Saturday, May 16, 2020

Give Us This Day

We are morning people. Actually, being greeters of the sunrise, we are better described as ‘early morning’ people. Because the back deck of our old boat faces due east, on the weekends, for the past 4-1/2 years, we can be found sitting with our coffee and watching miracles happen. 

I have been inspired, by this ancient spectacle, free for the watching, no subscription required, to compose haikus, to write blogs, to paint, to ponder life’s conundrums and … pray. I’ve experienced the transforming of the seasons noted by the track of the sun from summer solstice to winter solstice, the habits of wildlife, the ever changing and yet predictably similar outcomes. All orchestrated by Divine Design, without a hint of need for human intervention.

Sometimes, when the sky is completely cloudless, morning happens without much drama. The horizon begins to glow and remains the same steady flush of color as the sun makes its appearance. But then, other times, when the sky is crowded with clouds, something unusual happens. Depending on the volume, if it’s not a complete low-hanging gray blanket, the pre-emergent sun sends out rays of light that are then refracted into splashes, lines and billows of brilliant color. Random hues of gold, purple, orange, and pink spread out over the horizon with the Master’s touch. 

Sometimes it is so profound I find myself, jaw dropped, holding my breath in amazement. 

It goes without saying this never gets old - watching the art of sunrise crafted above the water that so willingly mirrors the performance. I usually grab my phone and snap a photo when I think it has reached it’s pinnacle of perfection, which is hard to gage because I usually must take a couple more pics as it just gets better. Truth is, no matter how good your camera is, nothing can record the majesty of the moment. You have to be there.

Downloading my most recent photos of one outstanding sunrise, I had a small clarion moment. 

The previous morning was cloudless and, as I noted, less remarkable than the following morning when the clouds gave the sun a chance to show off. It dawned on me, pun intended, that sometimes when our lives seem to be veiled or blocked with troubles, we are so focused on the obstacles, we do not recognize the blessings facilitated by them.

I’m reminded of a couple of old sayings: every dark cloud has a silver lining and it’s always darkest just before dawn. Translated: everything that appears to be a disadvantage, if viewed with a different perspective, can be, in fact, the magnificent, unexpected beginning of a brand new day. 

I recently blogged about contrast and how it better defines things for us as humans. How we need it in order to see more clearly. In this hour of global stress and unknown outcomes, I have noticed a predictable and natural uptick in reaching out to God for mercy and help and I have to wonder why it takes profound disparity to wake us up and jerk us back to our basics. 

And then I wonder further - if/when things go back to some kind of normal, how long will it take for us to forget again? 

Good thing God has patience we cannot fathom.

Personally, I have witnessed and experienced the most incredible, random, unexpected blessings through this Pandemic 2020. All of which stand out as light in the darkness which begs the question - if we are assured that all things come together for good for those who love the Lord, why do we need chaos to rethink how we define ‘good’ ‘bad’ and ‘blessing’? 

And even so, there’s the bigger picture that’s difficult to describe - it’s not enough to recognize that something we thought was bad turns out to be a God-orchestrated good thing, we have to own up to it, acknowledge it, and be grateful, before we can experience the object and purpose of all blessings, i.e., a conscious return to humility.

Every day, the sun rises, regardless the weather. Sometimes we can’t see it for the low hanging cloud cover, but nevertheless, it comes to warm us, give us light, life and opportunity. 

And sometimes, if we are looking for it, we get to witness the most amazing miracles shaped and made possible by the darkest clouds.

For Him,

Monday, May 4, 2020

Life Passages and Thresholds

While waxing philosophical with my oldest grandson, Hayes, about life passages and thresholds, I told him that I had recently passed through another myself that was something of an epiphany. 

I confessed to him that I had been a peculiar kid and was an accomplished daydreamer at an early age. In fact, the only time I can recall my mother openly expressing pride in me was when my forth grade teacher wrote on my report card that ‘April daydreams too much’ which incensed my mother  who then shot a note back to him that “April will do things that others will only wish they could do.” 

Whether or not that turned out to be true, it did plant a seed in me, even though it didn’t mean that the world would notice or care. There is a difference between being and being recognized as being. I’ve managed to stay reasonably invisible to the world for 73 years and being INTJ I have preferred it that way. I have operated under the radar so I could be free to pursue dozens of interests rather than being boxed in or limited by credentials or the expectations of an often fickle, ever changing world view. 

Where I am now, though, having rapidly passed through more thresholds in recent years, adjusting to being forced to give up so many of the things I know how to do because of aging joints and mind, I see that I have come full circle to that daydreamer child who observed others so she could imagine their lives, their feelings, thoughts and points of view. … The kid who then took those observations and wrote poems, stories, and drew pictures, all of which were then stuffed in the bottom of her sock drawer never to be seen by anyone else.

…The imagineer who played and pretended by herself mostly, because she didn’t need others to help her live in her created world and who understood and accepted that no one would get her anyway. 

That person is me again, albeit in a different way but still finding satisfaction in just creating with no plan or goal in mind. No obligation to be critiqued, ranked or marketable. No reason to do other than to satisfy a curiosity, a desire to make something from nothing or solve a problem and just be with no need for recognition, praise or acclamation. …To just run amuck with an inspiration having no boundaries. 

Is it possible I have finally embraced the art of retirement?

I am compelled to reveal all this because there is a more important take away from this truncated biography that might lend a bit of new perspective for someone else.

My faith and personal relationship with Christ is so deeply embedded in me that I often forget to share with others that everything I do and don’t do is ultimately for Him, not me, anyway. Since I abhor being preached to by those who can’t get their own lives together or make wise choices for themselves, I tend to go the other way and not speak aloud what I refer to as knowing-the-letter-but-not-the-spirit “God Words”. So, I regret that I neglected to tell Hayes the rest and point of this topic, i.e., that everything I am, or ever tried to be, has never been for me, per se, except when I was younger and less mature in the spirit.

There have been times when, in my childish flesh, I have felt so invisible and unremarkable that I thought perhaps I should just give up and stop doing/creating because my efforts seemed to be pointless. But when you have survived the most important, sometimes painfully introspective, life passages that grow your wisdom quotient, you find that you are often muted because you know that no one else, who is not yet there, would understand anyway - a condition I am fully accustomed to, as it turns out, and why I forget to share. 

In a petty, self-focused, foggy moment, recently, I told God that I was tired of writing and not being read, speaking and not being heard, and doing and not being seen.

And then, as He always speaks to me in the shortest number of words, He replied, “But I do.”  

“Oh,” I humbly understood.

For Him,