The persistent sunshine pierced the darkness in our bedroom to announce the beautiful morning. Though our shades normally prevent such intrusions, the sun made its way in to invite us to embrace the new day. While my dear husband headed to the kitchen for his coffee, I raised the shades to admire the crisp November morning. I told myself, “Today, I will walk!” I try to walk at least three times each week, though my recent efforts have been sketchy at best. I do this because I enjoy walking and because I want to remain in shape enough to play with our grandchildren. Though our granddaughters do most of their playing upright these days, our little grandson’s tummy time requires my presence at floor level. In the interest of remaining somewhat limber, I ate a quick breakfast, grabbed my jacket and headed outdoors. I retraced my customary route through the neighborhood, past the post office and into the next subdivision. As I walked on, it occurred do me that less than fifty days remain in Year 2015. Where has the time has gone, Lord?
The past several months have brought change. Our younger son and his wife became parents in August when Little Daniel was born. Danny’s early arrival resulted in numerous trips to the hospital where we worried and waited until he was big enough to come home. In the meantime, our older son and his wife sent all of their daughters to school. Though the youngest is still in preschool, she now attends five days per week like her older sisters. Soccer, dance and religious ed are part of their family schedule as well. Fortunately, visits with Grandpa and Grandma are also included. On that peaceful mid-November day, I gave thanks that life for us has been joyful for the most part these days. At the same time, I admitted that I felt somewhat out-of-place in the peacefulness of it all. In the midst of that thought, a crisp breeze made its way up my sleeves and sent a chill down my spine. Are you trying to tell me something, Lord?
As I ambled further, I gazed at the bright blue sky. I acknowledged that this sky takes on a different hue when it reigns ominously over the troubled days which beset us all. I considered those who aren’t feeling very much at peace these days. A friend’s brother endures terminal illness. Another’s dad does the same. A husband battles medical complications which should never have taken root. A woman battles with less tangible, but equally painful demons. A new arrival in the Mideast adjusts to the sound of gunfire. A lonely friend continues to hope for love, though with less fervor these days. One of the working poor wonders how long her struggle with daily expenses will persist. A newlywed asks, “Is this all there is?” That chill took hold once again. Are you telling me something, Lord?
As I rounded the corner toward home, I remembered that scriptures waited to inspire and this reflection waited to be written. Still, I stopped to admire the blue sky once more. Generations had come and gone under that sky. More will do the same in the years and centuries to come. Joyful and sweet days will continue to punctuate human history, just as days of despair and sadness will leave their marks. As I considered the tough times in my own life and the lives of those I have been given to love, I realized that even in my sorrow I have been blessed. As I considered this, a strong breeze disrupted my neighbor’s neatly piled leaves. They swirled high in the air and then nestled on the sidewalk as though that was precisely where they were meant to be. The trying times in our lives swirl us high into the air as well. Like those leaves, we recover to live on. Like those leaves, we find ourselves precisely where we’re meant to be. I finally got it. You are telling me something, Lord!
When I sat at my keyboard to write, it occurred to me that this life often brings reason to fret, to question and to mourn. To add to our suffering, the difficulties which shake our world seem never to be well-timed. When we think we cannot bear the weight of another burden, something more occurs which threatens our collapse. It is within these moments that something –or is it Someone?– from within takes over. We find ourselves on autopilot, we persist and we endure. Jesus understood these difficulties well. It is no wonder that he couldn’t pass an outcast without offering his help. Jesus forgave sins, mended broken hearts and cured maladies of every sort. Jesus offered hope where there was none. The scriptures (Daniel 12:1-3, Hebrews 10:11-14, 18 and Mark 13:24-32) assure us that God offers the same hope to you and to me. God’s constant companionship and God’s promise of the things to come make this life more than doable. Lord, you make this life worth living!
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