It was as the children’s book by Judith Viorst says, “A Terrible, Horrible, no Good, Very Bad Day.” My correctional unit which typically only restrained a child three to five times a year had just finished disarming its fifth kid. After deescalating the grounded Axel, the attending physician ordered the staff to restrain the youth for his own safety. Exhausted, I sat down in the faded plastic chair that was the cinderblock room only furnishing. As I sat watched Alex, he broke the silence.
Straining against the gurney’s straps, the youth tosses out a few choice phrases and then triumphantly said, “I bet you wish you were me!”
Intrigued by the insanity of the question, I engaged the conversation and asked him “Why do you say that?”
He then provided a rather honest assessment of how all of the staff had suffered through the day.
“True,” I responded. “Today, has been a really bad day. But here is what you don’t understand. This is your life. It is not mine. I’m going home at 5 PM.”
We don’t have to be a ward of the state or named Alexander or to have a “terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.” We simply have to live. Every day, most of us wrestle with sleep deprivation, sickness, busy schedules, relationship struggles, bad work environments or unruly children. We also wonder if we’ve ruined or our kids by being too attached to our schedules or if we warped them by being too relaxed. And then we move from the hypothetical sorrows to the real grief when we learn that a loved one has died. At times, the life is terrible.
But regardless of how many terrible, horrible, no good, very bad days we have had, we are going home! This is why as Christian, we can continue to love our children when they wake up at 3:00 AM. This is why we can still care our children when they abandon the church and say hateful things. And this is why we can get up the morning after we bury a loved one.
If we have embraced Christ, we have a home laid up for us in heaven (Col 1:5). We have a promise of hope and joy that surpasses all earthly suffering. When we cling to this hope, we can look at our bad days and say with Paul, “I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us”(Rom. 8:18). Until then, we can love both the loveable and unlovable because we have been loved by our heavenly father who promises us eternity. He will get us through the day. If you are having a very terrible horrible, no good, very bad day, remember, “You are going home!” Five o’clock is coming!