Marketta Gregory: Life interrupted
For months now I’ve been struggling with some disappointments in my life, some things that just haven’t turned out the way I had imagined them.
Instead of taking a mature, spiritual look at my situation I’ve assumed the role of martyr and resident crank. I’ve rolled around in self-pity. I’ve complained to God and to my poor husband.
And, in case you’re wondering, none of that was helpful except for talking to God, who seemed to prod me to pay closer attention to other people’s stories.
First, there was the story of Bethany Hamilton, who lost her arm at 13 in a shark attack. Unlike me, she apparently skipped much of the self-pity part and was back in the water surfing within a month. Now, she’s a professional surfer who talks about God’s love wherever she goes.
Then, there’s Priscilla Shirer who spends an entire book – “Life Interrupted” ($14.99, B&H Publishing Group) – explaining how we need to be less fanatical about our plans and more dedicated to following God, wherever he leads.
She weaves in the biblical story of the prophet Jonah who runs from God and spends time in the belly of a big fish. I had grown up thinking Jonah was pretty silly for sticking with his own plan and trying to avoid God. That is, until Shirer pointed out how much I’m like him.
So my disappointment, though real and deep, was starting to sting a little less by the time I heard about Ronald Cotton who spent more than a decade in prison for a crime he didn’t commit.
You see, Cotton not only got past the loss of 11 years of his life, he forgave the victim who mistook him for her assailant. The two — Cotton and Jennifer Thompson-Cannino – share their memoirs in “Picking Cotton” ($25.95, St. Martin’s Press) and they remind me that we all have a part in writing our own story.
We can include faithfulness and forgiveness. We can choose to be more flexible and, eventually, to move forward. I’m almost there.
Marketta Gregory is a former religion reporter who now shares her own journey of faith with readers. She lives in Rochester, N.Y., with her husband, their three young boys and one very vocal Pomeranian. To contact Gregory, email email@example.com or write to her at P.O. Box 12923, Rochester, NY 14612. You can also visit the Simply Faithful page on Facebook and follow her on Twitter (@MarkettaGregory).