Monday, August 27, 2012

Summer Unexpected

Much of the last 100 days has been a lesson in unexpected changes:

-anxiety threatened to steal my joy;
-illness cancelled trips;
-a friend decided to unfriend me (not on Facebook, but in real life);
-I received a call that my father was in an ambulance with chest pain;
-our long planned trip to Montana was re-routed to Arizona;
-we walked into our AZ rental home to find it was trashed;
-families we love choosing different ways...

Last week I was just outside of Des Moines, Iowa, in a beautiful town in the heart of the mid-west. There isn't a commercial coffee shop, nor a big box store of any kind. The grocery store is tiny and independently owned. Only 3700 people live in that simple town, and as providence would have it, my dear friend is one of them.

As we walked and talked and took in the blue sky, I was hardly aware that this part of the country is experiencing a devastating drought.  A bit of rain had come the week before and spruced up the greenery, but it was too little too late, for those whose lives depend on rain.

I was struck with gratitude that that truth is not my own. I have been in a bit of drought myself. Parched from the winds of change, the fear of the unknown. Its true that I have experienced bits of refreshment which have perked me up along the way; small rains that take the sting from the biting heat but don't rinse the difficulties of the season.

I left Iowa on a beautiful Friday morning. As we took that last left turn towards Highway 80, the sunrise was almost more than I could bear... it was a magnificent showing of rays that would not be darkened by a few wispy clouds. Suddenly, I felt a burst of inspiration to view my circumstances through a different lens...

We started school today and have some order and routine.  One-hundred and six days ago this felt mundane, now its a welcomed friend.

Each year I make goals for the year to come. This year my goals are simple and based on Questions/Answers 27 & 28 in the Heidelberg Catechism (my paraphrase):

  1. To be Patient when things go against me,
  2. Thankful, when things go well; and for the future I can have
  3. Confidence in our faithful God and Father, that nothing will separate us from His love.
I am grateful:

-for a God who is in control, even when I feel I'm not;
-for trips not taken,
-for broken relationships, although i don't understand it, must be for our mutual good;
-for my dad, who is alive and well and will make a full recovery.
-for the ability to hug his neck, and that of my mom, and to sit together in gratitude for a happy visit    
-for the ability and means to care and keep a second home (even though its not what we planned!)
-for family who loves us in spite of our differences, and walk toward us in relationship.

I am thankful for the privilege to live the life unexpected...