Tuesday, May 27, 2014

When it is not well with your soul

Horatio Spafford 

In the 1870's, Horatio G. Spafford was a successful lawyer in the north side of Chicago. He had a wife named Anna, four daughters and a son. Later in 1870, his son passed away from Scarlet Fever. In 1871, he lost nearly all of his money when his real estate investments were burned in the Great Chicago Fire. In 1873, with Anna's health failing, she and her daughters set out for a trip to Europe when their ship collided with another and sank within 12 minutes, drowning their 4 daughters. Anna sent a telegraph to Horatio that said "Saved alone. What Shall I do." As Horatio sailed across the Atlantic to meet Anna, passing over the exact same spot where his four daughters had died, he penned these words:

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way, 
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say, 
It is well, it is well with my soul
I just want to escape to the sea in the middle of nowhere and be with my love

I've been thinking a lot about this story lately. How did these words even find their way from this man's pen? 

Sometimes it's not even well with my soul when I'm stuck in Atlanta traffic. Or when I can't find a parking spot at the gym during rush hour. Let alone life's bigger problems...you know, the ones that hanker at your soul. That never leave your mind. That keep you up at night.
Sometimes this is so hard and sometimes it's hard to be empathetic because you want to shake people and hope they wake up...but we don't know what kind of battle they fight when they're alone. The best we can do for each other is to love each other, have patience for each other, and be kind to each other.

What happens when your situation is not well with your soul?

I wrote that first part of the post awhile ago because....well, I didn't know what to do with that question. It just kind of sat there in my mind, and I wrestled with it. 

It was a little green bracelet that helped me finally answer this. 

I was sitting in our analytic's directors office last week with my boss and another head of the analytics department when an impromptu life conversation just happened. We are 99% business and always moving but, on occassion, we stop and are family. And at the end of this conversation, my boss asked how Laureano was doing. 

Laureano is on our analytics team and whenever he would see me in the hallways he would always say "Hey Lady!" with the biggest smile. Laureano was diagnosed with stage four lymphoma and is currently in his fourth round of chemo. In two months he will enter his sixth round which will essentially almost kill him. It will destroy all of his bone marrow and his immune system will be at 0% forcing him into sterile isolation. His daughter made these bracelets and brought them to the office; everyone on our team can be seen wearing them daily. 

And I realized then, during that conversation, that the answer...when it's not well with your soul...is to be thankful. Be thankful for the things that are well with your soul. Even if your troubles are as overwhelming as the ocean. Be thankful for the smallest things. 

I don't mean to sound superficial. Or make it sound like that is an easy thing to do some days because, I know, it is not. But on that day, it seemed to bring clarity to this question and this post that's been sitting there, gathering digital cobwebs for months now. 
Good morning!

Sorry for the heavy post today friends. Just wanted to share what's on my heart. 
Please pray for Laureano. 


P!nky said...

Oh friend, I'm so sorry for your coworker! Please tell him, random people are praying for him and for healing!!!!

I have a special connection to this song as it was the song that brought me back to my faith after my grandmother died. I was so incredibly angry [and still am] and was so mad at God. I went through the motions of church and prayer, but I had an ugly heart.

Then one day, while in Brazil doing mission work, this song came on and I just stopped what I was doing and listened. And realized, it is well. It still hurts and sucks, but it is well.

Thank you for sharing. <3 you!

Maggie said...

This post. That song is so moving and reminds me of what faith is and should be.

I will be praying for your coworker, his family and his doctor. God is a God of healing, and I pray He'll do just that.

Thank you for this question and for this reminder.

Rissy said...

that was beautiful, Ashley

I'm just really thankful that I read this today.

Let's go LG!

BLovedBoston said...

Oh girl you don't even know what this post did for me - I have tears streaming down my face for so many reasons...but mostly just because I am so thankful - the stupid stuff I complain about is NOTHING compared to what this man and his family are going through...and your and your co-workers. There is nothing in this world that is more terrible than to be in poor health - because all the money in the world will not give you great health!! That is my one thought daily - thank god I'm healthy...everything else is just a bonus!

Whitney said...

praying for you and your friend. Life has many many twists and turns, but the one thing that is always constant is God's love and protection over us. My mother went through 7 rounds of chemo for Acute Myeloid Leukemia in 2007 and they told us she only had 6 months to live, at best. After falling and shattering her femur, swelling on her brain causing internal seizures and temporary brain damage and everything in between, the Lord stepped up and healed her and all of us. He took care of her when we were not able to, like He always does. I pray that He does this for your coworker, too.

It is stories like this that encouraged me to register for the bone marrow donors list, so thank you for the reminder!!

jayme said...

praying for him and his family. i'm sorry to read this, but very glad i did because it's beautifully written. you're a blessing, ash. xo

Ericka said...

Saying a prayer for Laureano and his family. Such a difficult thing to go through, I can't even imagine. Thanks for sharing so that we can all send prayers and good thoughts his way!

The Pink Growl said...

Praying girl! What a fantastic idea about the bracelets though. I can relate to this struggle of what is really important vs. what isn't because of my mom's current battle with cancer. Somedays I admit, it's all too easy for me to get caught up in ME. But I needed to read this today. Love you so much friend! Thankful for your inspiration! XOXO

Katie said...

i love these kinds of posts because i love hearing other's hearts and the thoughts and things that they are going through because it's a reminder that life is hard and isn't always easy to be thankful. thank you for sharing. i love that song. praying for him and for you too.

Katie said...

oh man. That just makes my heart so sad. The cancer my aunt had was a form of Lymphoma.

It is beautiful though to see people come together to support someone and their fight.