Tag Archive | sign

“…a time to mourn and a time to dance,…” Ecclesiastes 3:4b (N.I.V.)

 (As I am neither a Biblical scholar or in any way knowledgeable concerning the languages used to write the original scriptures I cannot incorporate the scripture into my life based on what I do not know or understand.  That is why as I read and pray about scripture I depend on the Holy Spirit to counsel me and take the English translation as it is written, with the notes in my N.I.V. Study Bible and whatever books I have read on the particular passage.

Having witnessed, in person, the danger of following someone’s instruction or interpretation of the scripture based on an unsound foundation; I would never advocate someone to base their spiritual live on how I believe the scripture reads.  I urge each person to seek their answers for themselves.  Never except for truth what you cannot find solid basis for in the scripture for yourself along with the leadership of the Holy Spirit and the teaching of someone with knowledge of the languages and background of the Bible you may lack.)

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This series of blogs began fermenting last month with a weird and disturbing dream I had.  This is the dream:

I am watching the funeral procession of Abraham Lincoln as it comes down a long brick paved avenue.  The horse-drawn wagon with the flag draped coffin of the President is approaching a circular part of the road and in the center of that circle is a fountain surrounded by flowers.  Then I am in the wagon, holding on for dear life to the coffin containing President Lincoln, fighting against the bumpy road and the jarring of his coffin that seems to be about to cause the coffin to end up in the road.  Suddenly the axle or wheel breaks on the “rear passenger side” of the wagon as it hits an unseen pothole in the roadway.  The wagon falls.  Now I am attempting against an even greater pull of gravity and laws of nature, to keep Lincoln’s coffin from sliding to the ground and perhaps his body tumbling out.

I can feel my muscles straining, feel the coffin slipping from my hand holds and I go from thinking, “I can’t let this happen!” to thinking, “Wait this isn’t really happening!”  It occurs to me that what I am taking part of has any basis in the history I’ve read about.  People are yelling at me, no one is helping me, and I am now too yelling, “This isn’t real, right?  This can’t be real!”

Then I woke up, just as I am sure Lincoln’s body tumbles from the coffin but whether Lincoln’s coffin and/or his body falls out of the wagon I do not know although had I stayed asleep long enough I am certain both would have.  It was disturbing and rather creepy.  I posted the dream on my Facebook page.

A few days later an old friend of mine from high school who is now a minister told me he was no dream interpreter but that he had seen a lot of symbolism in my dream.  Having caused my interest to peak I asked him about it and privately he emailed me what he felt was an interpretation of my dream given to him by our God.  My friend, Fred*, wasn’t sure I’d accept what he had to say as a message inspired by God.  He was also unsure whether I would be offended or whether I was in a place to hear what he had to say.

But I was ready, for the first uneasiness caused by my dream had passed and all the wise cracks about what food I had eaten or changes in my medication had occurred.  What Fred didn’t know was what God would remind and show to me when I took what Fred had said and God and I “talked it over” during my quiet time with Him.  When it all came together I was left having to acknowledge that my dream was filled with symbolism of my life now.

Fred went on to tell me, in the love of God and of old and tried friendship, what I needed to do to move on with my life.  I haven’t embraced that revelation as willingly as I have the interpretation of my dream itself.  Fred told me to do so much I knew had to be done and that I so DON’T WANT TO DO.

As the year 2012 drew to a close and 2013 began I found myself acknowledging many things.  The post I made at midnight New Year’s Day spoke of winter being for me, an odd time to celebrate new life for things are dormant instead of bursting with new life.  But winter affords us the time to PREPARE for new life.  It is the time we stay closer to home and hearth and family.  It is the time farmers repair equipment, merchants plan the stocking of new wares for spring, heartier soups and stews are prepared, the sun rises later and fades sooner, past times of reading, studying and crossword puzzles seem perfect activities.  It is a when one has time to think.  It is often a time when travel is more risky and one has to think of how to deal with ice, sleet, snow, wind and low temperatures.

It is not a time I am accustom to taking a vacation or journey.  Yet here I am on this journey.  I am straining against reality.  I am fighting to uphold a way of life I held dear and against the loss of it for it means dependence on others that my earlier life taught me was dangerous.  I’ve known this day was coming; I just never could stomach the realities of it.  Now, I have no choice.  Without a doubt the axle/wheel is broken for my left leg is gone from above the knee down and in trying to keep “what was” on the wagon on it there has been a tremendous physical strain on me.  I cannot accept on my deepest levels, that what is happening is happening, that it is real.  I am as much confused by my own thoughts and feelings as I am by those outside of me yelling at me so loudly I cannot hear what they are saying.

I am entering the “winter” of this time for me, both by the calendar and in my life.  I have to take the time to prepare for new life, sort through what needs to be mended or let go of, do the mending or the cleaning out and readying for spring.  Part of that is going to be rejoicing as the new spring arrives and part of that is going to be mourning what is dead and of no longer use to me.

I’m not sure how one “mourns” the loss of a limb or observes the end of one way of life while readying for the start of another.  I am sure of this though, it is going to be painful and it is going to be challenging.  It is going to be exciting and it is going to be an affirmation of life.  It is going to be covered with the fingerprints of God.

It is also my hope that others who are in a time of mourning for whatever loss in this winter season will find a light to help them find the pathway through.  It doesn’t matter if where you are it is 101 or -31 degrees outside for this winter season is here for you as it is for me regardless of what the calendar reads.  The time of mourning arrives with the death of what we will mourn.

Will you join me in whatever way you can during this winter of my life?

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Today the Hay Wagon Made a Pit Stop

It could have been what seemed like the 400th phone call in three hours.

It could have been the smeared, greasy fingerprints on the bathroom wall I just scrubbed while balancing in my wheelchair in the bathroom a week ago.

It could have been the downpour just as I pulled my car into the parking space this morning meaning I would have an 8 hour wet and cold day until I could get back into the car this afternoon and crank the heater on high.

It could have been yet another problem at work.

It could have been my daughter’s frantic search for a lost item that was right in front of her the entire time that meant we were off schedule for the morning.

It could have been that it seemed as if every person who sets my teeth on edge felt the need to come into our department this week.

It could have been the broken cap and spray nozzle on the brand new can of air freshener just placed in the restroom.

My mind wanted to reason it was the air freshener being broken.  But, even as I fought to reign in my temper and not throw the entire can of air freshener into the trash, or at the nearest head I could find, I knew it wasn’t the cap on the air freshener getting broken that was breaking me.  It was all the straws.  If ever I needed a few “mental health days” these are the days, yet taking them now is out of the question.

God seems to be speaking to me through these straws.  For today is little different than any other day lately, except for perhaps the rain.  I know I’m speaking to Him about them.  Sometimes I’m not so sure whose question is whose.  Is God saying, “It is enough yet?” or am I?  Is God saying, “Come to me and rest” or am I asking, “When can I just throw up my hands and say, “That’s all folks!”?  Is that voice in my heart His or my own?

So I quiz myself.  “What is it I need and I’m not getting?”  The list starts to itemize itself and I stop because it’s frightening.

It occurs to me, with another heavy thud from an even heavier piece of hay that each need is a straw too.  It also disturbingly occurs to me that I’ve become a hay wagon instead of myself.  The road I’m on is familiarly unfamiliar.  There are many things about this leg of my journey I am unclear about.  There are so many things and people begging for my attention that I can’t give anything or anyone what it or they need.  I hear only an echoing mantra; “Get in line, get in line, get in line!

Pulling off this highway an aged sign beckons me:

The Valley of Decision

Arrival Date & Time: 9/18/12  12:51 p.m.

This is where I am to be today.

The tires on my straw laden wagon make a swishing noise on the rain slick pavement as I wheel down the off ramp.  The hay burying me beneath its weight and sliding into every conceivable part of my life makes me irritable and miserable because it scratches and itches and invades; demanding an audience!  The tires plop on the road now as the air seems to ooze out in a final rush of hissing.  Steam pours off me even as rain chills me to the bone.  As I chug gingerly through the storm I see that piece by piece it seems I am leaving either a bit of my transportation or myself along this lap of this leg of the journey.  Yet the straws remain though the winds furiously howl and whip around me.

This is only a pit stop…a refueling station…a rest area…just the departure date and time are left open…and God knows not only that but the next destination as well…

Driving Through a Rainbow

 “And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come:  I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth.  Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind.  Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life.  Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth.”  Genesis 9:12-16 (N.I.V.)

The drive home in the early hours of the smothering Alabama August evening along the winding route promised nothing out of the ordinary.  As our Honda’s tires swished along the hot asphalt it began to sprinkle while sunlight poured down behind us and on the passenger side of the car.  The rain alternated between just a sprinkle and a light downpour and as usual I remarked about it raining while the sun shined, quite ordinary during an Alabama summertime shower.  I don’t remember who spotted the rainbow first, my husband or our daughter, but initially it was just pieces of the arching colors flitting through the storm clouds.

Then it became clearer, the closer we drove to it and suddenly the end of the rainbow was right there on the road and off the side of the two lane road!  Then even more quickly we had driven through it!  For a few seconds our white Honda was bathed in every color of the rainbow and our view of the world was flavored just the same.

While my daughter looked back to “see the pot of gold” and my husband teased her I remembered another rainbow ending during the first year of our marriage while my husband was deployed.  I had been sitting in the living room of our rented ranch style home while it stormed outside.  I was exhausted, with my husband away I dealt with the loneliness by working extra hours.  One minute there was a storm raging overhead and the next this delicious golden and rosy hued light lit up the front window right through the blinds into the room.  I hurried to that window, curious as to what was causing such a glorious light and as I pulled the blinds back my mouth dropped open in wonder.  Our house and the two across the street were bathed in the end of a rainbow.  Furthermore, the windows of the houses and their doors reflected the rainbows hues back towards our house.  A double whammy of rainbow delight!

I stood staring at the sight that day until the sun slid across the sky enough to erase the rainbow.   Then I slowly made my way back to our sofa, blown away by what I had just witnessed.

This time though there wasn’t time to completely enjoy the sheer beauty of the rainbow’s hues as we drove through.  Nonetheless it reminded all three of us of the promise of God made to Noah thousands and thousands and thousands of years ago.  Our daughter brought it up first, “The rainbow is reminding us that God will never destroy any of the earth by flood again.”

“No, I replied,” at which she looked shocked.  “God’s promise was never to destroy the whole earth and all His creation by flood again.  He didn’t promise to never allow floods to destroy parts of the earth.”

“Oh,” she said, “are you sure?”

“Yes honey, I’m sure.  And I can show you in the Bible where it says so.”

There were other things I will share with her about the Noahic Covenant.  Including that it’s called that when referred to as one of the Major Covenants of the Old Testament, or how it is an unconditional divine promise.  The N.I.V. Study Bible note on Genesis 9:9 stated that God was promising not to use a catastrophic event to destroy all of mankind “until his purposes for his creation are fully realized”.   I will tell her that I learned something new in looking into the Scripture regarding Noah and the promise in every rainbow because prior to I had always believed, as taught growing up, that it had never rained on earth before the flood and henceforth there was also never a rainbow.  But, how according to the N.I.V. Study Bible note on Genesis 9:13, I learned that rain and the rainbow had existed before the flood but that after the flood God used them in a new way to establish the Noahic Covenant.

However, for the time being, I am content to let her marvel in the beauty of seeing her first end of the rainbow and her ten-year old eyes to drift off to sleep with the vision still new in her eyes.  One day, when we see a rainbow again (whether that’s in the sky or elsewhere) I’ll bring up the new fact I learned and a couple of the other facts as well.  I’ll show her the Bible references and we’ll read all the footnotes together.  I’ll encourage her to explore the study herself.

Eventually with each rainbow we see together we’re cover all Mama knows about the Noahic Covenant.  I’ll use each opportunity to remind her of this one time we drove through the end of one of God’s rainbow reminders on an ordinary summer showery day in rural Alabama and how, doing so, colored our view of the world throughout eternity – as everlasting as the Covenant between God and Noah and all mankind.

What ordinary moment in daily life has colored your view of the world with a reminder of God’s promises?