this way? Maybe 100 times? 1000 times?

So, what’s the answer?

There are many approaches you could take if you’re at this kind of place in your life — philosophical, practical, positive, negative, Christian, atheistic.

The best way I could advise anyone (myself included) on how to deal with these sometimes overwhelming thoughts is simply to trust.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding (Prov. 3:5).

Trust that there’s a God. That He’s big and He loves you. That He’s got your back and He wants the best for you.

As far as I can tell, this is really all we’ve got. There’s nothing else much certain in this world (except death and taxes as they say).

I’ve returned to the above verse countless times in my adult life. Sometimes I completely forget about it. At other times I recall it to mind, but I quickly dismiss it.

At those times I think, If God were really trustworthy and really cared about me, I wouldn’t be in this situation in the first place.  

Deep down I think these kinds of thoughts originate from the dark side, planted there to keep me from completely trusting God, from giving myself fully to Him and His will.

In these times I have tough choices to make. Do I listen to the Holy Spirit whispering truth in my ear? Or do I let my flesh take over, allowing myself to wallow in self-pity and even self-loathing.

I’ve learned over the years that this critical point is where everything can turn — either for good or for bad.

Trust God and feel better. Or give in to doubt, fear, and uncertainty. My rebellious nature loves to just say, Forget it. I’m not trying any longer.


But that doesn’t get me anywhere, especially not in the long run. The result is what much of my life has looked like — a very long cycle of earnestly drawing close to God, then bouncing away from him in rebellion, very similar to how the like poles of two magnets repel each other when they get close.

The point of all this? Only to say that as I’ve matured into a full-blown middle-aged adult, I’m finally coming to some realization that it’s time to stop all that sort of nonsense and just embrace God. Every day. All the time. On good days and bad. When things are going how I want them to, and especially when they’re not.  

I have to make the choice to trust God and His goodness — over and over, day after day.

Fitness professional Gail Pyne hits the nail on the head,

Whenever I have made a substantive lasting change to my life, it has always been due to a decision that I have made, not because someone told me to do something differently. The choice to change (and it IS a choice) must come from within.

Have I arrived? Certainly not. Will I keep trying, even when I want to quit? I hope so.

Do you have thoughts or reactions you’d like to share?



Photo by Olga DeLawrence on Unsplash

An Answer to The Lazy River

Wow.  There is so much hurt in that piece.  So much pain shows through.  I must have really been hurting when I wrote that.  But it was the truth – that is how I felt at that time, as well as many times before that and many times after.  It is hard to know how to formulate an answer to that diatribe.  It is all so raw and heartfelt.  If I were reading it and knew that someone else had written it (instead of me), I wouldn’t want to jump in on top of him quoting Bible verses and telling him how he’s wrong.  That wouldn’t do any good at all, but would most likely alienate him more, driving him further away from God.

I guess one of the first things I’ll say in response is that God has been gracious in allowing me to see a different way to look at life and life events over the last few months.  Don’t get me wrong – it’s not that I’ve got everything all figured out by any means.  But I have been blessed to read books, listen to audio, and take part in exercises that are designed to give one a more proactive, healthier approach to dealing with life.  I’ve still got a very long way to go, but just learning about these methods and beginning to use them to a degree has already made a noticeable impact on my thought patterns.

Life may still seem like a lazy river full of people from all different walks of life, but I would say that now I view the scene much differently.  If asked to describe the lazy river experience now, I would say first of all that there’s much I don’t know and don’t understand about the “ride”.  I don’t fully understand why we’re all on the ride, other than that God created us and started us all at the beginning of the ride.  For many different reasons (reasons that have taken up books and books of explanation), we don’t all begin with the same equipment, and along the way our experience may change dramatically, either for better or for worse.

For example, at the beginning of the ride we may be floating merrily along on a fine inner-tube, only to have it punctured by a low-hanging limb or other unforeseen object, leaving us drifting in the water.  On the other hand, we may find an orphaned pair of sunglasses lying on the edge of the water and, stretching with all our might, manage to snag them as we pass by.  Now we have protection from the sun for our weary eyes.  Are these all happenstance events?  I believe ‘no’ is the correct answer, as God orchestrates everything in our lives according to His will.  We will never understand it all while we’re alive on this earth, and maybe we won’t even understand once those of us who have chosen Christ reach Heaven, but it is truth to say that God’s plan includes us, and in the end all works out for the best to those who have placed their trust in Him.

Yes, I know this all sounds very high and mighty, and I struggle with this truth often – very, very often.  But somewhere deep down inside I know that this IS truth and that if I hold fast to it, I will be OK.  Quite often the flesh part of my nature is not satisfied with trusting in God, and instead wants to rebel and whine about why something is the way it is when it doesn’t make sense that way.

But in the end I must simply trust God.  What other choice do I have, or anybody else for that matter?  We are here, like it or not, and I believe it is in our best interest to align ourselves with the Creator of all this that we see.  But it goes beyond merely aligning ourselves with God.  We are commanded to worship Him, giving Him the honor He deserves.  We are His created beings, designed and built to worship and serve.  Now, I will be the first to tell you that these ideas often do not sit well with me.  God knows this, so it’s no surprise to Him.   For a good part of my life I have felt that I was entitled to do my own thing.  So that’s what I have done, for the most part.  Oh, I’ve tried to include God along the way, hoping that His plans would fit in with mine.  Sometimes they have, but it seems like more often than not I am on my own, wondering what ended up happening, and wondering why God did not give me clear direction.  Obviously, this is no way to live.  Unfortunately, this has pretty much been my story since my late teen years.

This is why I say that we really have no choice but to try it God’s way.  He tells us over and over in the Bible to trust Him.  Proverbs 3:5-6 is one of my life verses.  It’s the one I go back to time and time again when I finally realize that I don’t have all the answers and that maybe there is a better way.  “Ooooh yeaaaaaah – trust God.  I had forgotten all about that. Let’s give it a try.”

I can’t say that every situation has always worked out the way I wanted it to or thought that it would, but somehow everything has always worked out.  Most of the times the terrible outcomes that I’ve built up so much in my mind never come to pass.  It seems that it’s not so much that there’s increasing suspense, with a grand moment waiting to find out the outcome of a situation.  It’s more like the whole thing evolves into something different, so much that the original fear and anxiety melt away as the situation becomes something else altogether.  This is simply my casual observation, and may not hold true for others.

Back to the lazy river analogy.  As I’m floating along, I simply must trust God that He knows what He’s doing.  I believe it is to my advantage to praise Him and thank Him throughout the ride.  By acknowledging His workmanship in the beautiful clouds overhead, or the birds chirping in the trees along the bank, not only am I give Him honor and praise, I’m also helping myself by keeping my thoughts focused on the positive things in life, instead of the negative.  It is no coincidence that this action agrees with Paul’s commands in Philippians 4:8 to do just that.

No only is it disobedience to God in the form of envy, it will do me no good to look around at the other riders and compare my circumstances with theirs.  No matter if they appear better off, or worse, I will have more joy and worship God more fully by showing my gratitude for what I have, trusting God all the while.

At the end of the lazy river ride, however, is when the fun really begins – at least for those of us who have made Jesus our Lord and call ourselves Christ-followers.  We will all have to wait patiently and endure until that day..

The Lazy River

Below is a piece I wrote a few months back, when I was in a much different place spiritually and emotionally.  I’m posting it here now because when I recently went back and reread it, I was stunned by the raw emotion within it.  I have edited it only slightly for content, so please forgive the grammar.  I have written a response to this piece, which follows this post.


I want to believe and trust in you Lord.  I want so badly for this to be the norm to be who I am just like it was years and years ago – back when it was easy to trust you and I didn’t question everything.  I just took your word as it came, realized and accepted that the promises were for me and carried on with life, trusting you for things. Oh, it wasn’t always that easy and simple – by no means was it that way.  But at several points in my life it WAS that way, I did trust you and feel one with you, believing that you had my best interests at heart, believing that you loved me and cared for me.  I guess deep down I still believe those things – that you want only the best for me.  However, it’s so easy now to doubt all that.  I’ve been through so many trials, so much heartache, so much pain and numbing depression for so long that I can’t help but doubt, can’t help but wonder what the reason is for all this.  I wonder what purpose you could possibly have in mind for all this.  I wonder why you don’t make it all go away.  I believe that you have the power to make it disappear once and for all.  You have the power to enable me to enjoy life, to begin each day knowing that there’s a reason, a purpose that I got out of bed, that it’s not just another random day in my boring, monotonous life.  I believe that you can do all this, so why don’t you?  Why don’t you allow me some happiness like I used to have in my life?  Why did I have to peak at 13, 14, 15?  I’m now 42 – that’s a long time to struggle and be unhappy.  Yes, I’ve had a few good times, but they have been few and far between.  And lately they’ve been very few with a lot of in between.  I remember Daddy sitting on the carport almost every night after work, after a swig or two of whiskey.  He’d drink coffee and smoke, just staring off into the distance toward the end of the lot.  What was he thinking about all these years, when he was 50 or 60 years old? – after I’d already come onto the scene.  Was he pondering his failures in life?  Was he wishing that he’d never contracted TB and had to leave the city, bitter that he was living out his life in a podunk little town?  Probably he thought about all these things and many more which I’ll never know about, never coming close to thinking about.  What deep, dark secrets had he packed away in his head?  The bigger question is this: will I be doing this same thing for the rest of my life?  Will I sit and stare and ponder and regret and wish and hope – not dreaming, because those days are long past.  It is too late for dreams now.  They are things for youth, those who have energy and zest for life, those who have not been weighed down by heartache and pain and disappointment and depression for decades.  For years now I have sat outside, mostly in the evenings, pondering, regretting, mournful about the past, bitter about the future, feeling stuck in a drab, joyless existence for the rest of my days – feeling powerless to change anything in my life, resigned to accept what I’ve got and drift along with the current through the rest of the lazy river of life, until I reach the end and have to turn in my innertube.  It’s not been a fun ride.  I thought these things (life) were supposed to be pleasant, relaxing, enjoyable.  I look around and see others taking pleasure in their ride.  They’re laughing with family and friends, enjoying a cool drink along the way, kicked back on their innertube, sunglasses and sunscreen on to protect them from too much of a good thing.  Then I look at myself — I have none of those things.  Yes I have a family to enjoy (which I do), but no cool drink, no sunglasses, no sunscreen.  I’m squinting from the glare all the way around the path.  And I’m not even on the innertube, just holding on with one arm while in the water, shoulders getting more and more sunburned.  Yes, there are others I notice who don’t even have an innertube.  They’re dog paddling, trying to stay afloat and conserve their energy at the same time, hoping not to get a cramp before they reach the end.  Looking at their plight does, in a way, make me thankful for my innertube to hang on to, thankful for my family to talk to.  But, it also causes me to question the ride, the whole experience.  Why do these people have so little, when others have so much?  Why is that elderly man so miserable on his journey, fighting to keep his head above water with nothing to grasp on to, when just a few feet away a 20-something sips his lemonade, holds hands with his young wife, and playfully dangles his feet in the same water which threatens to overtake the old man?  Why was he not given an innertube as well?  It doesn’t seem fair.  Oh, I know – nobody ever said life was fair.  But what about the fact that none of us even asked to get on this ride?  We didn’t sign up for it, not me, not the old man, not the 20-something.  We all just somehow found ourselves here, only in vastly different circumstances.  We didn’t ask to get on the ride, and we can’t get off the ride (oh, there’s a way, but it’s not desirable).  The old guy can question aloud why he didn’t get an innertube, but nobody has acknowledged him yet, much less given him any relief.  I’d like to have some sunglasses, even a cheap dollar store pair, but so far nothing.  I squint while another smiles with ease.