Friday, July 19, 2013

Storms without and within

It has been a stormy summer.  Not the gentle storms that draw you to bed with a good book and the promise of lulling you to sleep, but ones of house-shaking thunder, and wind that uproots trees.  It has rained so thoroughly for so many consecutive days that areas that rarely see floodwaters are buried beneath the deluge.  Our yard was a swimming pool for days, and now the swampy smell persists.  Others have not been so lucky and have been bailing out basements, discarding soggy carpets and rugs, and mourning the loss of stored memories.  We clean up and move on, but all around us, images of destruction persist.  I pass by roads that are pitted, and hear of sinkholes that have closed down others.  The boards on the bridges of my lovely garden at work were bowed up from the force of the water beneath.  The shoulder of the road that takes me to Hollins is misshapened, the asphalt bubbled up from the force of the storm.  It boggles my mind that an element as light as rain can create such damage.

I think of the elements that sneak into my life, seemingly harmless, and yet wreck havoc with my mind and soul.  There is jealousy and guilt, revenge and regret.  I harbor anger and resentment against others that only breaks me down.  There are things of which I can't let go, even though the weight drags me down to the ground.  My mind and my heart are cluttered, even though the outside surfaces are spotless.  I am selfish and self-centered, and feel betrayed when I'm a victim of others' thoughtlessness.  There are so many storms within that uproot the good seeds I plant, and tear holes in the foundations of the life I try to build.

Each day I must continue the work of cleaning up the messes.  I pray for wisdom and peace, and for a spirit to live and work in peace with those around me.  I work to forgive others and also myself, grateful for a new chance in each new day.  I clean out the muck of the past, and seek out restoration and hope in new beginnings.  It is not easy, and the job is never complete as new means of destruction always find their way back in.  But I hold out hope for redemption, that each day is a new gift from God to accept who I am and continue working on who I will be.

The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases, 
his mercies never come to an end; 
they are new every morning; 
great is your faitfulness.  
"The LORD is my portion," says my soul, "therefore I will hope in him."  
(Lamentations 3:22-24)

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