Friday, April 24, 2009

To Everything There is a Season...

Ecclesiastes 3:1: "To everything there is a season, and a time for every matter or purpose under heaven..."

In the fall I purchased special thermal plastic sheeting to cover the inside of some of the windows in my home to seal in the cold and save on energy (and heating bills). My daughter and I had fun installing it, because you basically take a hair blow dryer and shrink wrap the sheets to vacuum seal your windows against the outside elements.

It is a beautiful spring morning today – so I went out to my back yard, turned on my new water fountain, filled up all the bird feeders, relishing every moment I was out there. However, I have a lot of studying to do today, so I reluctantly returned indoors and set up my study area on the dining room table, where the windows overlook the entire yard. As I sit here writing this I can see about a dozen goldfinch and purple finches feeding, a fiery red cardinal on the other feeder, two red-winged blackbirds, some sparrows, and a big old woodpecker up in his favorite tree perch. I can also see the beauty of the flowers and herb gardens – reds, whites, purples, yellows, and a variety of vibrant greens from the trees, plants and glass, all highlighted by a crystal blue sky flooded by sunlight.

What’s that got to do with thermal vacuum-sealed windows? Well, I had to take about five minutes after coming in to remove the sheets so I could open those windows for the first time since fall, to welcome/usher in the fragrant springs which refresh every room, cleanse out the old air and bring in the new. It also helps me hear more clearly the melodic sounds of the birds as they sing their morning anthems.

My heart and thoughts rest on seasonal changes, and how much they mean to me, both from nature’s standpoint, and from a personal perspective. There are times in our lives when it is important to seal ourselves away, to embrace solitude and quiet, to shut ourselves against the cold storms of life. Sometimes it’s as simple as just escaping, if only for a little while, the daily bombardment and clutter of life. Other times it’s needed because we’ve experienced a hurt or loss for which we need time to weep, sit with our pain, regroup, recover… and remember how to breathe. Often it is to spend time alone with God – whether it be in prayer, in the study of His word, or just simply to be still and know that He is God. Whatever the reasons, it is good to find that time to heal and just “be”.

However… as with the seasons, the time comes to open up again, to remove the seals we’ve put up against everything. In due time we must have the courage to open the windows of our heart and life, take a slow deep breath and begin to look outwards. The view is clearer, the sounds (or words or lessons) are more readily heard, the cleansing and growth process begin again. It is the gift of new day, and a new season in your journey.

Friday, April 17, 2009

In memory of Dee

1 Corinthians 15:53-55,57

For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. Now when this perishable puts on the imperishable, and this mortal puts on immortality, then the saying that is written will happen, “Death has been swallowed up in victory.” “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ!

My friend Dee Hunt went home to her Savior yesterday afternoon after a long battle with cancer. Her life was dedicated to Jesus Christ, her husband, son, grandsons, family, church, and friends. Until her illness took its toll she was the women’s ministry director at our church, and I can’t tell you how many of us were touched and graced by Dee. She was a beautiful, elegant woman with a huge smile that just lit up the room. She has made an indelible impact on so many, and her life is an inspiration and example for us all.

We band together in our grief and loss, but also celebrate that she is free, no longer shackled by the pain and disease, and is smiling that beautiful smile as she hears her precious Lord finally say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

Goodbye for now, Dee... our world is a bit smaller and sadder without you.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Small Things with Great Love

Psalm 90:12 "So teach us to number our days that we may present to You a heart of wisdom."

Since the last time I blogged, another wonderful friend/husband of one of my dearest friends has passed away after battling cancer, and two other friends are both in the hospital fighting their third stint with cancer. Amazing people who have (and still do) touched my life in so many ways, fighting the good fight with courage and passion, just as they have lived.

Not surprisingly, I’ve been thinking a lot more about the brevity of life lately, and spending time deep in thought about how I am living my own life. One ugly thing I have had to face is that I’ve been very selfish and self-absorbed. No matter how busy my schedule, there is always time for a quick email, call, or actually dropping a real card into the mail to let them know I was thinking about them, and praying for them. I am ashamed that I didn’t take the time to swing by someone’s house just for a quick chat or cup of tea. No, I can’t be all things to all people, but I can do SOMEthing. Mother Teresa is credited with saying, “We cannot all do great things, but we can do small things with great love.” I have failed miserably, and pray I will be forgiven by my friends.

The days slip by quickly, and we mean to do the little things, and next thing you know, it’s next week or month, and there’s a million other things demanding our attention. My friend Ali used to have a little catch phrase that always made me smile – she’s just look at me and say “STOP YOURSELF!” Well, I am determined to do just that – to stop myself, look outside myself and my little world, and find a way each day to do one small thing with great love.