Friday, September 14, 2012

Black to Green

“Be still and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10)
     I have been away for a while, but it’s good to be back.  I am blessed that people read my blog and find some peace and meaning in it. 
     Unfortunately, I had a delayed reaction to the fire we had in our neighborhood in mid-July, and was afflicted with extreme nausea (not an uncommon symptom of anxiety).  My doctor thought it was an ulcer and the medicines I was given made me extremely ill and sent me several times into the emergency room.  I now suffer from anxiety attacks and I must go on some medications to control the symptoms.
      Talk about a derailment!  I cannot teach this semester, and I am quite amazed how things turned out so differently than what I thought I would be doing right now.  Again, that fire in mid-July comes to mind:  one moment the hills are lush with summer grasses, quails running about and hawks overhead—then the next thing I know, I am being asked to evacuate from my home!  I drive to the other side of the canyon and I watch fearfully as the firefighters and helicopters battle the fire.
       The land is still quite blackened.  I forget how ugly it is until I drive down the road, come around the corner and there it is…blackened trees and skeletal shrubs and black dirt with a dash of red—the fire retardant is still on the ground.
     There is no forgetting that we had a fire, that’s for sure.  But something amazing has been happening over the last few weeks.  Small green shoots have been growing at the base of the blackened trees.  Thin green blades of grass have sprung up in the blackened dirt and new spring green leaves have  appeared on trees whose leaves were scorched brown by the heat of the fire.
      I am stunned that even in the middle of the ugliness comes new life—green and hopeful, determined and lively.  This landscape has become a metaphorical landscape for anyone who has suffered loss, and believes that the ugliness will become all that is left to gaze upon.  Not so, says the Lord.
     Jesus said that “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:10)   Do you notice that?  He doesn’t just give life, He gives it to the full.  But it’s a process.  The trees around here haven’t suddenly all turned green again and the ground carpeted with grasses.  I see tender shoots, green leaves and delicate blades that have taken hold, slowly but surely.  Soon our hillsides won’t just be dotted in green but will be fully arrayed with life and growth.
    It’s no different with us.  I have had my “hills” burned—so have many of you—but I am looking for the tender green shoots.  I have found it in cards sent to me, encouraging emails, hugs, prayers from my church family and mother-in-law, good advice from my daughter and son-in-law, calls from my son and a loving husband who has stood by me through all this. 
     My “hills” are not green yet…but I have hope as I look out my window, and as I look into the face of the Lord, whose love never fails.

Life isn’t easy, Lord, and the sudden fires take our breath away.  Our lives go into different directions, but I know that You hold my world in Your hands.  Your love never fails.  

In Your precious Name, amen.


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