Parallel; extending in the same direction, everywhere equidistant, and not meeting.  I hold to a life of parallel lines whole heartedly.  By that I mean, I can on one hand have some very difficult issue, situation, heartache, illness, confounding and overwhelming circumstance and, in my life at the same time have another line of good running rich and deep.  I came to know of parallel lines many years ago from personal experience of living with struggle day after day, year after year.  If I were to be able to find joy in living in spite of situations, disappointments, actual heartbreak there had to be a way to know that heavy struggle could be in my life, but that I could have another part of my life, another parallel line, of God's goodness and joy found through a myriad of sources.  It took me a few years of struggle to come to understand life is not peaks and valleys, peaks and valleys, peaks and valleys.  There are both, together, running clearly through our lives at the same time.  It's a strange relationship really.  You make friends of your enemies and bring the good things along on the tracks.  When I finally understood that God's presence could both minister to my rough and tragic line and at the same time God's joy could rest on my other track in life, I began to see how sorrow and joy can co-exist and actually make joy sweeter.  The other thing I learned was that peak and valley living is an emotional rollercoaster ride - thrilled and living high for seasons, and crashing and struggling - calling out to God to be rescued the next.  What I came to know of God was that he resides in all things, at all times, both through heartache - to bring me closer to Him, and through blessings - to make me see the giver of the gifts of goodness.  Whenever I sit at a railroad crossing waiting for a train my mind thinks of my life and God.  I think the fact that there is a resemblance in parallel lines is exactly what God shows me.  Both of those lines take me somewhere.  God is taking me somewhere through pain and struggle, and taking me somewhere through blessings and joy.  My sister highlighted that fact tonight on the phone.  How through events in her life over the past week she has felt much pain and struggle, but conversely has felt great presence of God and comfort.  That's why I love the book of Psalms.  The writer can at one moment lament, struggle, ask God where He is in the heartache, but also in the next verse speak of the goodness and presence of God and what he knows to be true.   He seemed to understand parallel lines way of living.  I told my sister over the weekend, "Hold onto what you know, not what you fear."  That is parallel line living.  It's a way of life for me.

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