Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Beauty and Affliction

According to one of my favorite authors, John Eldredge, two things pierce the heart, beauty and affliction.

Now please don't get me wrong, I know what true affliction is. I've had my share. So, thank God that today affliction looked like this. Waking up to dog blood (warning, it gets worse) speckled on the floor and a pony sized stinky pile of poop. There, I said it, one of the most taboo words - POOP.

Trying to get out the door to a meeting I was delayed a bit by a 'discussion' with my husband. Then I found the car on E. Now I was really delayed.

Later at the work office, I accidentally picked at a healing scratch on my face from when the cat bit my face the other day. Yes, my face. And now it wouldn't stop bleeding. I needed to put the tissues in the bright red bio hazard trash can. I was a hazard.

In between here somewhere there were some good parts, nice people and a laugh with a co-worker.

Later, after figuring out an insurance bill while driving home from a grocery stop in 95 degree heat, I stopped to mail the payment in the nick of time to avoid a lapse in coverage.

I arrived home sweating in my dress clothes, even in the AC somehow, only to find that one of the cats used the large indoor palm tree pot as a litter box, also that he is awful with his burying aim as evidenced by the pile of dirt on the floor and the uncovered pile of disturbing POOP. Yes, disturbing, that's all I can bear to say about that.

Some more good parts came in about this time, along with Dave and I going off on a run together. I had put a few more songs into my running playlist that I hadn't heard in a while to keep me occupied for when Dave would pass me in the run. So, 10 seconds into the run I got to let the tunes play (in one ear, don't worry). And here is where beauty pierced my heart today.

The song Hallelujah, by Kate Voegele, came on and, I don't know, maybe the serotonin was kicking in too, but I got goosebumps. "Love is not a victory march, it's a cold and a broken hallelujah." Goosebumps.

Same thing listening to Susan Boyle sing "I Dreamed a Dream" on Britain's Got Talent. Seriously, if you don't get chills listening to this, in a good way, check for dark spot on your soul.

Beauty and affliction. Two more ways God reminds me that He is here for me.

Photo by Trevor Lee, TrevorLeePhotography.com

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Glimpse of the Big Picture

Recently in a group setting someone stood up intending to say nice things, but I am sure she inadvertently made a dear friend of mine feel really bad.
Another friend of mine has neighbors who built a huge barn that blocked her entire view of the sunrise. They didn't do it for that reason of course. They have no idea how upsetting this is to her, they are just doing life as best they can, really.
Last weekend, I was in line at Cedar Point for the rockin' Raptor roller coaster, which I love! First of all, the sign said 30 minutes. Second, an 11-year old girl was breathing down my back in the 95 degree heat in line, repeatedly ripping the flip flops off my feet. Thirdly, the wait was 77 minutes. Fourthly, even if did the hiked out elbow crowd trick, she breathed on my elbow. I tried to smile and be pleasant.
Talk about annoying.
Thank God for Dexter to talk to and the interesting people to distract us. The 50-year old guy who thought everyone should see his abs. The gang member looking girl who was trying to look all tough. The couple who couldn't keep their hands off each other. The couple who looked like they'd absolutely had enough of each other sometime last year. And finally, the relief of the couple who happily unloaded their anxious 11-year old daughter on the crowd ahead of them, right where I stood.
Contrast all that to the view from the top of the Giant Ferris Wheel, another favorite of mine where I love to snap a screen saver shot (probably illegal). Even the couple with the screaming kid in the car next to us couldn't be heard when we were at the top. It was quiet with a breathtaking view.
The big picture is like that I guess.
Thank God, He gives me a glimpse of the big pictures in life sometimes, because it helps me put up with all the annoying people who are waiting in the long lines like me, and just trying to live their lives. Like me.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Rotting Potatoes Don't Laugh

I was sitting out back in my white wooden Adirondack chair feeling really sad about some things a couple days ago. I noticed with curiosity a sweet potato plant that had grown out of a pot full of deadness. It was now flourishing.

I also noticed dead leaves on the peonies where I suspect the neighbor's dog/pony 'marked his territory', but that's a different story.

A few weeks prior there were these neglected sweet potatoes in the kitchen. They grew alien limb looking sprouts on them, aliens from the murky waters of Middle Earth or Death Valley or something like that.

I was about to throw them out when Dave suggested I plant them. "They'll probably grow."

So, in as much time as it would have taken to walk out back to throw them in the woods, I cut the ends off them and stuck them in a rich mucky pot of soil where another plant had died. The insides of the potatoes had begun to rot I noticed, so I didn't expect much.

I forgot all about them until weeks later, the other day, when I was sad and struggling, and I saw they had absolutely flourished.

God has a way of using His creation to speak to me, almost like He has purpose for it all. How about that, I say to myself with second level sarcasm (because I know He has purpose it in, I'm just slow to see it sometimes....).

I started thinking about the process of that sweet potato plant growing and I realized some things. First of all, isolation in the dark was a bad thing for the potato and it's a bad thing for me too. Second, sometimes we have to cut into our issues where there is rottenness. It hurts and it stinks. But if we get them into a good environment, the rich soil of truth and love, where there is light to chase away the darkness and water that keeps giving strength, then life comes out of what would have been death.

So, I chose growth and not isolation, not only for the potato but for me, and I'm glad because last night I played Apples to Apples with family and friends and laughed ridiculously loud!

amazing potato photo by shelley lee, for much better photos see www.tmleephotography.blogspot.com!