Monday, October 24, 2011

Lessons from a Kite Flyer

Today Joy’s class came bounding out of their school exit several minutes early, holding paper kites on strings, and sharing happy smiles. Her teacher Mrs. C ran toward the field and students followed, like a ribbon of excitement. They left their backpacks on the basketball courts and chased each other on the grass, straining to hold their strings high so the attached kites could fly and swing around. A sunny day welcomed them, offering great opportunity for such an occasion to be outside and run. But sadly, there was no wind, and these sweet children all appeared as though they were toting around an old, deflated balloon.
Joy’s teacher ran over to tell me that the class labored over these paper kites for almost an hour, and she was sincerely hoping for some wind. The weather report warned against high winds, so where was that breeze? We laughed at the stillness of the moment, at the lack of wind, and her enthusiastic teacher shrugged her shoulders and mentioned her gladness at the fun they were still having. Mrs. C ran back into the chaos of her delightfully screaming second graders, and in that instant, the wind picked up and blew onto the grassy field. Two dozen children erupted in thankful cheers, and their little paper kites flew high into the air.
I was amazed at such a display! Parents gathered by the field, even though the end-of-day bell rang and crowds of families were heading home. Joy was leaping in the air, dancing in her own little adventure of the moment, and singing in the middle of those crowded, swirling, sweaty children. Eventually we all needed to go home, and she carried that paper kite to the car.
Once we were home, the girls rode their bicycles in the neighborhood, admiring the yellow aspen leaves and serene temperatures. While riding her bicycle, Joy continued to share stories about her kite, and smiled every time. Later, in the house, she happened to rip that sweet little kite, which brought tears, and tape. And at bedtime, she placed the kite on a chair in her room, for another adventure, on another day.
Tomorrow will bring colder weather, with wind (of course), and snow. But what a beloved experience from a simple craft, and what great delight Joy held in joining her friends in dancing uninhibitedly! If only we could retain such delicate innocence, such carefree, surrendered enjoyment in living in that very moment. My girls continue to re-teach me such important lessons, even while unknowing their significance. What blessings this motherhood brings!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Living in Anticipation

So much of my walk with the Lord involves some type of anticipation, of waiting, wondering, or a patient silence. Times of lengthy prayer sometimes require a specific response, and these supplications may seem too extensive or personal to share with another, except God hears, and loves, and offers a solution.
There are moments I am convinced that my own actions will garnish a result, and that the Lord has asked me to labor toward a goal, to work to accomplish a vision until the task has been finished.
Other moments, He delights in blessing the unobserved circumstance, and perhaps I have barely whispered the specific need for assistance:  healing, finances, guidance, intervention – and His reply seems like a bold, enthusiastic announcement. A rescue, and a complete participation into my life. At times, I am called to await His reply, lean into the silence, solitude, and prayer which calms my spirit and realigns my directives.
Many long days have involved complete submission to His will, to the path He has offered to trod beside me, perhaps into a hot, dry desert, with little relief, without streams of waters or visible fruit. These times are riddled with weeping, uncertainty, and frustration. Does my faith waver, or doubt His master plan? Have I finally realized that I am a piece of God’s impermeable narrative, and feel honored to join in His love?
I remember that the Lord can sometimes provide healing through a physical touch, so majestic and marvelous, that even the skilled physicians surrounding the case could not comprehend such a miracle. Other circumstances have involved a pain so long-suffering, so deep, that the one who is in distress is constantly drawn back into the loving, tender arms of Jesus, to lay in a hospital bed and rest one’s head into His lap, knowing that only His strength could provide energy for the next moment.
And this is the life that some lead, and one’s faith seems significantly challenged. Those who endure such trials and offer a loving attitude, a steady faith, and positive spirit, can be a testimony to God’s grace and providence throughout a life such as this. I am honored to know some who have displayed such grace and courage as they have experienced such tragedy and ultimate disappointment, with seemingly-unanswered-prayers-for-healing. I am not able to comprehend their accommodating resolve to persevere, their intuitive fighter’s nature, except to relate my own journeys of grief or alienation or pain.
I know the God who calls my name in the night, who rescues me in the dawn, who turns mourning into dancing, with great joy. He promises to wipe every tear away and redeem loss and pain and suffering. I am confident that for some, healing is through death, and the Lord acts mercifully in that instant, even though family is left bewildered, staggering in their anguish, questioning the sanity of such a judgment. I call out to Him, and ask, what are we to learn from such events? How can we step through the situation, into a new understanding? How do we draw closer to Him, and remain, in such a state of difficulty?
Whether what I faced over the last several years, living in a harsh spiritual atmosphere, with difficult career adjustments, far from home and support, observing loved ones suffering in pain, losing dear ones to death; or something severe and urgent, like living in a climate that challenges the Gospel, where some are living in danger of losing their lives for their belief; we are called toward Christ, and into His realm of wisdom and remember His ultimate suffering for our salvation. He knew enormous pain, carrying the burden of our sins, so we could live freely. I live in anticipation that He who knew the greatest grief, will one day wipe away our tears!
Some of our greatest answers to prayers are questions carried into Eternity, into the moment when the veil of darkness is removed, and death will be destroyed. Our challenges and inquiries will find a new light, and all we have anticipated cannot describe the supreme joy of meeting Jesus, of the embrace. His silences and gentle leading through life will then have explanation, and in some instances, I know the answer will be: to continue relying solely on Christ for everything in my earthly existence. For soul, spirit, breath, real life.