Yesterday my family all gathered together for the first time in two years. It was to be a weekend full of quiet reunion and just living together for a few rare days. Then came in one son and brother, with heaviness and pain showing in his face and his step; yes, it was a lingering health issue we all knew about- it was easy to forget his pain because it was so daily and familiar. Honestly, when I saw it was worse, I wished it away and got a little angry. This, of all days to be weighed down by sickness! when we were all in one place for once and just trying to have a party before reality set in again.
And then my Daddy came in and gathered us all together. “We need to pray,” he said, “because when one member hurts we all hurt.” With his Bible trembling in his rough hands, he read from psalm 91, wavering but always coming back with strength. And he prayed. The often absent brother prayed too, full of love and boldness and coming to the throne for his brother. And I wept… because here I found meaning in the pain that I had wished would go away. It wrapped us all closer together in the arms of God and in such a deep family love that I could feel it, and I remembered that He does all things well.
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The sky never gets quite black in the city. It glows purplish-orange from the city lights, and at first I thought it was beautiful. Now it makes me think of smog and strangers, and I realize that I can’t see the stars any more. Where I come from, the sky goes black and you see Orion and the Big Dipper and even a few planets if you know where to look for them… and the moon comes up over pine trees instead of the junky buildings downtown. I tell my roommates I’m going to find an aviation major and catch a ride home and they laugh with me… we all know it’s impossible, but dreaming is important when you can’t see the stars and you’ve forgotten what home smells like.
When the wait for Christmas break ended and the plane lifted off the ground, I cried. I’m headed home… and He said, haven’t I been faithful? I love seeing the patterns of blue and orange city lights in the darkness, so far below- they always show me how tiny my own world is. And still, he chooses to be involved in my life & make an intricate plan just for me. And then we broke through the clouds and the world was gone, and there were only clouds- up there, where only He can walk. It’s His domain, and He made every detail of it. After the crowds and stress of the semester, it is peaceful to be here, just praying and praising Him for the beauty of who He is.
Today started out as such a horrible Monday that I had to laugh. I seriously took my shampoo in the shower and forgot to use it, and had a horrible hair day. I had gotten up early to finish an assignment that wasn’t due after all, my ceramics project broke, and I ran out of coffee. Tragedy of all tragedies, I know. At work I had a horrible headache and felt like a sleepwalker. I thought, “you know God- you could show your love to me by letting me off work early or something.” But I did stop and thank Him for the apple butter for dinner, which is something I miss from home that they served today. I couldn’t think of anything else more special than the apple butter to thank Him for, though I tried…I just thought, now I have to be strong and not expect anyone to come and bail me out. No soft stuff here.
Then my supervisor came in a whole twenty minutes early and practically shoved me out the door before I was even done with my tasks. This never, ever happens… and in my room tonight, some random ice cream showed up from no where that had to either be eaten or thrown away. And there is more- it was a flavor that we got at home once, and I loved it so much I ate practically the whole container. Free ice cream, my favorite flavor, delivered to my room… this is a God thing.
My God gives me blessings over and above, shaken together and running over. I doubted Him today and couldn’t see them… In His mercy, He knew I needed something special, and He sent some miraculous ice cream… oh to trust Him more!
Tonight I was listening to some music on grooveshark, and I finally just got tired of the strangeness of it. I wanted someone that I knew singing to me, not a stranger. So I put on Roy Rogers, and found some funny old radio shows with Gabby and Dale too. Hearing their voices was just like going home again for a while… I put down my science book and just laid down my head to hear them. It reminded me of spending Saturday evenings the way they should be spent- with popcorn and chocolate and a good old western. Then it ended, and I sat up in a daze, feeling like I had gone home for a few minutes… and wanted to stay. But here I am at college, toughing it out with art and people and work, and so the dreams of Christmas break begin.
Today in class I was trying to think about philosophy and theology and design and all the other things I am studying, when home just crept into my thoughts and wouldn’t get out. Before I knew it I was absolutely longing for my old purple blanket with the flowers, and a pillow that has that slept in scent, and a story on my big old radio. Then I started remembering about things that fill the cozy corners in my heart- an old musty book of horse stories and my sandy cat and a window with a pine view and country house where nothing matches but all is clean and organized. I think that in spite of all my artistic worlds of contemporary modernity, slick stainless steel and abstract art and fab furniture, I will always love the country best. And when I am so tired that it hurts, I only want to be home in the winter when the snow is drifting and the wind is blowing, but I am warm inside and sleeping long, long into the morning.